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.
Monday, November 30, 2009
The discussion started in DEATH DO US OVER, Part 1 received enough response on other boards on which I posted it I am posting on those boards and here on my Blog my further thoughts regarding the point I was trying to make.
I do not advocate taking life by one’s own hand. Nevertheless I am exploring whether or not it can be done under justifiable circumstances. If this can be done the next question is when it can be done. While I am still consciously here I question the right of doing it. When I am altogether gone, but a shell, physically holding on to life, mentally having already gone, why not? What purpose is there in continuing an existence that is no more than a burden and a terrific cost to my wife at the expense of her own needs?
Drawing the line is the most difficult part of the proposition. Attempting to draw that line in living wills I have drafted I have done it in this way: I have prepared permission and direction to the appointed Health Care Representative to carry it out. First, it is predicated on the caretaker’s willingness to carry it out freely and voluntarily. You cannot ask them to do something they would find morally objectionable.
Next you must set the time. If you can make the decision there is no problem to getting it carried out. There may be a problem doing it. At this point I have trouble believing I have the right to take life so long as that life can serve purpose by living. If cognition remains it is hard to believe purposeful living does not also remain.
When and if my mind is gone, then it is another story. The only problem: At that time you are unable to make the decision yourself, your actual removal from life is the decision of whomever you have directed to carry it out.
I was a lawyer. I still think like one. This is how I approach these questions, I deal with them one alternative at a time. That said, the following is what remains on my mind about the issue:
There are times I am content to allow life & death to work itself out where I am concerned. I am content with that. It is at other times that I look at my disease’s affect on my loved ones particularly my wife Diane, I become quite concerned.
The effects with which I am concerned are these: My mind goes my body stays. I leave
Diane nothing more than my shell. Leaving this mindless bulk bestows on Diane the very difficult task of taking care of me. To the extent she can’t care for me she has to pay the cost of my care. This will necessarily expend funds she will need to live on herself. She must pay for me first. She must pay that first until we are paid down to a sum that is not enough for her continued support. This is what often forces me into a different view about my right to live a vegetable at her expense.
We are part of a culture that respects life so much it prohibits one’s taking of it themselves.
When I look at our cultural standards which makes taking one’s life prohibited I become somewhat dubious.
I see this: We as a nation went to war for noble moral purpose which included invading the wrong country, now trying to figure out what to do with the first country invaded where we failed to finish the job, after we have killed so many, for what?
This same country finds itself unable and unwilling to take care of its own people. We see the insane fight over our national denial of help to the needy and healthcare for all. There are so many unnecessary deaths from this. One wonders where they count up in comparison to the number of war dead.
All of this is of course done in the name of righteousness and economic responsibility. It is morally right for a government and individuals acting for the government to do this. It is done justifying the spending of profligate amounts on killing and warring for so evident political and economic rewards to benefit a very few.
In Part 1 I wrote:
“I have the Jewish, Christian and Buddhist answer to this (Suicide). They all say NO! I believe the answers of religion are good, but little more than an amalgamation of cultural standards accepted over the march of our history. They represent what we have learned as a group by being here.”
It seems axiomatic to me that morals in one sense are absolute, in another are modulated existentially by the life lived by the person addressing a moral issue. By reason of having the gift of life, by reason of the innate proclivity that is part of us to save and prolong life, ours and others, it is of the gravest concern should we undertake to end life, ours or anyone else’s. Our culture nonetheless has made that modification and among others allows killing a life in war. It is not only right if we kill others, it is morally right, in fact laudatory, should we smother a grenade to save another’s life even at the expense of our own life.
Our culture does and has modified an otherwise absolute to this extent.
There is little question but that giving compassion and all it includes is at the heart of the purpose of living. Compassion is meant to extend to others not self. The hooker to this is the words describing the golden rule: “Do not to another what you would not have them do to you.” That comes out of Jewish tradition. Christ offered it along with an annotation “Love your brother as yourself.” The hooker is you, yourself. The aphorism puts self at least on equal if not primary level to your other. Does the aphorism or the reasoning drawn from the aphorism and/or the wording in which it is delivered rule? Or do the merits of each specific situation rule?
I have come to believe the confrontation in life of ideals that are contradictory, one to the other, are events we are called on to make moral judgments directed by the events and determined by a choice of the greater good afforded by the circumstances of the specific event.
In looking at it in this way:
I started my life’s journey professing a religious belief that provided answers. It said I need not look, consider or decide. It was mine to humbly accept a better informed authority, the Church, and do what is told me.
For moral reasons I disagreed with its moral dogma and therefore left that belief system. I searched and found freedom of conscience blessed in another religion.
Doing this I defied fundamental beliefs ingrained in me in 16 years of religious education and 45 years of life. Doing this was the equivalent of damning myself to hell. In spite of this I reasoned that my conception of morally right based on my experience of life took precedence when it was in contradiction of what was told me to be morally right!
Looked at with eyes now Jewish ones, seeing things through Buddhist spectacles I have placed over these eyes, I can still see the truth of the sayings of Christ: “Do on to others as you would have them do on to you!” as stated in the religion I left.
Doing for others the same as we would have them do for us is not consistent with Washington who would say we must cut back to stay fiscally sound and able to defend ourselves rather than take care of our own.
In the same way can I not serve greater good by ending my life when I am no good to any one other than being burden and cost? I am not yet where I am no good and a burden, but certainly will be as this disease progresses. If I determine it to be moral for me in this situation to end my life, I can plan it now and do it then.
Does life call on me to make this final act of compassion?
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
One of the more fetching question I have and many of my fellow afflicted have is Do I or Don’t I have AD? My favorite line when the Doctor’s said that you can only make a sure diagnosis on autopsy I said, “As much as I would like to know for sure, I am willing to wait!”
I just came from a visit to my neurologist complaining of a variety of symptoms coming together in my feeling quite sick. I was dizzy, light headed, headache, tremors internally, half of the time associated with severe anxiety, intolerable fatigue, overall body weakness mostly my legs, more short term memory loss and nausea. This has been episodic for about three months. It comes on usually after a bad night of sleep then intolerable fatigue the next day followed with some or all of the other symptoms that last four days to a week, then go away and come again in another week or maybe two at the most.
