The Nashville Walk to End Alzheimer’s is Saturday October 13th. For those of you who have already contributed to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s campaign, I appreciate it. Thank you.
There is only a few days left until the end of the campaign. Would you please join me in the battle to combat Alzheimer’s by making a contribution? A contribution of any size will be appreciated. $5 or $10 will help and I will be grateful.
If you will click on this link, it will take you to my donation page. Once on that page, just put in the amount you want to contribute and then it takes you to another page where you can submit your credit card information. This is a secure site administered by the Alzheimer Association. After submitting your donation you will receive a confirmation message.
Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that damages and eventually destroys brain cells, leading to loss of memory, thinking and other brain functions. Alzheimer’s usually develops slowly and gradually gets worse as more brain cells wither and die. Ultimately, Alzheimer’s is fatal, and currently, there is no cure. Unless a cure is found, you or one you love may develop this disease. Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.
This fight against Alzheimer’s is very personal with me. As those of you who know me may know, my life has been touched by this disease. My wife and the love of my life suffers from it. It is too late to find a cure to help Louella. I have to accept that, but we may find a cure to save many others.
Louella has been diagnosed with the illness for eight years, but probably had it at least two years prior, maybe more. These last eight years have not been terrible. We have tried to not let her illness define our life and have tried to have as normal a life as possible. We still went on a couple nice European vacations after she was diagnosed and we went on two vacations to Florida to visit Louella’s sister. We continued an active social life of civic involvement and spending time with family and leisure activity. We still go to the art crawls and sometimes party on lower Broadway.
I have been blessed in that Louella is not one of the Alzheimer’s patients who is angry, disagreeable, disruptive, or wanting to fight. Louella could not be sweeter. She does not tend to “wander.” And Louella is happy as can be. She is content picking “flowers” in the yard. Actually she picks bouquets of weeds or foliage, but she is particular about which ones she is picking. Picking flowers makes her really happy. She also is content playing with her “bling.” She will put on earrings and necklaces and attach earrings to her clothing. She can play in her jewelry for hours. She has a lot of things that interest her. And, we have a cat that Louella is just crazy about.
Actually Louella is a delight. She gets excited at seeing butterflies fluttering around our zinnias in the front yard. She takes great delight in watching children. She gets excited at birds and if she sees a “bunny,” which we have a lot of in our neighborhood, she gets real excited. She likes a lot of television, especially America’s Funnies Home videos and she likes movies with lots of tension and suspense. I know she can not understand the plot but she watches them intensely and at a critical moment she will turn to me and ask, “Is that a good guy or a bad guy?” Louella still loves to dance and to go places. Louella could not be happier.
We have been blessed by having a great caregiver for Louella. Sue Deuss really loves Louella and could not be more gentle and sweet to her. She takes Louella places and takes good care of her. Sue has become like part of our family.
Unfortunately, Louella’s children have totally abandoned her. They never call and never see her. After discovering they were stealing her money and after a long, lengthy legal battle, Louella’s remaining funds were placed in a conservatorship last year. We have heard nothing from either of her children since then. Luckily Louella is unaware. She lives in the here and now and worries about nothing.
Unfortunately, in the last year Louella has had a major decline. She can no longer read at all. She could not read with understanding for a long time, but now she cannot read any words. Also, she talks less. She still can understand when you talk to her, but she makes conversation a lot less and cannot find the words to express herself when she does try to talk. The worst is that she has lost control of her bodily functions. This makes it more difficult to go places and makes daily life less pleasant, but it is just part of it.
Despite this further decline, Louella is still graceful, feminine, delicate, and charming. She still loves to get dressed up nice. She still enjoys life. She has the same mannerisms and she is still engaged and aware of what is going on around her. She is still Louella.
On October 13 We will be walking a mile and a half in Centennial Park. If you are in Nashville, Please join me. Sign-in is at 8:00 AM and the walk begins at 9AM. To join the Rod and Louella Team” in the walk to end Alzheimer click on this link and then click “join team.” You can also make a contribution at that same link. If you fail to register for the walk and want to join us at the last minute, just show up.
For those of you who know me, over the years, your words of encouragement, prayers and concern have been greatly appreciated. The support I have had from family and friends means so much. If you know someone who is suffering from this illness or a caregiver, please take time to let them know you care. It means so much.
If someone you love has the illness, please continue to engage them and love them. Life is different when the one you love has Alzheimer’s, but it is not over.
To all those who support me and to all who care for one with this illness or are supportive on someone who cares for someone with this disease, God Bless you.