Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Still Alice

I just finished listening to a book on CD called "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova. The book is told by Alice, a Harvard Professor who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.

My husband's grandma has Alzheimer's and I wasn't fortunate enough to know her prior to the disease, but as she nears the end of her battle I've wondered how it FEELS to have Alzheimer's. I find myself not knowing how to talk to her or engage her, but listening to this book and Alice's progression through the disease has been a great eye opener. A must read or listen for anyone who knows someone with Alzheimer's.

Early Unused Germany Happy Memories Postcard at ChristmasAngel

Alice's journey shows her progression from being fully aware that something was not right with her mind, to not being able to remember her tea in the microwave, to her awareness of the fact she couldn't remember the names of familiar items all the way to her not being aware of her relationship to the people around her.

I guess I thought or assumed that an Alzheimer's patient was not aware, I never considered how it was through their own eyes.

Check out this Poem written by Carolyn Haynali

and a prayer written by the same author

Pray for me, I was once like you.

Be kind and loving to me,

That's how I would have treated you.

Remember I was once someone's parent or spouse, I had a life and a dream for the future.

Speak to me, I can hear you even if I don't understand what you are saying.

Speak to me of things in my past of which I can still relate.

Be considerate of me, my days are such a struggle.

Think of my feelings because I still have them and can feel pain.

Treat me with respect because I would have treated you that way.

Think of how I was before I got Alzheimer's; I was full of life, I had a life, laughed and loved you.

Think of how I am now, my disease distorts my thinking, my feelings, and my ability to respond, but I still love you even if I can't tell you.

Think about my future because I used too.

Remember I was full of hope for the future just like you are now.

Think how it would be to have things locked in your mind and can't let them out.

I need you to understand and not blame me, but Alzheimer's.

I still need the compassion and the touching and most of all I still need you to love me.

Keep me in your prayers because I am between life and death.

The love you give will be a blessing from God and both of us will live forever.

How you live and what you do today will always be remembered in the heart of the Alzheimer's Patient.

- by Carolyn Haynali ©3/10/00

100% of the purchase of this Vintage Vera Neuman Scarf at BrassPaperClip goes directly to the Alzheimer's Association!


TheEclecticElement said...

This is such an eye opening post-I'm really going to have to get my hands on that book because my great aunt has mid to late stage Alzheimers and it's so sad to think of her full of life before the disease and what she is reduced to now.
Granted, I've seen worse cases(for mid to late stage, she IS doing very well), but it's still sad.

righteousnessbyfaith said...

lovely post and love that you are donating your proceeds to this cause. My grandmother has Alzheimers and it has been really sad.
thanks for sharing!

Meri Wiley said...

What a great post. Fortunately, I haven't had anyone in my life with the disease yet (knock on wood), but I know it's devestating, and I pray for a cure soon. Very cute blog, come on over for a visit; www.imagimeris.blogspot.com.

Take care,