Read…Think…Remember

By Ginger Simpson

The topic of my post offers options to healthy minds, and strangely, are the key to keeping sound, alert, and Alzheimer free.  Sadly, those stricken by the disease no longer have choices to make, and as the disease progresses, become prisoners in their own bodies.
I witnessed this tragedy firsthand, watching as my grandfather’s memory dimmed to the point where he no longer recognized those he loved and grew unable to tend to his own needs.  I often wonder if he was aware and ashamed of being unable to feed, clothe and bathe himself.  He’d always been such a proud man.  I suspect being stripped of his dignity by this awful condition is what caused him to curl back into the fetal position and slip away.  Although he was missed, it seemed a blessing in disguise when God called Grandpa home.
Having a family history of this disease hangs over me like a black cloud.  Though I’m sixty-six, and far beyond the age when symptoms develop in some, I’m very thankful that I’m blessed with the ability to be an author.  Reading, researching, being involved in my plots, and enjoying the works of my peers, keeps my mind sharp and functioning.  Moreover, it helps me to avoid worrying about something I can’t really prevent.
The Alzheimer’s Oganization provides tips for prevention, but one twelve-year study, of the many  done about the topic, reports that although an active mind can delay the onset, once the disease surfaces, remaining active can speed the progress.  I guess this is a case of you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.  On a promising note, the research into the eradication of this disease is ongoing and very active.
While we wait and hope for the diligent workers to find a solution, it’s a good idea to arm ourselves with a few facts. Some memory lapses are occasional, but the following chart breaks them down into what’s normal and what’s not.  I hope you find this helpful and avoid panic the next time you can’t find your car keys.  Picture me smiling because I’m on a constant hunt for mine.
Early Alzheimer’s can manifest itself in different ways, says Darby Morhardt of Northwestern University’s
Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago. Though everyone occasionally blanks, some lapses are more cause for concern.
Normal: Forgetting names and appointments now and then.
Not:  Forgetting recently learned material.

Normal:  Sometimes forgetting why you come into a room or what you planned to say.
Not:  Problems staying organized day-to-day, losing track of steps in making a call or playing a game.

Normal:  Sometimes grasping for the right more.
Not:  Forgetting simple words more often.

Normal: Misplacing keys and wallets
Not:  Putting things in unusual places, like a watch in the sugar bowl.

Normal:  Trouble balancing a checkbook at times.
Not:  Paying bills twice or not at all.