The Doctor was puzzled. Two neuro-psychometric exams produced a diagnosis of atypical AD. Atypical in that it showed damage in my brain producing very deficient executive functioning skills, multi tasking skills and peripheral vision problems. I had mixed cognitive defects but memory not bad enough to qualify me for AD. Putting the other findings together suggested AD rather than other classifications it might be.
I think there is value in me being typed AD. For me and for others with Early Diagnosis it has allowed me to medicate to delay progress of decline, eat right, exercise and engage socially intellectually and creatively. I have stayed cognitively fresh I believe as a result.
In this regard I thank the gods for the past more than three years.
So, when I noticed the occurrence of these symptoms and the associated definitive decline I concluded my AD was simply catching up. The Doctor did not see it quite that simply. He ordered blood testing for a variety of causes, CT-Scan of my brain. (Because of a pacemaker I cannot have an MRI) This will also include an Electroencephalogram and a mental physical test conducted out of OT.
He sees a mixed bag of problems, some AD, some not. This led me to note the particular article posted by Tangled Neuron this morning. It speaks of autopsies of MCI classed AD afflicted. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a classification coming into more popular usage for symptoms and findings suggestive of AD but not sufficient to qualify for an AD diagnosis. The summary also posted in my archive: “MCI Symposium: What Do Autopsy Studies Tell Us” discusses autopsy findings on this early stage anomaly. It corroborates brain damage of the kind typically AD.
I’ll keep you posted.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Find it in my archive Alzheimer's caregivers overlooked by policy-makers
Like are we all preaching to the choir?
Oh well, perhaps we will get more troops in Afghanistan
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I have been writing a series about death in this Blog. I have come to see death as the final act of living in this dimension. It is the time we are finished here. It is the act of passing through this portal known as death to what ever lies beyond.
We carry through what we have done good and bad for later treatment, that being carried as unfinished business. This business is carried to another opportunity to deal with it, to balance it out.
I don’t believe this as a Faith thing. I simply see it as a very logical conclusion based on the evidence of what I have seen occurring in my lifetime, to me, to others.
One item seems to shout loud and clear!
“You are responsible for what you do!” The benefit or burden are yours, they will not go away. The reasons for my conclusions are in my Blog Postings identified below all posted in the last month.
• Part 1: WHAT WAS > WHAT IS > WHAT IS YET TO COME
• Part II: DEATH: IT’S WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT THAT COUN...
• Part III: DEATH: IT’S WHAT YOU THINK OF IT THAT M...
• Part IV: TO CONTEMPLATE DEATH ONE CAN CELEBRATE TH...
For sake of this discussion, assuming my forgoing conclusion to be true, where does my responsibility lie with regard to continuing or discontinuing life when I am no longer of use to anyone and such as to create financial and personal burden for those who care for me.
After this Health Care debacle along with the continuance of legislatively sanctioned greed so in evidence in Washington it tells me look for no help, you’re on your own.
The proposition is this: which is the better choice? Compassionate attendance by me to do what the problem calls for? Alternatively, stoically continue Acceptance knowing we are each charged with working our own Karma out. I am leaning towards compassion.
Why must we protect a life that has physically and cognitively failed? Are we serving anyone by this?
I have the Jewish, Christian and Buddhist answer to this. They all say NO! I believe the answers of religion are good, but little more than an amalgamation of cultural standards accepted over the march of our history. They represent what we have learned as a group by being here.
Does anyone deride the primeval Native American, the Inuit, who when old age renders them useless go off quietly, alone, into the wilderness?
I am soon to become a burden!
I have given up Catholicism for good and moral reason. I tried others finding nothing that made sense until Judaism. Now, still Jewish, I am enchanted by the Way of Buddhism. All of this movement has had the purpose of taking the right course after I finally learned it from my own existential experience.
Is it now my Karmic Purpose to make this decision, to make this leap? I worry for what I need to make account for in my performance in this life.
Nearly every choice I have ever made were not choices I would have made. They were choice made because of situations I was in directed by events I had nothing to do with. The most of these choices made, in spite of me, were to my benefit. That is the way most of my life has worked.
Is this telling me I have another choice to make dictated by the situation I am in? To choose to take the termination of my life in my own hands would be contrary to all I had accepted as the morally/spiritually right action in my past?
Just as a Catholic divorcing, choosing not to get an Annulment, and then remarrying which was forbidden: just as my leaving Catholicism which according to the Church double damned me to hell after the divorce/remarrying did. These are but two decisions I made contrary to everything I accepted and believed. I did both for the greater good of doing them. I cover the reasons in my book From AA to AD the address for which is above in hypertext.
Is it the karma I am called to answer: Why I did not end my life when continuing it became untenable? Will I somehow be admonished for not doing that rather than be blessed for failing too?
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Living Words Program
Welcome to the Living Words Program
The assertion that creative writing heals is not new. However, using a variety of creative writing genres and approaches, such as poetry, fiction writing, and personal narrative, for therapeutic benefit for individuals with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia and their caregiver is relatively new.
Living Words offers the well-known therapeutic technique of writing about one’s emotions, insights, and memories to individuals with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia and their caregivers. But it also offers a lot more.
At the core of Living Words program is an invitation for participants to experience creative writing in a unique way—in a group setting, often under the guidance of local writers, and with the intention of having fun.
Creative writing is practical and enjoyable. It is also inexpensive, both monetarily and time-wise. It requires something to write with, something to write on, and, of course, the willingness to write!
The benefits of creative writing are straight-forward and invaluable at any age, and perhaps especially for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Three of the most significant are:
1) Cognitive stimulation
2) Reminiscence and reflection on one’s life story
3) A therapeutic release of life’s stressors.
Living Words recognizes these benefits, as well as the fact that sharing in the practice of creative writing in a social setting can enhance these benefits. By engaging in creative writing in a workshop setting, participants are invited by local writers to explore emotions, insights, and memories, as well as to make beautiful things that did not exist before.
A person can write anywhere at any time, alone or in a group, with the intention of sharing what she has written or not. But, for many of us, writing is the sort of the thing that we don’t do every day. In fact, we may even dreadwriting. We may need some encouragement and the structure of an on-going program. We may also need someone to show us where and how to start.
Whether you are in a position to write or to start a creative program with a group, Living Words will help you take full advantage of the benefits of creative writing.
Browse through our articles, exercises, and other materials and/or contact us. We will do everything we can to help you implement a Living Words program. Your feedback is invaluable. We look forward to hearing from you!
