Monday, June 16, 2008 any age

I've cut a snippet (below) from an article I read this morning, and it brought back memories of my own family's peril with my grandmother's long-term battle with dementia. It was incredibly painful watching someone that was once, viable, spry and full of wit and spunk become so fragile, brittle, and unable to recognize her own family; the family that loves and cares about her. After awhile, as the disease really took hold, I couldn't go see her anymore; it was just too painful for me.

It tore my mother up inside to see her own mother deteriorate. My mother was the person that handled the details of my grandmother's demise. Dementia is an awful disease. I find myself doing everything I can to stave off the signs of losing my own mind: Eating healthy, actively keeping my mind sharp, yoga, Spin, multiple-orgasms. Hey, a girl's gotta do, what a girl's gotta do.
My eldest sister had gone through this once before our grandmother was diagnosed with the disease. Her mother-in-law had the same disease and after watching two people she loved struggle through it, she had resolved herself; found peace in saying, "If I start to feel like I'm losing it, well, I'll just ski off a mountain and be done with it."
I tend to concur with her sentiments.

I can't be certain, but because of our strict, Catholic upbringing, chances are my grandmother wasn't participating in any extra-sexcapade-activites while living in the assisted living facility, like the article discusses that I read this morning, but then again, I guess I'll never know, because God knows if we had asked her, she wouldn't have remembered.

One more thought on this subject. A couple of years ago, I watched a film called, Away From Her. The picture above is from the movie jacket. It is by far one of the most touching and beautiful movies about the subject of dementia. It pulls you into the life of a long-term, and very much still in love married couple, and how the effects of the disease rips their family unit apart. The woman in the film is played by the gorgeous, Julie Christie. If you get the chance, rent it; you won't be sorry.
Here's the snippet from the full article I've linked from above:

"Bob's family was horrified at the idea that his relationship with Dorothy might have become sexual. At his age, they wouldn't have thought it possible. But when Bob's son walked in and saw his 95-year-old father in bed with his 82-year-old girlfriend last December, incredulity turned into full-blown panic. "I didn't know where this was going to end," said the manager of the assisted-living facility where Bob and Dorothy lived. "It was pretty volatile."

Because both Bob and Dorothy suffer from dementia, the son assumed that his father didn't fully understand what was going on. And his sputtering cell phone call reporting the scene he'd happened upon would have been funny, the manager said, if the consequences hadn't been so serious. "He was going, 'She had her mouth on my dad's penis! And it's not even clean!' " Bob's son became determined to keep the two apart and asked the facility's staff to ensure that they were never left alone together."


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