Posted Good Friday and the day formerly known as Tax Day-ish, 2022
We praise you, God,
we praise you, for your Name is near;
people tell of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 75:1
Happy Friday, all! What a tiring week! I hope you are your loved ones are well. I pray for stability, routine, and joy as we dig into Spring and the blessing of Holy Week.
I slept in today, taking today as a vacation day. My plan was to run at least 10-15 miles, but I only got in 5 before the storms came. Now I will rest and reflect on the greatness in significance and love that is Good Friday. The Story of the Cross was necessary for this to happen. Here is some preaching like it used to be done.
While I was running and thinking…and I am wont to do, I realized that this is article number 750! I am three quarters of the way to 1,000 articles, the vast majority covering dementia and related topics or caregiving in the context of my family. Today will be no exception although it is a bit of a celebration as well.
Three quarters of a thousand is a lot. It is a couple of books worth. If printed, you could line every birdcage in the city of Springfield with my wisdom. I just want to say thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing these with others on social media and elsewhere. These articles are how I try to make sense of this dumpster fire of a disease. Thank you for donating to my shark jumping, probably foolish run in June. (LINK) Thank you for praying for me, my family, and especially my mom, who, at least partially through the blessings of your prayers, enters her third year on hospice in a few weeks. Thank you for everything. For real…no platitudes. 🙂
Then another aspect of mom that dementia has not taken away popped to mind as I thought about 3/4: her, and my dad’s generosity. Flash back to the mid-1980s. It may sound like a cliche, but I LOVED arcade games back then. Loved them! We had a gas station named Git N Go at the end of our street that was known to the kids for 2 things: the (HUGE) 49 cent “Supreme Quart” soda and the fact that they had a Pac Man console. We also had an arcade in town called Sip & Flip and another one called Space…then Maze Invaders until it failed. I somehow, somewhere, learned the pattern on Pac Man, my favorite game. There was a specific path you could follow, sometimes counterintuitively running straight at your foe, that would get you all the way to the 10th Key (many levels into the game). I was obsessed at learning and deploying this pattern… It wasn’t enough to know the pattern, you had to be great at playing because one slightly wrong move and you would have to “wing it” the rest of the round and hope you didn’t die.
We weren’t a rich family growing up, but my parents and grandparents next door were as generous as they could be in somewhat unknowingly feeding my arcade habit. I would fund my trips to Git N Go one of two ways: trading in redeemable pop bottles for coins or, if I was good and did chores, I would sometimes get 3 quarters (!) which, with a couple of pennies I could usually find in the couch or in my thin piggy bank to cover tax, would cover a Supreme Quart (typically I made it with Dr. Pepper and Hi-C Orange mixed) and one game of Pac Man. Therefore, with just one game per trip, I needed to maximize my skill. Enter the pattern. I could milk that quarter for at least an hour and sometimes would gather a crowd around me watching in the process. It was a great self-confidence boost for a chubby, homely dude like me. 🙂
Mom has always been generous. She has always donated, helped, served, and shared. If I could be half as good as her…. Even now she is giving. She cannot speak. She barely moves. I visited her for 55 minutes on Wednesday and she didn’t even open her eyes….yet she was generous. At one point her roomie said something funny and I laughed…and, so faint it was hard to hear, mom laughed too. Barely a blip of cognition in nearly an hour, and her 5 chuckle notes lifted my sails more than she could ever know. Sometimes she will smile. Other times she will become less stiff when I play an Alan Jackson rendition of a hymn. All gifts. So three quarters of a thousand articles is nice, but nothin’ compared to the 3 quarters of mom’s generosity her life has given me.
I really dislike this disease. Sadly, it also broke mom’s generosity in some ways a few years ago…and it may break your loved ones’ too. See, one of the commonalities of dementia is hyper-generosity, but not in a good way. Mom would try to give strangers money. Lots of money. Please do three things if you are in a similar boat:
- Get a financial power of attorney to go with your medical one. An elder law lawyer can whip that up toot sweet.
- Talk to his/her bank, hide debit cards/check books/ and monitor spending. It is very common for a patient to give everything and more away. Scammers are swarming like mosquitoes eager to suck the blood from these poor souls. Please guard them. Keep their generosity from turning into a mess.
- Put a block on his/her credit bureau report. Here is an FTC link: https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/what-know-about-credit-freezes-fraud-alerts Crooks can and will open accounts and wipe them out. Prevention, for this fraud anyway, is pretty easy.
Thank you all for reading these 750 articles. I hope to continue at least 2-3 times a week. I wish I had time to write 5-7 days a week, but I have too many irons in the fire. Keep fighting, friends. We will kill this disease in our lifetime. We will…
Clinical trial/study status:
Wash University- I am in the Memory and Aging Project cornerstone longitudinal study. My next visit for that is a couple years from now. I just finished one there on brain inflammation and have 2 in June: one on exercise and Alzheimer’s and one on brain movement and how that can affect the brain.
Kansas University- My year long study on Statin drugs and exercise/brain ends in the fall.
Vanderbilt- I am going in July to begin their longitudinal cornerstone program. It takes 3 days.
Emory University-I am approved, but need to find the time and resources to go to Atlanta for a three day trip.
And I am always looking for online studies through Trial Match, the amazing Alzheimer’s Association site to pair people to studies.
I am serious…we will find a cure. I wish I was a brainy type…I would be on the other side of the beaker, if you will. 😉
Last note. Think of this like a NY Times correction buried back in the classified pet clothing section: My brother is the one who taught me the Pac Man Pattern. He was actually even better than I was…and that says a lot.