Please feel free to contact us at any time at LivingWordsProgram@wofford.edu
Friday, November 20, 2009
I posted Part one With Ad Mine Has Become A More Focal View 11/18: This is its sequel.
In part one I discussed the disparity of wealth in this country that has been growing since 1980. In 1930 we were where we are now. In the same way I hope, as history reflects from 1930 forward, we are sputtering into change. The change I hope will result in a greater fairness and some moral restraint in the true measure of right and wrong, namely a willingness to care for one another.
After 1930 the New Deal was developed. First thing they did was saved the banks. Many other measures followed. Wealth between people in this country became more in balance as all crawled out of the poverty of the depression. This followed with the war than the post war period of prosperity. Then came the redirection of Reagan’s Morning in America. It all started to change and we forgot what we learned.
The political gridlock we are now in makes the possibility of change and delivery from the imbalance questionable at best. The people were heard loud and clear in last November’s election culminating with the election of President Obama and a Democrat majority in both houses. The direction most favored in the vote, namely “take it back!” was manifested in this result.
The direction now being taken in Washington and in State Governments is not the one that was favored by the public. We have found ourselves the victims of rules, traditions, and unwritten agendas. We are further victimized by the Congressional Majority bent on defying one another with no regard for the good of the country or the people; In turn the Party in Opposition is bent on destroying the process to prevent the president and majority (when they can get it together) of accomplishing any task.
The only power that speaks with any authority is the money that lobbyists silently buy their way with financing legislators’ campaigns to keep them in office, line their personal pockets while in office and hire them as they leave. If money spent by legislators is most often spent in earmarks for private projects intended to insure incumbency of their fellows in each of their districts.
The common good is unknown in this process.
Those of us with AD see all of this with trepidation. We have short term futures at best. In our limited span left we lose our jobs, fight tooth and nail for Social Security Disability and Health Care the insurance coverage too often lost with the job, or inadequate if privately owned.
Although our direct medical expense may be paid by private health insurance policies or by Medicare, we pay all the rest out of our own pockets. Neither health insurance nor Medicare will pay for nursing home, assisted living or in home care. If we are poor we can get Medicaid, if not until we have spent down our funds to the point there is not enough left for our spouses to live on, we cannot get any help.
2014 is the year the House version of the Health will go into affect. The current Senate’s main line bill now seeking debate makes its effective date 2019. I will certainly have croaked by the later date, hopefully by the earlier date.
There is no chance of the changes in health care incurring in any way to my benefit. I am still angrily desperate to see change, for the most of us to take it all back to benefit all of those who remain after I get my ticket out of here.
We have all been duped over a thirty year of use of disingenuous programs purporting to make us better, richer, but in fact designed to loot all we have out the back door without notice by us. It is now gone; it is time to get it back!
It is for this reason I am so damned angry with our self serving, self absorbed leaders who are continually limiting their sights by their individual needs, whether it be re-election or just lining their bank accounts. The politicians get rich, the rich get richer, and one man one vote becomes a rude joke as these characters have so perversely gamed the system.
A great editorial appeared in the Washington Post Thursday entitled The GOP's no-exit strategy. Click on the hypertext title to go to my Archive where I have posted it.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I have written of this before. An article carried in the New York Times by Deepak Chopra prompts me to write again. I do so because Chopra is so right on with what he has written. I do so because he pinpoints the disparity I see with the more focused view resulting with my affliction of AD. This disparity is sorely evident in what I see as my future having AD.
I have posted the article in my archive, click on Why Aren't We All in This Together?
The disparity became evident in the Reagan years. It became blatant in the Junior Bush years. Capped by eight years of Morning in America it turned into a downpour. In between it was complicated by the eight Clinton years. It has reached the level having become morally wrong, a cancer growing through our culture.
Given, I am a liberal. Before Reagan I was a Moderate Democrat. The change with me occurred with the oppression of the past thirty years.
I was a professional in the mid to upper level of the middle class. Between sobering up in 1974 by 1980 I had learned how to use my legal training. From the early ‘80’s until 1992, when I semi retired, I made out like a bandit. I was on the money train available for boarding at that time. I got aboard, did fantastically between favorable tax cuts and an economy that was growing dollars instead of tangible products. Fluff was king; enhancement of market value took precedence over manufacture of value.
When the chips fell and everything failed, 2008, the shell game ran out of shells. There was nothing left under which to hide yet another false value capable of turning a short term profit. The fat lady sung and we were called to pay the piper.
Who was the piper? That guy who said it was different now. “Price Earnings Ratio is a false measure” he said. The MBA’s just out of school told us to disregard product, manufacturing and distribution efficiency. Find a company with a market for what ever product it makes and sales. Pay off the cost of purchase you leveraged to buy it from the assets. Then take what remaining assets to add some veneer giving the appearance of greater success then sell it for more than you bought it. That’s where the real value is acquired. It is acquired by turning it over for more than you paid for it in as short a time as possible.
More money, more transactions, escalation over what was to what it might become, this became the measure of success when each sale was made, profit taken and the price of the next sale of the same business was raised to reach the potential created by the last sale. Nowhere is a measure of value made. For that matter what is price-earnings ratio really about. I have forgotten, it has been so long since it has mattered!
For thirty years our engine of evaluation has been the maximum a given asset can be inflated by a tire pump used to fill it with air to its greatest possible volume short of exploding. No enhancement to the quality of the container is made; any tire pump will do and the air quality is not material. What is needed is a change in appearance making it bigger and thereby reflecting a greater value. The value of course is no more than the air pumped into it.
The rich have gotten richer churning ever more leveraged transactions; manufacture has gone overseas; the service industry followed shortly thereafter. One business after another closed after there was no possibility of giving it enough veneer of value to be marketable, the last guy in the plant or the store able to take as consolation the loss or deduction for taxes which became of greater value with the tax and valuation changes made in the last thirty years.
No longer do we look for what we can do four our country, we look for what next can we line our pocket book in yet greater profit in the holy quest of survival of the fittest.
This is but part one:
Next post: What’s my cost and where does it go when AD requires Medical and Professional Health Care?
Monday, November 16, 2009
As we get older and quit thinking in our short cuts exclusively; when we stop to smell the roses which with aging gains in importance over “getting the job done”; with this overall different view point we find ourselves redefining our world and our purpose in it. It is in this that I suspect we start seeing in concepts and their linkage with all there is, was and what we expect yet to be about us.
