Sunday, July 4, 2010

i don't know why but i do

i was listening to this npr podcast and they had a segment about new alzeheimers information (this is the thing i was explaining to my mom while i was at the airport and mr. man listened in on my conversation and then COMMENTED on it). in case you can't/don't want to listen to it, i'll summarize it for you here:

basically, this neurologist in iowa or somewhere was hearing a lot of families of his alzeheimers patients say things like "i don't want to go visit [so-and-so] because what's the point? he/she doesn't remember that i've been there 10 minutes after i leave." and he started wondering - is that true?" do they really NOT remember? and does a visit have NO EFFECT on someone whose mind is disappearing? so he tested a group of alzeheimers patients... he had them watch a sad movie, e.g. forest gump and noticed that everyone reacted to the sadness of the movie - some to the point of crying. 10 minutes after the movie was over, most didn't remember even watching a movie, let alone that they cried. HOWEVER, they DID feel SAD. and they couldn't explain WHY they were sad. so, he tested the opposite. he had them watch feel-good movies like when harry met sally or a bill cosby special. and they laughed and smiled. and again, 10 min later, they didnt remember, BUT they felt HAPPY. and they couldn't remember why. SO, the point is this people: get off your asses and go visit your family who have alzeheimers - it MAKES A DIFFERENCE for them. and it should for you, too! doing things for others 1) makes you feel good and 2) gives you good will with the man upstairs (if you believe that). plus, the way i look at it - if *I* were in the same position - not remembering things or people, i know i would want people to come visit me. take my grandma, for example. she has beat all of the statistics of people with alzeheimers - she has lived with the disease much longer than expected, but she is starting to fade. i call her twice a week and she thinks that i call her every day. i'm not going to try and correct her (why make her feel bad?), BUT if she feels BETTER thinking i call her every day, then how does that hurt anyone? in fact, it makes me more willing to WANT to call her every day. and it doesnt have to be a half hour conversation. i just call and say "oh, i'm at work, i had this for lunch, i'm working on this project, the weather is sunny, etc." and she gets to gab for a bit and have 10 less minutes where she is sitting alone and her mind is playing tricks on her.

what is your experience with alzheimers?

[(i don't know why) but i do is a song on the forest gump soundtrack by clarence "frogman" henry]