This next piece really hit home for me. My parents had a lot of friends and there were more that stayed around after my dad's diagnosis came out in the open, then didn't stay, but there were those ones that just never came back around. Some would still come by to ask my dad to help them with their car or borrow a tool, but when they started seeing changes in him they ran for the hills. This story tells how it feels to the one that has this disease that some people just don't really know anything about, and can't face the hard core truth. I'm so thankful for the friends that stuck by my parents and held my dad's hand right up until the end. True friends!!
Why the Stigma?
This is a question I have been asking myself for nearly two years now. I have experienced firsthand how many "Friends" I have lost since announcing my early onset and have also been abused just for being me? All this I don't understand. (I would just like to say that the support I have had from family, a few friends, and complete strangers has been overwhelming and far outweighs the negative comments, but hey!! Everybody is entitled to an opinion.)
It's the two words Alzheimer's and Dementia that seems to start some kind of mental chain reaction where people's minds go into overdrive and imagine God knows what?? Do I sound insane? Are my writings the work of someone like a literary Picasso?? I certainly hope not. So, what is it that sparks such a bad reaction?
I have tried to figure a few things out and come to a couple of conclusions.
Fear of the unknown is almost certainly one of the reasons. I myself don't like unpredictability so I can sort of understand where that is coming from but yet am I alone in wanting to find out all about something I don't know? Especially when it involves a friend? Surely I can't be? As must it help a friend so much if I understood the illness better, which brings me onto my next point.
Not understanding the illness.
Why is it that when I tell people I have Alzheimer's they either "Laugh" thinking it's a joke? Or cock their head to one side (No idea what that's supposed to achieve but it actually does happen lol!) and start to look you up and down. Quickly followed by a sharp exit after the lamest excuse you can imagine.
Do they not understand how hurtful this is? Especially when it is someone you know or have known for years? Yes!!! I have Alzheimer's: Yes: there is no cure: and YES: I am frightened half to death, BUT!!! I am still the same person, with the same feelings. I eat the same as you; I breathe the same as you and I love my family and friends the same as you, I AM THE SAME PERSON!!!
This terrible illness knows no rules and is indifferent to age, race, or creed so this is a plea from an early onset sufferer, who by the grace of God, a loving family and a very good consultant.
I am still able to Blog, talk for ages (most days), write, and play with my grandchildren. I am no different to you really, just a bit forgetful at times but hey!! Who isn't??.
I Haven't Got the Plague
As I walked through town today,
I saw a friendly face,
But as he walked toward me,
He then walked past with pace,
Im sure that he had seen me, and saw my friendly wave,
Ive only got Alzheimer's and not Bubonic plague,
Why do people treat me so, why are they so cruel,
I'm just the same as them, not some bumbling fool,
Some are freinds I have known, all my working life,
Who used to chat and laugh, to both me and my wife,
But now most of them act, as if I don't exist,
And all the good times that we had, are just a mistant mist,
I still laugh and I still cry, and still know that they're there,
Even when they ignore me, without a gleeting care,
But at least I known now, who really are my friends,
And one that I can trust, right up to the end,
So those friends I have lost, I say to one and all,
I hope the dementia demon, never comes to call.