Thursday, October 4, 2012

An Observation About Alzheimer's

I made a visit to a new patient earlier this week. She's in an assisted living facility in Virginia Beach and she has Alzheimer's. Her husband sugar coated, which is usual (denial) the condition his wife was in, but I got a good overview from her nurse and CNA before I got there.

Apparently, she's a pincher and a spitter, and I was told she's also low-verbal, which is a kinder way of saying she's mostly nonverbal.

She didn't pinch me, and she was content to spit onto her breakfast plate, but she did speak. In fact, she swore at me a couple times and then told me to go away.

On my ride back to the office, I realized something about patients with Alzheimer's. They're like computers with a virus. They can't read their peripherals anymore and you can't really get the screen saver to turn off so you can access the hard drive.

The sad thing is, is that the longer I work in this field, the more I worry that someday I could wind up with Alzheimer's or dementia. Not by catching it from someone, of course, but just because my grandfather had dementia and he became a mean son of a bitch as the illness progressed. I don't want to be like that: a malfunctioning computer hard drive trapped inside a CPU that no tech can fix. Like other health concerns, I have a tiny part of this in my own computer programming. I think that might be why I try to learn different artsy fartsy things: new crochet stitches, how to sew, how to modify clothing, Modge-Podge, etc. Maybe if I can keep learning things, maybe I won't turn out like our patients.

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