Last night I was visited by an Alzheimer’s factoid so simple and haunting that it wouldn’t let me sleep. It was passed on by Meryl Comer in her memoir, Slow Dancing with a Stranger, her story of caring for first, her husband, and then her mother, both with very high-needs Alzheimer’s dementia. Hers was a harrowing journey of well over 20 years of non-stop, sometimes simultaneous, home care for two very difficult family members. Protected by his good-old-boy colleagues, her husband, a world renowned scientist mentor to scores of fellow scientists and researchers, went undiagnosed for years. In the meantime, his personality changed disturbingly, and he became physically and emotionally abusive and paranoid.
Non-demented readers may remember that I started this story alluding to a troubling bit of Alzheimer’s trivia, and now what am I doing telling this whole other story?
Good point! I can only answer that the various pieces make some sense to me so far, and I’d like to ask your indulgence to listen as I try filling in some blanks.