Monday, August 31, 2015

As They Lay Dying...

Thank you to Dylan Landis for this sensitive report on how difficult it is to watch your parents die.

Ordinarily Dylan spends much time writing and reading books, but during the summer and fall of her parents' death and for nearly a year afterward, she could do neither.  

We often think of reading as an escape, a way of passing time when we can't do other things.  

But Dylan found her mind too preoccupied to get into a book.

This time, I found myself staring out the train windows, book in lap, unread.

And when my parents napped, instead of curling into the guest chair to read, I daughtered, picking up Kleenex blossoms, straightening papers and updating their friends. I opened books, listlessly closed them and talked to the aides about their boyfriends, their money and, with some of them, God.

I love her use of the word daughter as a verb-- to daughter!

I find myself infinitely distractable with daughtering, housekeeping, shopping, errand-running... It's so hard to pick up a book and stay in one chair, ignoring all the other demands on my life.

** Dylan Landis is the author of a ­novel, “Rainey Royal,” and a story collection, “Normal People Don’t Live Like This.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Another kind of dementia

John Carroll is the renowned former editor of the Los Angeles Times and the Baltimore Sun.   The Times earned 13 Pulitzer prizes during his 5-year tenusre.  He's a brilliant and kind man.

He has been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

There are only about 300 cases of this disease per year in the US.  It's very fast-moving.

Here's what the NIS says about the disease:

CJD belongs to a family of human and animal diseases known as the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Spongiform refers to the characteristic appearance of infected brains, which become filled with holes until they resemble sponges under a microscope.

One form of the TSEs is mad cow disease.

If you have a relative are struggling with Alzheimer's disease, remember that there are worse fates.  One of them is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Robin Williams & LBD

One of the sadder aspects of dementia is that it can lead to suicide.

My mother tried to leave her assisted living residence and "get hit by a truck" with her walker.

It's not surprising that Lewy Body Dementia was probably a factor in Robin Williams taking his own life.

With a healthy frontal cortex, people would have more chance of getting help rather than letting the illness and impulses of a moment end their lives.

Thank you to Juanita Wright Potter for alerting me to this post on