Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Winding Down

 When I got my diagnosis in June 2015, the only thing I knew about Alzheimer’s was that there was no cure. But I was eager to learn. Vaguely, I began to learn about the disease. One painful error was the relationship between Alzheimer’s and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).
There were distinct pathologies. At that time, I was in touch with Steve DeWitt, a former high school football player. Both Steve and I played high school football in Bellingham, Washington. For a year or so we both thought we had head trauma caused by football. But we were playing in the wrong arena. Somehow, we both conflated Alzheimer’s with CTE, a much more fearsome adversity. So, stumbling as we walked, we began to understand the real opponent: Early-onset Alzheimer’s. Then something sad occurred. Steve began to slow down. This process, of course, was irreversible.
And now, I am slowing down. And Steve is having a very hard time.  My goal is to get my book about Alzheimer’s in print sometime in 2020. But this is not a race.  And without my wife, Paula, there would no book at all. Her copy-editing and proofreading: those skills used be mine as well.
What can I do to help? Channeling the Hippocratic oath, do no harm. In the early years of the blog, I didn’t need a lot of help, other than Paula’s proofreading. But during the last two months, things seem to be cratering. The Evich men—my late father, my brother, and I—have dealt with anxiety.
Now, I am confronting the “fog.” This is fairly common with Alzheimer’s. Recently I reviewed a book largely on this phenomenon. Several years ago, I was visiting my mom at her assisted-care facility. It was the first time that I saw someone with obvious dementia.
He seemed to float in the room, like something from Greek myth. Did he stuff cotton in his ears? His journey was almost done. But we mortals must cherish our time. Turn off your phones, and tend to your souls.

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