Grey Matters

Sissinghurst 9

Sisssinghurst England, Fall 1997

One of the things I discovered when I retired ten years ago was how quickly what I thought I remembered evaporated. Let’s put it this way, I hope I archived it somewhere in my overloaded brain, but I can’t be sure.

Like my blog friend Al, I have had ancestors (now deceased) who suffered from dementia of one kind or another. I don’t know that it was Alzheimer’s but like my maternal grandmother, they ended their lives ‘incarcerated.’

David says my brain is fine, but because I have had my suspicions about him, I don’t find that comforting.  Lately, he finally invested in a good hearing aid, and things have improved a bit.  I now attribute his attention deficit to willfulness and not chance. David has also been reading more which I suggested to him would help (he’s no reader). I found him reading material about birds yesterday, a fact that both pleases and amuses me.

He faces knee replacement surgery in September and it won’t be an easy surgery because of his heart. “Do you realize I will be 86,” he says.

Reluctantly his orthopedist agreed to start the process.  I am handling the logistics of scheduling the various appointments with our primary care physician, the lab work, etc., and a reminder to ride the exercise bike 10 minutes, to strengthen his leg and heart muscles.  Among the other things we’re doing…building up his muscles and bones by improving his diet.  Lately, he’s been drinking more milk, OJ and fruits and vegetables….much better than taking pills for your vitamins C and D.

Because of fears for myself, I push both of us to stay mentally active, which means reading, reading. reading…often somewhat complex books in my case.  I also play the odd game like Solitaire, which satisfies the analytical part of my brain. David tried to teach me Chess, but I couldn’t get interested.

Lately, I’ve been reading books written by science writers, archaeologists and geneticists that discuss the race and ethnicity of the human population. Because I worked in the race and ethnicity statistics area at the Census Bureau, these books build on my extant knowledge, reminding me of things I learned over the years.

                                                                     —000—

Daughter Connie and several granddaughters visited yesterday and we had a stimulating conversation about the Confederate battle flag.  They report that  neighbors (they all live in different parts of southern Virginia) have gone wild… flying battle flags where none flew before.  We all agreed that the flag should not be flown in public spaces funded by tax payer dollars, but of course under freedom of speech they can fly the flag from their pick-up trucks or wherever.  I hope the press drops the subject, because the least said, the better at this point.

23 thoughts on “Grey Matters

  1. My dad is in the early stages of something like Alzheimer’s. We’ll get a definitive (I hope) answer on the 12th of August. His wife tries to keep him engaged and interested in things, but he is quickly losing desire for almost everything. Glad to hear David’s hearing aid is helping both of you. I’ll be so happy when the Confederate flag issue goes away. Now they’re trying to say the fleur de lis is bad. Grrrrr…. Keep doing what you’re doing; it seems to be working! 🙂

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    • Birds seem to interest David. He’s trying to learn the different names. I show him your amazing photos Gail. Keep them coming and don’t fall out of that Kayak again! You are too good to be eaten by a gator.

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  2. I hate to remind you, but exercise get’s blood to the brain too. How about joining me in the pool again. Glad he can hear what you say now. LOL I go in about the other hip today.

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    • Pool was fine but costly and my skin didn’t like the chlorine. Also continuous surgery of one kind or another for the past few years.

      Hey I spend a minimum of one half hour in my garden everyday. Awful in this heat. My face gets pretty red. I think that’s blood rushing to my head.

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  3. You keep your brain so active it puts most of us to shame. But I guess that is no guarantee dang it. (It should be — if you work on staying healthy, you ought to be able to do it!!!). Sometimes I think it would be better if we didn’t read or know as much as we do about what might await us. But I read everything i can get my hands on too and we do what we can to stave off what sometimes feels like the inevitable.

    I can’t even talk about the battle flag issue. The whole thing makes me so sad.

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    • Sallie, the federal government made all Confederate vets U.S. Vets in 1958, the year the last Confederate died. . If you want the public law, I can provide it. Meanwhile it is against federal law to desecrate any Confederate statues, memorials or graves.

      Now with the over-reaction, the KKK has found a new lease on life.

      For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

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  4. Learning music and to play the piano is really helping me with the “brain exercises. It frustrates the heck out of me at times but I know it is good for me.

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  5. Whenever I forget something I have a moment of panic when I wonder if I’m “losing it”…but, then I remember my mother who lived to be 94 and her mind was sharp up to then …except that she could never remember where she put her glasses. It eases it a bit !!

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      • Brilliant! I had a friend years ago, since passed on, who spoke 13 languages, seven fluently and the rest enough to get by. He worked for the State Department.

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      • Neither of us speaks that many languages. David’s brother Paul served in U.S. Army Intelligence during WWII and later the State Department. He spoke Russian he learned when the family lived in Russia during the 1930s. Paul improved his Russian to the point that he was detained by the Soviets when he was trying to locate the surviving family after the war. David says Paul’s Russian improved while he was in a Soviet prison. Later, Paul worked the South American desk at State and became very fluent in Spanish when he was stationed in Nicaragua and Peru.

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  6. Good points, gigihawaii. I also feel I would rather go anywhere for care than to my son’s home should dementia strike.

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  7. I have always said that dementia is a deal breaker, as you cannot even fry an egg much less live independently. I hope to live in my house until I die. However, if I develop dementia, Maria will sell my house and possessions and place me in a care home. I do not want to burden her by living with her.

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    • We have Long Term Care policies, but won’t use those anytime soon. Right now I am more concerned with the care and upkeep of our minds and bodies in the immediate future, as well as this house and it’s yard!

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