I wish there were some magic sentence I could say to my co-workers, Significant Other, friends, etc. that would forestall any of those goofy questions they ask me.
This morning, one of my co-workers (whom I rarely see - because we work on different days) asked me "Well, Bill, have you been officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's?"
Y'all, I know she didn't mean anything, okay, and I knew she was being concerned, but I'm afraid I put on my "professor's hat" and gave her a lecture, which began with, "So many people seem to be waiting for me to start drooling or not recognize them, D, but it just doesn't work like that! It develops in stages and right now I'm at the stage where I have short-term memory lapses only, and I know I look and act "normal" to you, but if you were to spend 24 hours with me, and watch me as I look for something I laid down just 30 seconds ago, fumble for a word, or put shit in the fritch that doesn't go there, you might see that this is not the Bill you knew last year!"
"Yeah, I know, but......."
"Wait!, Let me finish, okay? The way this whole thing works is that everything else that it could be - strokes, a tumor, whatever, is eliminated first, and then comes memory testing after which I am put into a classification as compared with the memory scores of people in the rest of the nation. So until that happens, I am being treated for Early Onset Alzheimer Disease, because not to do so would really put me behing the 8 ball if and when I am diagnosed. This way, I'm a little bit "ahead of the game".
When I got finished, you could have heard a pin drop and I knew I'd gone too far, so I apologized and tried to explain how frustrating this all is is for me. I want people to ask me stuff, but I want them to also realize that the fun-loving, joking, happy-go-lucky Bill is fading and he's scared...... and frustrated. There is no friggin' punchline! This is not a joke!
I hate being like this! And I hate having to repeat myself and I hate like hell not being able to say, "Okay, joke's over. I was just messin' with y'all's head!"
So I have a call in to my Georgia Chapter of The Alzheimer's Assocation to see if there's a script I can use, so I don't come off sounding like an asshole when I try to explain all of this crap I am going through.
This morning before I left work, I was wondering if our organization has someone to lobby for us in Washingto D.C. and if so, could I interview this person and add it to the blog? (My "reporter persona" is apparently still alive and well!)
So I went to Google and put in "Alzheimer's Lobby" and came up with this from an article in TIME magazine entitled "Confessions of a Lobbyist":
Here's a quote and I will also link you to the article itself:
"When we walked into the Capitol, we were not the only ones lobbying. Members of the Alzheimer's Association, which had also been holding seminars at the Grand Hyatt, were walking around with Alzheimer's sashes around their chests, as if they had entered some pageant years ago and had forgotten to take them off."
Ummmm? Asshole? Are you aware that you, yourself could be diagnosed with the disease you seem to be "satirizing"?
This was written last year, not when we first learned that AD is a form of dementia, but last year when we were already quite well aware of how many people are diagnosed every day.
Okay, maybe I'm being too "touchy". (Excuuuuuuse me!!!!!!!!!!! :))
So here's the link: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1808625,00.html
Read it yourself, see what you think and let me know if I'm overreacting, okay?
Need some help?
That's it for now!