Oct 7, 2010

forgotten

This week I cared for an amazing 84 year old man who had a heart of gold. He was in the hospital because he had pneumonia and was extremely weak from chemotherapy. He has prostate cancer that spread to his bones and is getting ready to try radiation this time. He came to me because he was having chest pain and his rhythm was extremely fast on the monitor. As I got him settled into bed and began to to assess him and it became very apparent to me that his mind was not on his chest pain... it was on his 82 year old wife in the waiting room. He told me about how he adores her and how they have been married 60 years and he needs to get better so he can get back home and take care of her. When I was assessing his pain he told me that he mostly has low back pain (sacral mets) and that it bothers him the most when he is standing cooking dinner for her at home. When I looked up at him his eyes were welled up with tears and he began to sob. I gave him a hug and asked him why he was crying and he said to me, "for the past month every evening I lose her. She suddenly looks at me and says "Who are you, why are you here?".  He went on to tell me how his heart is broken and he can't bear to tell his kids that soon she won't remember any of them either. I later talked to the oldest daughter who told me that she came to the front door before supper last week and her Mom said " Who are you dear?" as she opened the front door.
Alzheimer's is terrible, heartbreaking disease. I cannot imagine anything worse than watching Jeremy wither away and not even recognize me after 60 years of love. The movie The Notebook tore my heart out but it didn't affect me like staring at an 84 year old man in the flesh who was telling me his story. I think the only comfort to be found is knowing that someday on the other side he will walk hand in hand with his lovely wife and she will remember every single memory. God will give it all back to her when she enters heavens gates.
My friend Pamela McDonald wrote a book called the APOE Gene Diet. This book provides valuable information about how the ApoE gene interacts with our diet and environment to affect our risk of developing Alzheimer's and other chronic diseases. Whether or not you decide to undergo ApoE genetic testing, many of her recommendations can help you live a healthier, longer life.
You can click HERE to be linked to a You Tube video that will show you and amazing lecture that she gave explaining her research. Her website is HERE

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