Sources: Alzheimer’s Association; Darby Morhardt, Northwestern University
 
With the meat of my post done, I’d like to take advantage of a promotional opportunity and share a snippet from my recent release from MusePublishing  that features an active and normal thinking senior heroine, who is more concerned about finding love than her car keys.  (smiling again)
Just the Right Fit:
Carolyn held an expensive walking shoe in her hand under the guise of inspecting it, but the gaze from the corner of her eye remained fixed on the handsome, mature salesman arranging a display across the room. The heat of his occasional glance served as a magnet, pulling her attention to him. She couldn’t ignore him if she tried.  He definitely was new—not the kind of hunk a gal forgot.
She shopped this specialty store whenever she needed new shoes, even though the prices were outside her restrictive budget.  One couldn’t put a tag on comfort, yet a pang of guilt stabbed at her as she thought of all the other things she needed: new tires, Freon for her car air conditioning, even a new bra.  Something had drawn her here today, but this was the first time she’d run across something much more interesting than footwear. Even at sixty-four and long past being a giddy schoolgirl, she hadn’t forgotten the feelings of an emotional roller coaster.
Countless years had passed since she’d been on a date, and the urge to flirt gnawed at her, but she’d forgotten how.  Back in the day, she would have had no qualms initiating a conversation and exchanging numbers, but her youth had sailed away, leaving her nothing but insecurities from a failed marriage and the string of bum relationships that followed.  Early retirement, forced by a situation with an intolerable boss, and the onslaught of legal matters, denied benefits, and health issues had taken a toll on her sanity.  Maybe she was crazier than she thought to believe anyone would find her in the least bit interesting.
She released a loud sigh and carried the single shoe back to a seat, waiting for service.  How could she get so excited over someone she didn’t even know? She stared into her lap and prayed for composure from the flush creeping up her neck. Maybe she should’ve shopped for a bra today instead.
“May I help you?”  The timbre of his voice matched the broadness of his shoulders and made her jump.  His tall silhouette blocked the light filtering through the front window, and her dipped chin seemed frozen in place.
She forced her head up.  “Y-es, I-I…” The words she sought lodged behind a lump in her throat.
“I assume you’re holding the shoe you’re interested in.”  His smile dimpled his cheeks and displayed white, even teeth.
 An air of charisma hung about him while she felt caught up in a bubble of ridiculousness. She forced a smile and with trembling fingers, handed him the shoe.  “Yes, size seven please.”
Why in the world did this man have such an effect on her?  Could the draw be the splashes of gray at his temples?  It couldn’t be the slight limp she detected when he walked through the curtain to the storeroom.  But there was something—definitely something.  She thrummed her fingertips on the chair’s arm and fidgeted in her seat, waiting for his return—almost dreading the feelings he stirred and unsure how to handle them.
“Here we go.”  He appeared through the split material in the doorway with a beige box bearing the familiar logo of the footwear she’d learned to love.  With one hand, he hiked up his khaki slacks before kneeling in front of her. He removed her left shoe, his grasp warming her heel when he slipped off her worn pump.
The personal service kept her coming back to the store. Almost no one waited on customers anymore—especially clerks this yummy. She fanned her fingers across her heated face and fixed her gaze on the top of his head, noting he still had plenty of dark brown hair—not even a bald spot.  The man was definitely eye candy, and she wasn’t on a diet.
While he slipped on the other walking shoe and tied the laces, Carolyn searched his left hand for a wedding band.  His naked finger caused a little squeal to bubble in her throat, but it quickly slid back down when she considered he might be gay.  That would be just her luck.
Thank you for allowing me time and space on your blog today to speak to such an important topic.  I hope I did my grandfather proud. Never one to miss an opportunity to garner new readers, I’d like to invite your followers to visit Dishin’ It Out, where I host a vast array of topics and talent.  For those of you who like western adventures and romance, please stop by Cowboy Kisses.  My entire list of featured novels and stories is available on mywebsite.   I also will be picking one lucky commenter today to receive a free copy of Just the Right Fit.
On Dec 22, 2011, at 7:33 AM, J Elder wrote:

4 Responses to “Read…Think…Remember by Ginger Simpson”

  • What a great blog, Ginger. My grandma died at age 90 and had had this disease for quite a while. I’m really amazed she didn’t die sooner. I’d always wondered what she was thinking as well. I hope I don’t get it, but if I do, I hope the characters in my head continue to talk to me and keep me company. :)

    Your new book sounds great!

  • Lets try this again. First time didn’t seem to take.

    I know a few people who have had to/are currently caregivers of family members who have alzheimers. I learned a lot about alzheimers when my son did a report on the disease for one of his high school classes a couple of years ago.

    Best wishes with your book. Pretty cover.

  • I want to thank Joanne for including me in her attempt to raise awareness by sharing our own personal experiences. Having a loved one die for any reason is devastating, but watching them disappear into someone you don’t even know makes it even harder. I wish for all of us a life that’s Alzheimer’s free. In a perfect world perhaps….but I consider this disease the biggest bully of all in today’s society.

  • Thanks for sharing your touching experience with your grandfather. Unfortunately, this is not the only disease that steals people’s minds. My Dad’s hardening of the arteries caused dementia, my Mom’s Parkinson’s Disease robbed her of being able to communicate.
    Old age and the diseases that go with it is no picnic. It’s a good ideas to make use of our faculties while we can and hope for cures.

    On a lighter note, great excerpt, and love your book cover!

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

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