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Alzheimer's Care Giving The Power of Thinking and Feeling

Posted Aug 23 2010 8:11am
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Earlier today, Kerry Runyeon put in a comment on an old article I had written -- Who Cares -- the Dotty's of the World Won't Remember Anyway.

In that article, I was referencing an article I had read -- Alzheimer's Caregivers Should Laugh and Tell Jokes to Patients.

Reading Kerry's comment and the two articles caused me to start thinking. For those of you who have been here for a while, I think you know I spend a lot of time thinking about Alzheimer's care giving and how to improve the experience.

Here is one thing I can say with confidence, I spend a large fraction of every day thinking about Alzheimer's. The majority of this thought is really focused on one thing -- beat Alzheimer's.

How I am going to beat Alzheimer's disease? It might sound odd to some of you.

Why wouldn't I be doing this? Alzheimer's disease is trying to beat me down all the time -- every day -- it never stops. I accept this. This acceptance empowers me.

Alzheimer's as sinister as it is, doesn't scare me. Frustrate me? Yes. Beat me down from time to time? Yes. Beat me? Never.

Now here is something that might be considered controversial. Alzheimer's makes me feel. I feel everything with a greater intensity than I have at any time during my life.

Yes, Alzheimer's makes me feel bad, real bad. But when I beat Alzheimer's, I feel good -- really good.

I wrote previously about how I came to the clear realization that I was a ONE. The ONE, just like you.

I wrote about how I came to an important conclusion one day -- that Dotty and I would begin living our life as we always had. Dame the Alzheimer's.

I wrote about how Dotty didn't laugh and rarely smiled for more than two years. You talk about gut wrenching -- it was killing me.

Alzheimer's was trying to kill my spirit, and kill my ability to "think and feel". I read an article about hypothyroidism and how it can present as Alzheimer's. I was not under any illusion that thyroid medication would cure Dotty. I did think we should check this out.

Our wonderful doctor said OK. When the blood test came in he said -- the test looks suspicious. He didn't say, Dotty has hypothyroidism. So he decided we would try the lowest dose of medication and monitor Dotty's blood closely.

Guess what happened? Dotty started laughing and smiling.

How did this make me feel? Well I can still tell you exactly how it happened, when she laughed hard for the first time, where she was sitting, what she was doing, what I was doing, and how I felt. I felt like my heart was going to 'pop' right out of my chest. Every time I tell this story, I get that feeling.

Last night after being in a bad mood most of the day -- Dotty started smiling and laughing. How did it make me feel?

Well, if you ever watched cartoons you might have seen where the heart gets real big in the cartoon character, it pops out of their chest, it glows and it is pumping. This describes best how I felt. How I feel every time, every time, Dotty smiles or laughs. Every time.

Maybe Alzheimer's made me feel. I am looking forward to life after Alzheimer's. Will I still feel this all in, overwhelming joy, when I feel happy.


Dotty did something the other night that made me think and feel.

I was on the phone and Dotty had that 'pissed off' look on her face. Angry that I am on the phone. Happens every time. Remember what I said, we decided to start living our life -- this includes me.

Finally Dotty can't take it anymore.

She stands up and marches right out to the kitchen. She didn't hold on to the chairs or the walls as she walked. She actually did the 'penguin' walk like in the old days.

Next thing I know, here comes Dotty with a big bowel of ice cream. No holding on to the walls or chairs as she walks. She marches right in, sits down, and proceeds to eat her ice cream.

What did I think and what did I feel?

First, this reinforces my belief -- persons suffering from Alzheimer's disease can do more than you think they can.

Second, I felt happy, real happy. Watching Dotty walk and eat that ice cream made me feel happy.

How happy? Well, I am still feeling happy writing about this.

Now to my point.

Feel the power. Start thinking. Start feeling. Start living your life.

Try it. Sooner or later you'll end up just like me. Before you know it you will start saying NO to Alzheimer's disease.

Once you start feeling like you are beating Alzheimer's you will be encouraged to do and try new things.

This is my belief.

My name is Bob DeMarco, I am an Alzheimer's caregiver. My mother Dorothy, now 94 years old, has Alzheimer's disease. We live our life one day at a time.

More About the Alzheimer's Reading Room

Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,810 articles with more than 89,500 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room

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