Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Elsewhere

I got a phone call the other night from a distraught woman in California whose father had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. A few days later, I received a phone call from another woman whose father in Wisconsin had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease as well. Yesterday, a woman left a comment on the blog. Her father has Alzheimer's too.

I shake my head, put it down on my desk, and wonder when will we stop this disease. I pick it up and bang it gently over and over again - When. Will. We. Stop. This. Disease.

When I started blogging about Alzheimer's, I chose to follow a small selection of what I felt were well-written, sincere journals of ordinary people doing the extraordinary work of caring for their parents, most of whom all had Alzheimer’s. It is an odd feeling, three years later, I'm not sure how to describe it, to know all of their parents are now dead.

First, Mona's father died, before I started reading her blog,
Then Bert's father died in 2007,
Then Deb's mother died in April 2008
Then Mike's father died in September 2008
Then Gail Rae's mother died in December 2008
Then Mike's mother died in December 2008.

I imagine them all to be at the Elsewhere Bar, in an eternal state of good cheer, pointing us out to each other, filling in the blanks of who we really are.

Alzheimer’s has no cure, no effective treatment, and no real promise that something is right around the corner. It takes time and money – the less money, the more time - to push science forward and with funding being slimmer than ever, we can only surmise it's going to get worse before it gets better. Pessimistic? No, I am an eternal optimist. But I have been tempered by the disappointment of a reality that says there is not enough to do enough of what needs to be done. Not in time for the children of these parents, anyway.

Enough is enough. What is the DEAL with this disease?

I'll keep asking and I hope you'll keep donating to The Unforgettable Fund for Alzheimer's research.


  1. Patty,

    I'm glad we all found each other. If our parents are all sitting in a bar in the sky, I'm sure they're pleased with your efforts to fund Alzheimer's research!

  2. Here, here: both on that we all found each other and about what's going on at the bar. My mother is probably making million dollar bets with everyone that your father's daughter, Patty, will successfully champion The Cause.