I’ve done what I’m supposed to do…. [at least the steps I can remember ! ]
- Visited a lawyer to update my will.
- Completed an Advance Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, should my body outcast my brain’s ability to communicate my wishes about medical care.
- I’ve kept myself busy, volunteering here, there and everywhere.
- I’ve spent more and deeper time with friends and family.
- Spent quality time in the woods, on weekly guided nature walks led by faculty at the UVM Field Naturalist Program.
- Started riding my beloved bike more, now that the weather has started to break.
- Advocated for a support group for those living with with Dementia, then joined one when it became available.
- Traveled coast-to-coast and north-to-south by train and only got lost twice.
- Read and wrote like crazy, learning and sharing about my Alzheimer’s experience.
- With Jane, created a twenty-minute sermon about dementia presented at thirteen church services across the Northeast with more scheduled into the summer.
Wow, now that I write this list, I remember I’ve been a busy boy!
It takes a lot of work and a lot of time to keep ahead of the threats of early Alzheimer’s. There can be a new twist every day. As much as I have read, and talked, with fellow travelers on the Alzheimer’s detour, as much as I have tried to figure it all out, to “learn my way out of this,” I keep coming up against limits. Planning can only take us so far. And how many new miracle diets can we stand!?!?
Here’s what happened to me….I was innocently sweeping out my castle, actually, slowly reading a 975-page book by Ken Follett about castles. Follett was man-splaining exactly how castles were designed to protect a small number of otherwise under-defended people from conventional military threat. As weapons became more destructive, castles became more massive and impregnable, deterrents in their own rights. Then more destructive weapons were developed. And on and on, ending, and not ending, in the arms race of current times. Follett tells a detailed story of how a handful of clever, stealthy and motivated attackers manage to overrun a complacent armed group that had put a little too much faith in the seeming invincibility of a castle.
I looked up from my sweeping and saw an enemy I had heard of, but not yet encountered. A white fog was creeping up the grassy hill opposite, burying all the vegetation from view.
Did I say it was Creepy? Yes, I did.
I move higher up in the castle. The sun is still shining up here. Down below, the fog continues swirling, slowly climbing my way.
“Pull up that drawbridge, Sky,” I order myself. “The outside stairway, too!”
“I don’t care if it’s the only way out.”
I don’t know what this stuff is, but I know for sure I don’t want it touching me. Now that it’s closer, I can see that it’s not really white. At least not what you would call white/white. Is there such a word as dirty/white?
All the moisture serves to bring out the smells in the castle, which were considerable. Formerly dead and dry things are now slimy dead and rotting things. There is no way to get away. All my defenses are useless against the stinking slime. My defenses only serve to stop me from getting away.
And, in the meantime, the noxious fog is working its way into every nook and cranny of the castle and into every crevice of my body, my precious brain included.
There is absolutely no way to do anything that would make my world any more disgusting. I am at the highest point of the castle now, and I’m choking back vomit. There is nothing I can do. I don’t have the energy for anything, and besides there is no point.
I’m not surprised that Dr. Alzheimer has chosen to play the Depression Card. I’ve been pretty upbeat for awhile now. I just didn’t expect it to be so grim and hopeless.