Blog of the Week

Blog of the Week: Living in the Shadow of Alzheimer

Submitted by Pablo Retana on 15:38

With one finger in his belt loop stretching out Bob's back in his usual way.”

That phrase is pure, unadulterated genius. That right there could be the opening sentence of an existentialist, stream-of-consciousness novel, sort of a Kafka-meets-Sartre-by-way-of-Faulkner deal. But Sheri – the person who wrote it, and author of the Living in the Shadow of Alzheimer’s Blog – does not have such high literary ambition, even if her writing style is could perfectly be construed as a masterpiece of absurdism. In fact, she treasures the little things in life. She wants to choose joy. She wants to pause, praise, and pray. She wants to converse. She wants a little romance.

Sheri likes to take pictures. She hates Alzheimer’s disease. And she writes a blog. The word blog is a truncation of web log, but in this particular case it’s more a log that happens to be on the Web. By that I mean that Sheri has something to share each and every single day, even if it’s just a short sentence… and why shouldn’t she? She does live with Alzheimer’s everyday; if the disease doesn’t take a break, why should she?

The mostly short, daily blurbs are by far the most complete representation I’ve seen of what caring for a spouse with cognitive problems is like. I haven’t worked my way down to the very first post, but if they do go back to 2010 (at the bottom of the page there are the words “Copyright 2010 All rights reserved”) that would mean it’s even more thorough than I thought.

Blog Of the Week: Keeping things inside is bad for my health

Submitted by Pablo Retana on 12:30

Marissa Troy of the Keeping things inside is bad for my health ulcerative colitis (UC)/inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)/ostomy blog reminds me of two very different but very cool women. Her last name and face remind me of USS Enterprise-D’s counselor Commander Deanna Troi (nerd alert); a wise, empathic, even ethereal being who always has the best advice for the worst situation, or the perfect word of encouragement or support. On the other hand, she strikes me as resembling another girl who also kept a journal that was part everyday life and part dealing with and making the best out of a seemingly impossible situation.

If you guess that other girl is Anne Frank, then you guessed right. Now, I am perfectly aware that there is a huge difference between the Holocaust and UC/IBD (Actually, I haven’t the foggiest because I have never experienced neither.) But I read Anne Frank’s diary and checked KTIIBFMH out and can’t help but notice similarities: both are about young girls who feel trapped by their circumstances and who have to endure awkward occurrences whether by themselves or in plain view of family, friends and strangers. A great example that I found in the blog involves showering in the locker room at a gym. Most people will have reservations about showering in public – unless they are exhibitionists or in jail – whether they have an ostomy or not. After all, Carrie showed us what showering after gym class can do to a girl’s psyche. You may think I’m trivializing the darkest episode in human history, but as you may recall, privacy – especially concerning personal hygiene and ‘girl stuff’– was a major issue for Anne Frank during her time in hiding.

Blog Of the Week: Heroes of Love.com

Submitted by Pablo Retana on 13:05

If we could be heroes just for one day, we could beat dementia forever and ever, and though nothing will keep us together, we could steal time, what d’you say? This paraphrasis of David Bowie’s hit Heroes sums up, I think, what the Heroes of Love blog is all about. Except for the part of being heroic only one day. Some families make miracles happen every single day of the week -and they do it more like the Ingalls than The Incredibles. The Jenkins family at the center of Heroes of Love is a classic example of this; so classic indeed that the patriarch rocks an awesome Charlton Heston-in-The-Ten-Commandments beard.

Why am I so confident about the Bowie analogy? For one, the blog’s authoress Mariela seems, as she should be, perfectly aware that her time together with her grandfather -who is, as she rightfully points out, living with and not dying of dementia- is growing scarce, as clearly indicated by the entries aptly titled Countdown to Goodbye and Countdown to Goodbye – Poem/Song, the latter of which inevitably reminds me of Placebo’s Song to Say Goodbye. For most of us time is the enemy that we never see, but no one is more aware of the irretrievable passage of the years than those who live with an Aged P.

The reference to Great Expectations is not entirely gratuitous, by the way. Surely, the littlest member of this family is experiencing, if unknowingly, a childhood with a few hints of Dickensian undertones. For him I believe it is that this blog, purposefully or not, is meant. There is a certainly a mirror image at play; memory is short for the youngest as it is for the oldest. It is through this chronicle that young master Sebastian will remember his grandfather when he, too, was like a small child who’s not even aware of his own birthday. Incidentally, the similarities between people’s first and last birthday parties were well documented by one Jerome Allen Seinfeld.

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