Because my friends on alz.org agreed I needed to identify myself as an EOAD patient during my vacation which begins later this week, today I made it my mission to find a MedicAlert bracelet with the words Alzheimer's Disease engraved upon it.
Now before I get to my rant, I need for you to know that there are many pre-engraved MedicAlert bracelets available, such as Diabetic Hemophiliac, Heart Disease and even Contact Lens Wearer, to name just a few.
Thinking that surely there would be a pre-engraved bracelet for me I visited 7 pharmacies this afternoon, and of the 2 that even had pre-engraved bracelets, AD was not among them.
The closest I was able to get was a bracelet which was engraved with just the word Memory, which I suppose might make someone think I was a member of the Broadway troupe of Cats, and if asked, might favor anyone with that particular tune. ;)
So here's my rant, and the stats to support it:
• As many as 5.2 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s.
• 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer's in their lifetime.
• Every 71 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s.
• Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death.
• The direct and indirect costs of Alzheimer's and other dementias to Medicare, Medicaid and businesses amount to more than $148 billion each year.
So why then are there no pre-engraved AD bracelets, and why must I place an order for one if I need one quickly?
What? I don't qualify?
Not sure how to go about it just yet, but I plan to see that this gets changed.
Did you notice the "HA-HA" in the title? Here's why:
One of the last places I stopped at to look for my bracelet today was a medical supply store. (A place that should have had my bracelet but didn't.
The lady who waited on me just happened to be someone I used to work with at my hospital and in the course of the conversation, she asked me who the bracelet was for?
When I told her it was for me, she laughed in my face, but stopped very quickly when I gave her one of my patented stares.
"But I thought you were still working?", she said.
So I remembered that she had always known me as a joker before all of this, and took the trouble to explain to her that this is Early Onset, and my capacity to do my job has not yet been diminished.
However, this is a prime example of people and their willingness to believe the "myths" rather than the realities of Alzheimer Disease.
(By the way, notice that I dropped the apostrophe and the s? "Alzheimer Disease" is now the accepted medical term, and I will be using it that way henceforth.
As y'all know, I'm a musician and I like to include something meaningful with each blog entry if I can, so this tune is for my former co-worker and for anyone else who needs educating about AD. I think the words are rather appropriate, don't y'all?
Thanks very much for "being there" for me and all of us who just need understanding and some TLC.