Adding AD to the mix, during the process of this new and different outlook, because of the different viewpoint, a greater insight might occur. This may somehow employ and invoke more a right brain view happening for any number of reasons. It might be the different emphasis of the period we are in, namely looking at things more globally; or it may be the right brain picking up functions lost by the left brain in the progression of the disease AD.
Unlike Caitlan’s student A-I we find ourselves re-learning how to think in images in lieu of words. We might be cognitively growing like the Chimp as he learned to draw from memory. Doing so we develop another view point, not quite as empirically proscribed but rather open to more than meets the eye.
It is perhaps in this way we become better able to see the esoteric, emote with our sense of wonder and communicate transcendentally.
To wax poetically or wonder whimsically on my common theme “What’s It All About” I see it this way:
Donning my solar sail I wander blissfully,
Age my portal, AD tuning my focal point,
Through which I enter to look for more,
Might I find a view not likely
When I was amidst life’s constant jeopardy.
Seems to me there’s more to show
Than all the urgency that drives
Living in all that intensity.
Given time the circumstance,
That tells to take another view
To see what perhaps unseen before.
When day to day we looked so narrowly
Absorbed in all there was
To get from A to B then on to C.
So now there’s none of ABC,
But time giving proclivity
To explore the propensity
From where we were
To where it be that we are soon
To see through death’s portal
The constant theophany
Known as cosmology.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I just finished a second book that got me to thinking even more about this. Robert Sawyer, a Canadian science fiction writer recently published WWW Wake . The book was fascinating. It is the start of a three book anthology on a number of topics having to do with the function of the brain, sight, words, images and Artificial Intelligence.
The main plot is about a blind since birth 16 year old girl who with the invention of a unique computer is able to see.
The computer built by a Japanese Scientist can be carried around like an Ipod. It receives and transmits wirelessly. Caitlan, the young lady, had a digital receiver implanted behind her eye where it could interface with the nerve pathway (Optic Nerve) coming from the retina leading to the brain. In the young ladies case she had a rare disease that produces a scrambled signal running from the retina reporting it to the brain. The signal is sent backwards and the brain cannot interpret it.
The interface from the computer interrupts the signals, takes it, unscrambles it, then sends it back on its way to the brain in a digital order that the brain can read and translate it to an image able to be recognized by the brain. This eventually worked and the Caitlan was able to see.
Like every good read the plot thickens in a very tantalizing way. While working to make the interface function properly Caitlan was limited to seeing the World Wide Web. In this process they discovered the existence of an intelligent digital signal lurking in the background.
Caitlan, a young genius, is able to identify the signal as that of an artificial intelligence (A-I) the source of which is not revealed in the first book. It starts as an intelligent but uninformed and un-developed sentient. Caitlan is able to communicate with the A-I, direct it into a series of programs on the net starting with the alphabet lessons she is taking on the net as a literate Braille reader but illiterate with the written word. From this she leads the A-I to a variety of WebSites, one of the first being Wikipedia. The A-I develops into a super intelligence.
A sub plot deals with a short vignette about Caitlan father, a brilliant scientist in his own right, who is autistic. There is a discussion between Caitlan and the Japanese Scientist about autism in which the professor tells Caitlan that many people with Autism think in images and not in words as normals do.
He explained that an infant thinks in images until it encounters and learns to speak. In the process of doing so it switches from thinking in images to thinking in words. An autistic person cannot make this shift and continues to think and interact with the world thinking in images. This makes many things difficult to an autistic person who has to work so much harder to assimilate communication with the world about.
It was this information that caused Caitlan to introduce alphabet, words, phrase, sentences, writing in general to the A-I. The professor suggested that at the time of discovery the A-I was doing what thinking it could do in images. It did not know writing or written words anymore than Caitlan did short of her literacy in Braille. To expand the intelligent horizon of the A-I she took it upon herself to teach the A-I to think in words.
Yet another plot running concurrently with the main plot is that of a Chimpanzee who has learned sign language as part of a laboratory experiment. The Chimp demonstrates its ability to paint pictures and at one point does a rudimentary portrait of his keeper. This was out of sight of the keeper and was done from the Chimp memory of what the keeper looked like.
This told the lab folks the Chimp, like all animals, thinks in images. Accordingly the Chimp was able to remember the appearance of what it had seen and then transpose a representation of the image on a picture painted by the Chimps memory of its image the chimp. That plot goes no further than introducing this set of events in the first book.
I have no idea where the anthology is leading but see the ingredients that I have been considering in looking at death and what Jill Taylor wrote of when writing about her stroke.
This series is on this Blog: My Alzheimer’s Afterthoughts written and posted to date in four parts:
# Part IV: TO CONTEMPLATE DEATH ONE CAN CELEBRATE TH...
# Part III: DEATH: IT’S WHAT YOU THINK OF IT THAT M...
# Part II: DEATH: IT’S WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT THAT COUN...
# Part 1: WHAT WAS > WHAT IS > WHAT IS YET TO COME
Saturday, November 14, 2009
So what’s going on? I can only guess. My guess takes me in this direction. The function of the mechanical part of my cognitive process is affected by damage the result of my disease. That part that notices the error on re-reading remains A-OK! This suggests some visual function is working, is not malfunctioning like the thinking process that types the words I think of.
Why? Again I speculate with an overactive mind not particularly well informed.
Some years ago I read My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor. The book is about Taylor’s stroke that wiped out her left brain leaving her operating cognitively out of her right brain. A brain scientist at Harvard Jill examines cognitive function from right brain only along with the process of re-training and re-awakening the function of the left brain.
Taylor points out the functional differences of the right brain function as compared to the logical, mechanical function of the left brain. Among many interesting differences is the capacity of the right brain for intuition and creativity and that it thinks in images, not in words.
I notice of myself since having AD and hear this from others: We are far more creative since the disease started its trip through our brains. Do we also start to think more in images?
Friday, November 13, 2009
It is interesting to observe the progression of changes as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) modifies my mechanics of thought and communication.
Recently proofing something I had written I noticed the use of the word eve for the intended use of the word eye. This was new and it was different, I hadn’t seen that happen before. For the last six months I have been conscious of using the same sounding word instead of the correctly spelled word for the use I was making of it. What I would do would use right when I intended write, or some similar transposition. Along with that over a greater time I have become a terrible speller as I write.
