Saturday, June 22, 2013

Whistling down the Alzheimer highway

As much as you'd like to defer it for a year or two, it was time today for the annual family picnic.

Ran into lots of folks who I haven't set eyes on since the last family picnic...

Saw my niece Anna.

"Haven't seen you in ages kid! Bet you're in High School  by now!..."

Well, according to her, and this was seconded by her mother, Anna is just wrapping up her last year of High School.

Then I ran into a cousin. "Hey, howzitgoin with that MBA degree you started a couple years ago?"

Turns out he finished that MBA degree four years ago, got a promotion, and is now a VP in a major agri-business. The kind I generally like to portray as one of Satan's emissaries.

But good for him!

Then there was Wolfgang who spent a career figuring out just how to juggle the addictive properties in cigarettes to make them palatable to the addicted. Worked his entire career for a major tobacco conglomerate.

"So when can you retire?" I innocently inquired

Turns out he retired three years ago.

Then I met up with my dearest uncle. Used to be a world class historian. You cannot do research on the history of the protestant reformation without running into his work. A brilliant man.

We have had many hundreds of hours of conversation ebb and flow between us over the years.

Today was the first time he couldn't figure out my name.

I mentioned this to a couple of the other guests.

"He doesn't remember his own name; how do you expect him to remember yours?"

Fair comment I suppose.

But I remain utterly dumbfounded at the loss...

Alzheimers has robbed him of knowing my name and his name and the names of his children and grandchildren.

But he can whistle. In fact, he whistles more than he ever has.

He can whistle on request selections from many great symphonies.

Which leaves me awe-struck...

All I'll be whistling is Iggy's anthem.

"Lust for life" loses something when you strip out the bass and guitar and the drums...

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