I Have This Terminal Disease,
It Moves So Slow It Is Killing Me!
One of 25 Best Alzheimer’s Blogs of 2012
Mike Donohue is a brave man. Courageous, direct, and bold, his blog energizes readers with a passion for action. Dementia Endured gives a hint in the title as to the nature of this talented writer: he will endure. And with a personality like Mike’s, it’s easy to believe that he shall overcome, as well!
His life experiences are opened to the reader, and his journey recovering from alcoholism to adjusting to Alzheimer’s holds its own fascination for visitors to his site. Mike’s strength and determination will remind readers that dementias are one area in which it’s best not to hold any punches.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
She is a wonderful person, does well academically and applies herself well in her studies. She is active in music, dance, drives her own car and works at Target in the Prescription Drug Department where she is valued. She is even-keeled, responsible, can be relied on. In every way a teenager, nonetheless, she is not over the edge as many teenagers can be. She plans on a nursing career, is going to attend a nice quiet college in the country to get her degree. I believe she chose nursing after experiencing a difficult death of her maternal grandmother from cancer. She was close, felt her suffering and grieved her loss.
I wish her so well in nursing. For Whitney it is a good choice. It is a place for her to keep her compassion, exercise her sense of order and express her dedication. She doesn’t date a lot, her dad tells me she has many guy friends but keeps them all platonic, has it for one guy but they never seem to quite get it in tune. My son jokes “she is picky!” That’s ok in my view.
She has done well in school and better in life. She has a wonderful future as she grows up to face this world we, her parents and grandparents, have done so little to prepare for her. I once told my son, her dad, you will not be able to live as well as we did in the house in which you grew up. “I see the time quickly ending where the guy in the middle is going to be able to make it with any comfort. There is such an expanse growing in our culture and economy between the haves and the have nots. There seems to be little space and less pie for the guys in between!” I was wrong, my son, choosing not to be the fourth generation of lawyers in our family, chose the field of computers after taking a college degree in pre-law. He made a wise choice and is doing better for it. I was wrong in his case. I do not believe I was wrong in the long haul. I do expect his children’s generation will definitely come up with short shrift when it comes to security, both economic and public.
Hold on Mic! This comment is not intended to be about the deficit, or the 1.(?) trillion reported in this morning’s paper as the cost of this war we are messed up in. Nor is it about the loss of liberty we are experiencing in order to secure that same liberty for the folks in the Middle East. We are leaving a legacy of mess for them and there seems no one is really upset enough to do anything about it.
My recollections do not turn on this, nor do these pleasurable thoughts about Whitney really involve that. I am beyond being upset anymore. The feeling I was having seeing Whitney in the band, seeing her for what our life in this world together has been, I was struck with the wonder of it all. These kids, aren’t they something?
Whitney is ready, she is able. She will in however large or small a way make a difference about having been here in her particular time and space. That is what life is about. It has been no end of wonder for me to see these children growing in their preparation. They are receiving excellent educations in a very organized fashion. In fact, their entire lives are organized. It starts young, they grow to school level often attending pre school before hitting the more serious level of kindergarten. From there it is up the ladder.
Their social and cultural life is equally organized. Lessons are part of living for them. There are piano lessons, flute lessons, dancing lessons, swimming lessons, lessons for lessons, you name it. Recreation isn’t just going out to do something these days it is organized participation. Little League, Girl’s Hockey, Volleyball, do they ever play in the sand lot or meet at the gym to just shoot baskets. Do they ever stand on main street and watch for whoever is bombing the drag?”
They can make a decent dollar working. Whitney was baby-sitting at the earliest possible age. She was responsive to instructions, reliable; she had a nice income at a young age. It in no way compared to my struggle with a paper route from the fourth grade to a senior in high school, she was making bucks.
When she got her driver’s license her dad cringed and started looking at cars. They made a deal, she saved for half, her dad and mom popped for half. She gases it, they have a contract between them to cover repair costs and insurance costs. Funny, she saved far more than the one/half she needed for the car. She used the spare funding her trip to go to London, England, with her band to march on St James Square on New Years Day. Wow, where were those kinds of accessible opportunities for me when I was a kid?
We like to believe these kids are over organized and between television vegetating and playing Nintendo they have no creativity. Put them on the computer and you know differently. What strikes me as I look at their world is this. It is vastly different for them from what it was for me back there in ancient history. Sure it was simpler; sure we did for ourselves more than kids need to do today. These kids do have more pressure, but, it seems they also have the equipment to deal with it. Thank God for that. They will be ok!
This takes me back to the simple sense from where I started. That is the blessed love I was feeling for this young lady. I embraced her past, my involvement with that. I admired her presence up on the stage, one of many in a big band, concentrating on playing her flute right, sneaking a smile at Nana and Poppa, Mom and Dad. Sitting next to us was her brother Sean, watching the drummers, he is one too, ready to be in that bigger band than his junior high bunch. All this is going on along with my thoughts, Wow, and then Wow again. Who would have ever guessed, here I am counting down. Here is my granddaughter gearing up. In between my son and his wife, working hard, having plans, doing what middle age folks do, responsible to their children, their work, their lives.
It is wonderful to have grandchildren and to know how they happen to be!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I start this as my blog about aging. I speak from experience because I am doing that. I use the title Aging in Place because it says what this is about. It is a continuing discussion about aging. I am 71 years old. I am proud of my years; I have earned each one of them. I am astounded in reaching my age how much serenity and peace I am experiencing, far more than I ever have had in the past. Those when asked the question, "If you could go back to a previous age, which would you choose?" answer "None of them, I am staying right here!" have an idea of what I mean.
My life has been tumultuous. Many events occurred I would have avoided if I could have. My life certainly did not follow the path I set out on, it made its own way taking directions I would never have gone, given the choice. This path not chosen by me involved a lot of pain, hurt, set backs, losses, defeats along with the good and the wonderful much of which there was. Now I am where I find I am ready to start summing things up.
In doing this I realize the following:
I have far more answers than questions.
I accept things as they are, me as I am, life as it has happened.
I realize in retrospect things have turned out far better than they might have had I anything to do with directing the course.
I am the better person for where I have gotten, the richer person for what I have achieved, the happier person for how I have turned out.
Does this seem crazy? Maybe it is, but I cherish it nonetheless.
What it is about is this:
There seems to be a path that I have followed about which I had no part in setting. It has been there and I have followed it in spite of my best efforts to avoid it.
It almost seems I have not had the free will we seem to accord ourselves.
It almost seems as though some things were ordained, not all, but many!
What did this get me?
Outcomes I would never have expected.
If at the start I were to predict I would be where I am now I would not have believed it.
Because of these outcomes I am the better person because of them and certainly the luckier for them.
There also seems to be a reason for it.
The reason is kind of like our need to get from A to B. We are born, we live, we die.
Is that it? Answer’s easy! No, there's more to it than just that.
We should be about something in between, in between birth and death.
That's what life is about, what we are about and surprisingly what I have been about.
In between I believe someone, thing, or (?) means for us to make something out of our lives.
I look back and I hope I have. More than that I think I have. Most of all I hope I have.
That is what my summing up is about.
"Have I?" I ask. Summing up is trying to understand the meaning of it. It is trying to learn before I croak, which now is sooner than later, will I have left any kind of a mark?
That is what this blog is about. Aging in place, what have we done with it? I look for discussion, practical, critical, philosophical.