I never did misspell now I do it all the time along with the wrong word for the right one intended. What I find interesting about this is I do this as I am typing. Noticing what I type, or later on proofing it I immediately see and correct the error.
The conclusion I draw is this: The thinking/performing part of writing is malfunctioning in somehow incorrectly typing the word my thought intended to use. At the same time the coordination between seeing and comprehending the word intended as against the word incorrectly typed is working just fine.
This dysfunctional difference of one thought process when compared to the equivalent thought process that is working right, (I nearly typed write), probably reflects the reality of the brain breakdown. It is something which happens discretely, one function, one organic part at a time.
So shit happens! That’s within the territorial limits of this disease.
What trips the curiosity button in my mind is not what’s behind the change but rather “How does the brain work, the mind function and cognition occur?”
I have been speaking of this on the four parts I have posted on Death and Dying recently on this Blog. In these posts I discuss the short cut management of our classifying categorizing part of our mind namely the function of the left brain. There I note how our mind categorized the identification of something by assigning words that are put into memory as symbol identifiers for the definition of what the word describes. This is short cut which saves us time. When encountering something similar we call up the word assigned and know whatever it is observed by the definition we heretofore assigned as part of the word.
This is a click-click kind of thing includes several cognitive acts. First the observation or encounter occurs. Then the brain consults that category including short cut word memory. It does a data search. It comes up with a relevant word. A separate act applies the corresponding definition of the relevant word, assigning that to whatever it is observed. It knows it by the word that identifies it. It then acts on the sum of all of these acts and does whatever the encounter calls for, thus putting into operation another series of cognitive events that create the bodies responsive function.
Applied to writing this is the process used when I decide I want to use the word white, then erroneously type the word right, or eve for eye, or I for eye. Something is not working right to discern the difference of similar words and making the correct choice between them. This is something that never happened to me when I was normal nor did I make misspells. I prided myself in my spelling prowess. Now it just ain’t so!
Monday, November 9, 2009
Death is an absolute essential of this process we know and experience as life. It starts with Birth which is far more than an event. It is that person’s entry act of a life that brings with it the accumulated biological and environmental inheritance of its predecessors. In addition it carries in the karma of the consciousness part of the person coming into this life. It is the germ, the seed, brimming with potential that embraces being alive.
Life is all that occurs between its two boundaries birth and death. Too full it is to attempt quick and easy definition, too well known by us to require that. It is, was, it becomes, in a dynamic, serially occurring process that leads from birth carrying on to death. In its totality it is the source of so much knowledge experience and understanding that can be accumulated by living it.
It is directed in part by genetic inheritance, part by the karma that preceded it, involved in its greatest part in the processing of experience as it moves from start to finish.
We can understand its ending by its beginning and continuance. We can trust it as a reliable knowledge source for understanding that death as the natural and the sought after blessing at the end of life.
We can also look to teachers, religions, history and many other sources to understand why death and what of after death. No one comes back, telephones in or sends email.
One source, inexact as it is, suggesting events after death reflected by events observed while passing out of life and into death is offered by that condition known as Near Death Experience (NDE). Regarding that I have posted a third article about death which was in the New York Times Friday November 6, 2009, entitled LIFE AFTER DEATH: THE VIEW FROM THE EDGE.
This article is good in that it treats of the various arguments that contend NDE really is not a near death experience but rather an aberration issuing form the brain in trauma. The article supports the proposition that an NDE is in fact a view from the “top”. This is not information and opinion on which you might base a science or theology paper. To the speculative mind it is interesting.
To know of death through its raw material consequence is to know this: The body stops; the organ decays; it needs to be disposed; there is no longer use for it. Nothing about death speaks of more than this.
We can know more of death through our experience in life. If we look at death as if looking through an eye that sees it and sees through it then you can see more about it. This is looking at in the same way with same view as the mystic when seeing the Cosmos.
This possibility I raised in an earlier essay. Is it possible, I speculated, that what we can see transcendentally, over, above and beyond our material consequence looking from our intuitive brain as it functions during lifetime? In this way can we see “more than what meets the eye?”
Using this as bit of conjecture as a starting point; I propose death is the material portal through which we enter in our return to the Cosmos. It is the foresight we carry, coupled with the whole sight of what we see, after passing though the portal, that gives as a new and more complete view than we had before leaving the Cosmos to enter life.
Our best resource to know death remains our life.
It is in this way that I propose we can see in the same way we see as part of the Cosmos, namely a paranormal view through our preternatural eye.
How does this happen? Look to the mystics. They have definitive formula, worked tenaciously by them that open a view of more than seen in life. There are too many instances of accounts of sight by mystics to deny the possibility of that kind of view.
The transcendent experience and acquisition of more not part of us as described by Buber in the encounter of Thou is another good example. This does happen, if the time is taken, the introspection is given, we can see it does happen and is both out of the ordinary and happens completely on its own terms in its own way.
What kind of experiences are these?
At one place in “I and Thou” Buber describes it as: “Spirit in its human manifestation.” It is the medium through which man speaks to “Thou”
He uses variety of examples to illustrate the “I thou” relationships in daily life such as two lovers, an observer and a cat, the author and a tree, and two strangers on a train.
A phrase that gives it good description is a “break threw realization.” One in which pre-accumulated data is sparked in the encounter to take on new meaning not heretofore understood and retained by self as new understanding. It has a far greater fullness than logical tuition; it is intuitive in its nature and application but more in its actuality.
It is in this process that we can and do both encounter and evoke transcendence. It is in this way Buber says we can create a relationship with God.
The most poignant experience my life has produced from an “I and thou” encounter was in my recovery from Alcoholism utilizing the 12 Steps of AA. In the Third Step we turn our addiction to alcohol over to our higher power to handle. In essence we get out of the way of doing something we have proven to ourselves, time and again, we can’t handle it; we can’t do it. It (higher power) does do it. It seems a miracle to so many of us experiencing it. It defies explanation.
This higher power in action producing a continuing and solid sobriety is the fruit of the spirit acting in the I-Thou relationship. It is in this we touch God, or some other power that is separate from and transcendent to us. The power in turn touches us and we become something we were not before. Working the steps thereafter we have both the potential and the capacity to continue utilizing this power in an altogether different life superior to the one we lived before.
It is this new life that opens the door to become so much more than we ever were. It is this better person we are capable of taking out of this life with us, enabled by our living this life.
