I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
Alzheimers: A Sin Against Humans
March 4, 2015
Alzheimer’s: A Sin Against Humans
I’ve been holding my thoughts for a while.
I know there are ignorant people with good educations from many disciplines. I’ve met illiterate people that were brilliant. They were illiterate because when they had to stop school in the first or second grade, to work in the fields in order to help put food on the table. Yes, “share cropping” was still a form of slavery. Not only were People of Color, but poor Whites were in the fields next to their poor neighbors.
I realized that thanks to my Mom, Grandparents, and other extended family members, I was a privileged bugger.
I had to move over a thousand miles away from home to realize how fortunate I was raised.
I had arrived in the area near where I now reside and I was in one of the two supermarkets in town and dressed as I would in the North, I was a spectacle. The lookers had a chance to see an outfit never would they have seen had I not been there wearing it. Snobbish, yes. True, yes. Apologetic, no way!
As I was checking out at the counter, the two women in front of me looked as if they could have been related. The clerk told them whatever and in turn each handed over a book of Food Stamps, then opened a “snap-close” coin purse and dumped money in her hand. To this day, I say the clerk stole from them because neither of their purchases could be seen on the back of the cash register. It was covered with all kinds of old pieces of paper.
When it was my turn, the clerk told me what I owed. I leaned over the counter to see what was on the register. I already knew what it should be, but had not figured paying taxes on food.
I counted out the exact money to her to the penny aloud and watched her face turn red.
After being in the area for a while a person that worked in the store saw me in the street and wanted to know what I was wearing and where it came from. I told her. She also said, I was the first person to ever count money to the penny to that clerk. I thanked her.
The whole incident bothered me for a long time. I had a chat with our priest. I wanted to start a school for adults. He told me we could use the Church Hall. After some time in operation, the newspaper in the next County came and made us a headline story. Our local paper never said a word. We taught for a few years.
The teachers were educated Church members who knew any educational level being raised would awake the community.
We did not do “Dick and Jane”. The Wednesday free papers were our “books”. We taught basic A, B, C’s after we learned each person’s wishes. Our Hall already had blackboards and I’ve always had chalk from many other needs.
One man, over seventy years old. He had to quit school in the second grade. He worked the fields doing whatever his parents did. His goal was to read his Bible in his Church. Forever, I’ll remember him with a smile. I am ambidextrous and would write on the board with the left hand and finish with the right hand.
He caught me to the side and asked if I really did what he thought he saw. “Yes” and he had a hardy laugh. No one else noticed.
Most of the others wanted to be able to shop for groceries and understand the prices. Our doctor, had each to bring their medicines, by “appointment” on class night. She’d take them to another classroom and explain what should be written on the labels for their medicines. If smiles could have been captured and sold, when our students would leave the doctor’s classroom, the Church Hall could have been outfitted like a university.
We heard the joy via telephones that the Elder who wanted to read his Bible in his Church, did so. He was able to find the chapter, verse and read. Word got around that Sunday there was not a dry eye in the building.
Bless his soul. He got his earthly wish and died a few months later.
We even had a road trip to a coastal historic place, a National Park. I’d called for Saturday hours and to reserve a few tables. I used our Church name and added Academy. We had a caravan of vehicles to the Park. I led the way, expecting to pay for all of our vehicles. The Park Ranger said because we were a school; we were free. He waved all in to a parking area. At least half had never left that inland County and only we teachers and doctor had ever seen the ocean.
Most chose to walk the beach area and look at the water while eating their lunch. Trying to pull them from the Park was not easy.
Some of us could not miss Mass at 6p that Saturday night and have a happy priest.
Please bear with me as I vent.
Growing up we’d hear of an Elder being difficult and hard to handle. “They had become daft.” Now the ailment has a name. All the people I’ve heard that Alzheimer’s has slowly shut down their abilities to do simple things like remembering. I’m concerned when I cannot locate spices, in alphabetical order in my pantry. I’m anal with having things alphabetized.
I refuse to let anyone touch anything in my house and not replace it properly. Good manners should dictate, not to bother others’ belongings.
In the past three months, I’ve lost Friends, to Alzheimer’s. One was a teacher in our Church school. Brilliant in her own right. Her contributions to her community and the State of Georgia will last for generations.
Not one has passed with Alzheimer’s the same way. Some have just sat until they no longer could and slept away.
Daily, we hear of Elders walking away from family members and are never seen again. If they are found, the searchers find cadavers, later to be identified as the missing Elder. If we only know what gives so many the ability to wander off and never be found for months and years may be an element for a "cure".
My heart wants to think they hear their Angels calling their names and they are walking towards their Angels.
Famous and rich people have been said to have Alzheimer’s. We've seen them and their caretakers on the morning television news shows.
One person, close to my heart, had been under stress for years. Her last degree was from the best University in the land. She’d introduced me to my Beloved. No matter where I was, she knew. I knew her schedule even after she retired. We’d chat with no one in her house, so we could “spill the tea”.
When I’d return home, I’d allow enough time for us to have hardly laughs before the grands would come in, then their parents and last her husband from his job.
With all the distractions, she’d repeat herself. No problem. I have to talk to myself to recall where I last saw my keys. I do have a routine. I blew it a few months ago. I have a “George Jetson” lock on my door. I don’t need keys. I had to empty my auto of bags of stuff. I put everything away.
At bedtime, I reached for my keys from their day resting spot. No keys. I even checked the freezer. No keys. In the well-lit darkness of my driveway, the keys were on the seat of my auto and all the doors were unlocked. I opened the door, grabbed the keys, from the seat, hit the lock button and scurried back in the house hoping no one saw me. The keys must have fallen from my purse onto the velour seat. Now, the keys are on a ring that fits any finger.
I’ve asked my Angels to let the “cup of Alzheimer’s” pass me.