Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Name Recognition if Alzheimer's

In 1979 when my mother was diagnosed, I was seventeen years old and I had never heard of the disease. As it turns out most other people had not either. Ronald Regan brought attention to it, the Alzheimer's association took off a couple years later, and within ten years a lot more Americans knew of the disorder. Nowadays it is a household term. We see advertisements on the nightly news for meds to treat Alzheimer's.
A strange irony occurred to me. The word Alzheimer's is a scary word almost taboo to say it. It is like the word "Cancer". Some families are superstitious and don't even want to mention the word, as if it were a death sentence. We have many available and successful treatments available for cancer now, depending on what type of cancer we are talking about, but it was not that way 25 years ago. We were afraid to mention the word.
so the pendulum has swung the other way now, we all have heard of Alzheimer's, yes it is true there is not a cure yet, and yes it is true the treatments are limited. We all know about it but we should not be afraid to mention the word. It is a terrible devastating fatal illness, but by not talking about it, we tend to somehow sociologically shun the victims and their families. By not talking about it, we are not somehow magically preventing it. Dementia is a safer word apparently than Alzheimer's.
The word Alzheimer's is now a lightning rod of fear and misconception.
It is probably not unlike the term leprosy or tuberculosis once was. Its time to get over that, until we do, the politicians are going to vote to underfund it, and look the other way and hope for the best.
I like to think or wish it is not that bad, my views can be skewed if I talk to caregivers and people and families affected by the illness.... they know firsthand and do not carry the biases. So is it safe to assume that society does not carry bias, and misconceptions and insensitivity toward the disease? I am just not so sure about everybody else. all the millions not affected. Look the other way, sweep it under the rug, don't ever say the word, God forbid you might get it, worse yet what if you catch it.

N.B. You can't catch it and not talking about it does not prevent it.
common sense intuitive concepts, but do we really behave as a society like we truly believe this??

1 comment:

Joseph Potocny said...

Doc,

I agree, I see the shall we say you do not have it or exist. I have med proof of having it and FTD, plus I live in the world of fog and today, yesterday, today, where am I now. People do not want to hear the A word. Treatments really Doc there are none that work, what the hell the do not even know what causes it. Till later my friend be good to yourself.

God Bless,
Joe

Talking about the book with the Lake Superior wind....... a calm day