So much of living this life makes us different and more complete by living it and utilizing gifts of available to us in it. This is as it can happen for all of us and does happen for so many of us. It is in this death serves as our harvest time. We carry all of it through the portal that is death into the Cosmos bearing it with us.
It is the doing of this about which we expend all the concentration in the effort, the cacophony of keeping up with all that we have to do. It is this through which we lose sight of our whole as we pass through our middle years being what we have become and by way of distraction believing it all there is.
It is about what we have become, what we were, with objectivity given it that becomes our topic of interest in our later years.
I have said it before in material I have written and this certainly appropriate to again say it here:
A young person wonders what he/she will be
A middle age person concentrates on what she/he has become
An older person wonders what its worth is!
It is in this stage of life where the concentration on getting it all done lets up, our drive to be dissipates, our tendency to add things up sets in. It is in this process that we see where we started, ponder what we focused on becoming, based on where it took us, why we did it all and how it counts up now.
With the peace and serenity of age, with the freedom of the intense drive to acquire having passed, sense can sometimes be made of it. In my case this was true.
So much of my life happened not as I planned but rather as it happened in spite of my planning. Failure and loss were so much more pivotal in this process than was success and happiness. The suffering done produced the most beneficial result.
In summing it up it seems what appeared to be chaos in process was in fact purposeful planning in which I had no part. What appeared to me to be chaotic in retrospective focus took on a finely ordered sequence where each event was based on the previous. The success of it was predicated with each good decision made in encountering a difficulty and the failure of each was produced by degree that I invested my personal wants into the mix.
This told me in the product of my accounting of it that it was a process that both made sense, was purposeful the entire time and in the result was so much better for me than anything I would have done given my own choice.
Applied specifically would I have been better off having never touched alcohol, a key denominator in my life? The answer is emphatically NO! For all the pain that I caused myself and others from my years before and leading to addiction the benefit of learning the interaction of the paranormal influence of seeking out the higher power far exceeds the pain I had and continue to have concerning having been in the terrible world of Acute Addiction. If only my children could have suffered less but they didn’t.
In this interaction multiplied by the many events of it occurring in my life time, events and episodes that involved more than my human capacity to engender, it is in this I see what our death invites to in its harvest.
We carry to harvest what we are able to make of this life. What was carried in as a seed is made into fruit and is ours to gather and take out. We seem to do so much of this acting out of spirit. It is in spirit the constitution of this is more than material that takes on the spiritual quality of permanence in our possession of it.
It is manifested in the karma we carry out, modified by our time within.
Everything else remains here when we die. Our status, our things, our desires, needs and drives stays here bereft of any meaning for us.
It is in this way that in life we can see and participate with more than meets the eye. The sight afforded can be said to be eternal, at the least cosmotic. It is through what we have seen with how we have used it that goes with us as we pass through the eye of the cosmos which is our death.
As such our death is a sweet part of having lived and is its best part. It is this that gives us both reason and purpose. Above all it is the winnowing of events reaping from them the benefits acquired by living our lives.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
I am working on Part IV: TO CONTEMPLATE DEATH ONE CAN CELEBRATE THE LIVING OF LIFE! and it is requiring some research the result of which it is not as yet done. As soon as it is done it will be posted. I am posting an interlude essay that has to do with my growing disenchantment with the caring communities' lip service in lieu of real service to the Alzheimer's affected. All of their good intentions it seems rarely generate much in result!
• There was a way to influence Doctors & Health care professionals to recognize Alzheimer's, diagnose it and give the opportunity to those affected to deal positively with it.
• There was a way all those folks who raise gargantuan funds for finding the cure to direct more effort and fund raising to find adequate care.
• As though we don't matter, the support infrastructure pays little more attention than periodically patronizing us as they invite our participation then turn a deaf ear to our response.
• To curb the cost to caring for us with this disease which is confiscatory. With the high return on investment the fat cats continue raking it in on their investments backed with government incentives into building more and lager homogenized holding pens for us.
• Particularly in the earlier stages we have the potential to stay as we are with out having to answer to the cattle call for the institution. We need a greater concentration on serving this potential to keep us out of downward spiral to oblivion if for no other reason to save the rest of society the cost of care.
• It seems the professionals dealing with us wear blinders. They are called "We know it better; It will be done our way or no way!" and go on to disregard any input unless you are willing to raise or walk for money. That is the place to which we are condescended with no attempt to make better use of us.
People with dementia need the help that is disingenuously overlooked by those who are supposed to help.
The mantra of care: Get them out of sight, put them away, hope they croak soon!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
While living we go from event to event defining our reality by whatever experience comes next. We are what we are doing. We limit our concept of reality accordingly. Just as we store words by our definition of them and we have but one way to perform each task we encounter by how we have learned how to handle it before, we tend to see and believe all of that limited view is all there is to see.
As we do this we come to trust these limitations in which we function are all there is to the reality we occupy.
In this world confined by the boundaries we impose by limiting it the one paradigm shift about which we can be sure will happen is death. The rest of the shifts come on their own time, usually unexpected, rarely planned for. Death comes no matter what. Its time, place, manner, and the nature of it to us as living beings is all there is yet to be known.
When our life in its existential process of learning develops a wider vision we do not include death as part. Death is but the exit process, the ending. It offers nothing more than that event of termination of life, so we believe.
We learn by experience, we use what we learn to extrapolate greater understanding. As part we are capable of rising above our material view and perceive more than that which is before us. We see there is more than meets the eye.
Martin Buber said it best in his book I and Thou (which I hereafter paraphrase my understanding of it.) We live this life in two worlds. One is the world of “I and It”. The other is “I and Thou”. “I and It” is our world limited to persevering in this life. It is the world into which we were born, through which we survive, learning and operating within its rules. It is this world that mostly occupies our attention and often all that occupies our attention. It is often all that we believe there is. It ends in death, there is no more.
This is our material world. We need to live in it, do well with it, to survive our time in it. When our life is over our material world is over.
The other world is the world of “I and Thou”. This is the more ephemeral world, momentarily experienced, passing by quickly and more fleeting should we recognize and concentrate on it.
It is in this world we evoke something outside and separate from ourselves. We give it our attention and somehow we connect with it and gain back from it something of its character that meets us half way in the evocation and produces a sentience which is ours to take. This responsive process produces insight that was not ours before that. It becomes insight in our consciousness. It is acquired by us, made part of us, adding to us something more, the source of which is delivered by this evocation between “I and Thou”.
We do this those times we evoke life with nature; life with men; life with beauty and transcendence. To evoke we do more than notice. Something about what we observe feeds back in such a way as to cause some part in us to stir, to react, to stop and listen and take in what it is that is causing this by our comprehension of “Thou” before us. It is something almost instantaneous, happens than has passed away before we can even grasp at it. We come to know it in retrospect identifying it by its provenance. There is simply something more to us than there was before as a result.
It is the occurrence of such events in our life that are more than just material confrontation. The world of “It” feeds our body and is accumulated as data by our minds. We do something more with the world of “Thou”, its products are assimilated. They are not gathered, categorized and analyzed as we do with data. The process of our integration of it is deeper and is amalgamated more creatively by us.
It can be characterized best as one of those "Aha!" moments we know by instantaneous understanding, comprehension, or simply intuiting something not known before the evocation with "Thou" that produced it. We know it by new (not there before), evident and obviousness of it, and so often its heart warming or fulfilling sense.
More than data by function of our right brain we intuitively generate greater comprehension. It is by way of this comprehension we become more than what we were. This is a potential we have by living in this life, and seems so purposeful in being here. We can make more of what we were coming into life, keep and use that as part of us, and take it out with us as life quits. This is a spiritual acquisition derived by living.
How does the foregoing apply to death?
It starts with our conscious processes of living. We gather, accumulate, share, analyze the data we experience in life. We take a step further and use our right brain to both evaluate that data accumulation, the sense made of it and draw knowledge from it. We also add to that the impressions acquired in the momentary episodes of evoking something more. Like a computer we are continually processing all of this data deciding of what significance each has and in the end comprehending the knowledge to be drawn from it.
This requires our ability to go further than our manager with it. We continually monitor for what more there is to anything than that which meets the eye. We continually ask “What’s it all about?”
As we live in time through this process we operate with blinders. It is difficult for us to understand there is more there than meets the eye. As we mature in this life our consciousness becomes less overwhelmed by the immediate need to keep up with all there is to do to adequately occupy life. When we reach that point where we have less with which to keep up we have more time to open our minds to the question of what more can there be?
One resource we can consult is our own experience of life. There is of course more starting with the guidance of our religious affiliations or seeking out others who know more and can teach us about that.
We first have to overcome our knee jerk view of reality. We have to rely on more than the definitions we have given to the data we have accumulated and the functions we have learned. To do this we have to cross over from our left brain to our right brain to be able to draw greater sense from it. Opening our creative side, our inspirational side, we can start a process of putting it all together and drawing from that result some understanding of what it is all about.
It is in this venue that we realize a greater significance to existence other than the term limits we have in this life. There is more to life than existing but from birth to death. As birth was, death becomes a significant facet of living. It belongs in life and demands we confront if not evoke it.
Processing my life as this time of it allows me to do, coupled with the sense that its termination has become part of the immediate course in which I am, it behooves me to treat it as deftly as I can.
This is a paradigm shift due to happen, the denial of which is impossible, the retrogressive assessment of which cannot be made of it. What I make of it is now and as such prospective. Dealing with it head on as I do with everything else I process is an important opportunity life gives me.
Denying it, holding on to what I was sure of, what it is supposed to be, or with what someone else with no greater authority than offered by my own life’s experience, gets me nowhere. It is part of my lot of living to make what it is to die. Hard order it is, but a resolution it is in my interest to do while there I can. By doing it I can enhance this harvest that living this life seems to afford.
In the limited horizon of what is or seems to be of life, with death as part, is not an event to be contritely tolerated. The absolute certainty of it should be dealt with by us as fully as possible.
This will be the subject of my next essay. In preparation for that I am posting an article from today’s New York Times entitled: License to Wonder
This article discusses how we know what we encounter by how we assimilate it. It speaks of boundaries we can make for our approach to it or how we in the exercise of creativity can draw from what we see of it more about it that we can’t see.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
It is impossible with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) to not have a certain amount of attention paid to the ultimate. We are but within a Hare’s Breath of Death. Why not admit to its poignancy now?
The measure of it is in what we make of it.
I have posted an article from this morning’s New York Times entitled “Happy Ending”. This is the view of death by the author. I do not have the same view. As is so true of the human lot there are probably as many different views carried of death and its ultimate consequence as there are human beings willing to give it any thought.
I wrote an essay some time ago about when change is so total that it produces a paradigm shift. The occurrence of such an event offers us a variety of new choices. We can respond anywhere from holding to things as they were or go the other extreme changing abruptly with the shift to accommodate for all that is new and different.
The change I speak of are events that alter and modify our lives abruptly and substantially. Examples of this are: Death of a close member in a family, Loss of job, Divorce, etc. It is that kind of an event for which you have to make some major shifts in how you continue to do things. The dictionary describes Paradigm among other ways as:
A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality.
As we live along from day to day we tend to do things, meet things, respond to things as we have become used to doing. So much so that we rely on the patterns we establish in doing. This is the way we do things become this is the way it is in our perception.
Words are adopted by us to define what we observe by giving it a common description suitable for our understanding and such as to be understood by everyone else. This is done by naming what we observe either the same as similar observation that have a name or giving it a name that explains what it is to be used for future reference for us and others. The act of naming is shortcutting identification by categorizing it with a name that sensibly describes what is so named
Once named our mind takes a second step with the short cut of the name. It remembers the name and the definition ascribed to it when our mind establishes and fixes that name. It does not revisit the analysis about what it is and whether or not that name heretofore assigned competently defines it. The name and the definition become that which is named and no other.
As a result of this process when observing some object that has the appearance which is similar to critical, by reason of its similarity to pre-existing use of that word, that which is observed is determined to be “critical.”
This works for common communication. It also works on a deeper level as a shortcut for understanding what it is that is observed. If it appears as “critical” we need look no further to wonder at the character of whatever it is. Use of this shortcut way of defining and knowing the character of that observed both saves time and offers us efficiency, we’re not bogged down in analyzing it. We are free to go on to the many other things on our plate.
This also limits us. Because we rely on the shortcut by which we understand it. We look no more deeply at what it is in our perception of reality. Doing so we could inadvertently miss something more about this particular thing observed that we might have understood with further analysis.
We do this in the interest of efficiency. We are not wasting time, rather taking advantage of what already is learned and tucked away in our working memory. The busier we are the more we do these shortcuts.
We do the same as we learn the function of how to do something. The best example of this is the athlete who learns how to, trains the body in the method sufficiently that it becomes reaction with out any thought beyond simply immediately responding. We learn to do, then do it each time we are again called on for the same action. We don’t go back and try to analyze the how to of a given task. When confronted with a task we both recognize it, from past experience of successfully dealing with it, which gives us the confidence to deal with it in the same way. To do otherwise would amount to redesigning the circumference of the wheel each time we need to roll it.
This is all done by our left brain, the engineering and accounting side of us. Our left brain is the Management! Through the left side of our brain we see, remember, we respond quickly, efficiently and move on expeditiously to what ever next confronts us. This is the way we work throughout our lives and it serves us very well. We are driven by differing needs provoked by the state of our lives. Our usual response is to do what is before us based on the method we have learned on how to do it well and get it done as expeditiously as possible.
This makes us good students, we study for tests, learn as a side effect. We get enamored, lusty, enchanted enough that ultimately we make that object of all of this energy our mate, partner for life. Then we get around to truly learning about the love we believed we already had.
We are driven to success in our midlife endeavors, whether work, position, raising children. Our measure of success ranges from power, to communal acceptance, to acquisition of money and things, or, to another goal able to drive us as the others have driven us. We are driven as if with blinders concentrating on attaining that which drives us and losing sight of so much else that should or once did have more meaning to us. We justify this by reasoning we have to accomplish this in light of limitations given of time, opportunity, age, circumstances.
Whether or not attained as we grow older the importance of so much of this becomes different. We are no longer driven nor do we need that which seemed so important. There is so much that is more important.
All of the efficiency we exercised in getting to the goal the attainment of which seemed to be so important turns itself in with an empty sack. This is puzzling because that sack is full of the attainments but when we look in at them they neither have volume nor are they visually apparent. The sack appears so empty it almost seems as there is nothing there.
This certainly takes the wind out of the sense of importance we assigned to our achievements. You know they were and they mattered at the time. But, when gathered and bundled their substantiality comes up missing.
Were we fooled? Has some terrible fraud been perpetrated denying meaning and purpose to the life we have lived thus far?
I believe not! We have just reached the point of recognition of the reality of life.
There is a similarity to the occurrence of a paradigm shift in our lives and death.
With a paradigm shift many of us will fight the reality of difference provoked by the paradigm shift holding to and doing as if the event never happened. The opposite choice is of course we embrace the event, feel free of the old rules and savor the process of adapting new ones. It is our choice to adjust or not adjust to the absoluteness of change.
Death is ours to deal with as it happens. It too is a paradigm shift that happens absolutely! In taking it as part of our reality it is ours to deal with it as we choose. The only thing we cannot do is avoid its happening.
The foregoing is very esoteric but is written as foundation for recognizing the ultimate paradigm shift which is death as that a shift and not necessarily the end.
The foregoing is a synthesis that really needs an entire book to explain and understand. We all live our lives within the confining circumstances of the dimension in which we find ourselves. This is an existence where the blinders of time, space, the need to survive, and the cognitive limits of our human minds give us little more than myopic perception of all of the reality we occupy.
At the same time the uniqueness of this endeavor of ours we know as living does in its serial process afford a view finally of what it’s all about! We see this for its limits, conversely with the dynamic process in which we as human occupants cognate it makes one wonder. Is this but another way of seeing it clearly? We see it more completely with time spent having experience getting there.
This essay is in its second part a consideration of how to see death as our life experience brings us to understand its reality.
This will be followed by more about paradigm shift, the inclusion of the terminal character of the shift and what I think about it.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
So described is our alternate universe where we find ourselves now. I neither wanted nor expected it to come to this. Like everything else in my life it came to this anyway! That is the one aspect of it about which I am not surprised. Why should this outcome be any different then the rest in my life?
It is so true like I am a guy who lost a limb and trying to grapple with occupying what’s left. The rules are altogether different, they are not changing, excepting for their potential to get worse, which they do. That is the immutably true rule of it all!
Loss of a limb is a good metaphor for the loss of the parts of the brain that turn out MIA. We are not absolutely sure they are gone just like the phantom limb that seems still there. But try and pick up something with that phantom hand and it doesn’t move one iota.
I call this a paradigm shift. The rules change as we change to accommodate the new rules. We have to do differently to survive in them. And, change we do!
Probably the first dimension shift is the universe around us. It gets so much smaller. Then our aspirations, expectations, hopes and desires do a number on us. Within the more limited viewpoint produced in our new world we long for different things. Peace, routine, less distraction, interesting things to occupy our time.
I don’t want to travel as much or spend a lot of time in crowded circumstances. I find movies and TV can be a blessing for escape, more times too distracting to make the effort to try to follow it. I love to socialize but hate it when it is under circumstances where the normal with whom I am communicating keep racing ahead of me in conversation and stream of ideas.
I just can’t handle a lot on my plate. One thing at a time, start to finish before something new. That is the only way it works.
The good side to all of this is in the absolute aspect of all of this change. That is the way it is; it gets no better just worse! This but offers two choices: 1. Get angry, frustrated, burn skin off your own butt. 2. Make the best of it.
The second choice reaps reward! With the abrupt change, the new rules as the result, the “have to’s” which have dominated so much of our life no longer apply. The only obligation remaining for us is to get from here to wherever this demonic dervish is taking it. Ours is but to find a way to enjoy the ride.
Is this a hard order? You bet it is. It’s the only one nevertheless.
I hate where it leaves my wife, penniless if my time in stir (nursing home) is at all long. So, I concentrate on changing the system. There are way too many silk gloved hands in the profit pocket of the Health Care Infrastructure. Health care for us in the later stages need not be so cost prohibitive.
Too much of the effort in support of our needs is directed to finding a cure. The horse is out of the barn, so? Rather than build it a new barn how about cleaning the barn so the horse can stay home?
I need only to do those things I can. This is the best part of all of it. I no longer need be all of those persons I was to all of those I was trying to serve. I am capable of no longer being anything else but me. I said it best when I characterized this new life in this way:
No longer am I that hot shot trial lawyer, wearing my three peace designer suit, tooling about in my fancy white Mercedes, being important. Now, I am but another guy on the bus!
If there is no longer time to do it all, or the ability to perform at it, toss it out the window and look only to what you enjoy and can do. Then do just that!
Live within your framework and leave enough time for a nap!