Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease profoundly alters lives and creates endless uncertainty about the future. How does a person cope with such a life-changing discovery? What are the hopes and fears of someone living with this disease? How does he want to be treated? How does he feel as the disease alters his brain, his relationships, and ultimately himself?
Richard Taylor provides illuminating responses to these and many other questions in this collection of provocative essays. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 61, the former psychologist courageously shares an account of his slow transformation and deterioration and the growing division between his world and the world of others.
With poignant clarity, candor, and even occasional humor, more than 80 brief essays address difficult issues faced by those with Alzheimer’s disease, including
- the loss of independence and personhood
- unwanted personality shifts
- communication difficulties
- changes in relationships with loved ones and friends
- the declining ability to perform familiar tasks
This rare, insightful exploration into the world of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease is a captivating read for anyone affected personally or professionally by the devastating disease. Individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease will take comfort in the voice of a fellow traveler experiencing similar challenges, frustrations, and triumphs. Family and professional caregivers will be enlightened by Taylor’s revealing words, gaining a better understanding of an unfathomable world and how best to care for someone living in it.
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Also available through: Baker and Taylor, OverDrive, Gardners, and Follett
About the Author
Preface: The Right Write Stuff
A Note from Linda Taylor
I. What Is It Like to Have Alzheimer’s Disease?
- Jesus, Albert, Alzheimer’s, and Richard
- There Is No Such Thing as Alzheimer’s Disease!
- What Is It Like to Live in Purgatory?
- What Is It Like to Have Alzheimer’s Disease?
- They Are Glad They Caught It Early. Am I?
- The End of Act One … And Now, an Intermission of Indeterminate Length
- Cogito Ergo Sum
- My Last Six Words
- Back to the Future
- FAQs and FGAs
- Alzheimer’s Disease, Suicide, and Death
- What Is It Like to Have Alzheimer’s Disease—Three Years Later
- Four No Trump
- “We Have a Pill. Alzheimer’s Can Be Treated!”
- Dreams, Drugs, Alzheimer’s, and Me
- I Wish I Were a Nude Mouse
- “I Have Been Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease”
- While Rome Burns … A Parable
- Trying to Figure It Out
- Checking Back in During the Intermission: What’s It Like to Have Alzheimer’s?
- Volcanoes, Fears, and Alzheimer’s Disease
- Hemingway, Alzheimer, and Taylor
- Waiting for…
- Disabling Enablers
- I’ve Done That a Million Times Myself!
Section II. From the Inside Out
- The Chase for Yesterday
- What’s the Up Side to Having Alzheimer’s Disease?
- Pride Precedes the Fall
- Safe and Sound … Unsound and Safe
- I Am a Verb
- Whatever Happened to Hope?
- Moving From Living with My Mind to Living in My Mind
- And the Name of the 3,000-Pound Elephant is “Fear”
- It’s On the Tip of My Tongue
- “I Can Read!” “I Can’t.”
- Sing Along with Alois and Richard
- My Shirt Is Broken
- Am I Half Empty or Half Full?
- The Flesh is Weak(er), but My Spirit Is (Still) Strong
- Will the Real Dr. Alzheimer Please Stand Up?
- “Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s Disease!”
- Am I My Brain? Or Is My Brain Me?
- Good Habits and Mindless Patterns
- You Sure Don’t Talk Like You Have Alzheimer’s (The Great Pretender)
- Knock, Knock
- What Will I Do Today?
- Drifting Away From My Head and Into My Heart
- Will the Real Richard Taylor Ever Reveal Himself to Me?
III. From the Outside In
- Whose Fault Is It That I Don’t Understand You?
- If It Talks Like an It and Gets Lost Like an It, Is It an It?
- A Stranger in a Strange Land
- Hello? I’m Still Here!
- Christina, Mrs. Hippopotamus, and Me
- Muddled Puddles
- A Distinction Without a Difference
- “Play It Again, Caregivers”
- My Champion or My Hero?
- Once Again, My Children Believe They Know More Than I Do
- Sex, Side Effects, Alzheimer’s, and Intimacy
- Hanging On with My Tongue
- A Silent One-Sided Conversation with My Caregivers
- Religion, Spirituality, Alzheimer’s, and Richard
- Plants as Pets
- “Give Me Your Money, Your Car, and…”
- Oh My God! Where’s Richard?
- This Little Light of Mine
- Am I to Be My Spouse’s Son?
- Okay? Okay! Okay.
- Is It Okay to Say You Have a “Touch” of Alzheimer’s?
- Here! Take This!
- What Is It Like Not to Have Alzheimer’s Disease?
- There is Something (More) Wrong with Dad
- Time to Clean Up Your Act
- “Don’t Worry About Anything…We’ll Take Care of It.”
- Should We Do unto Others What We Perceive They Have Already Done unto Us?
- When Most All Has Been Said…Little Has Been Done
- If I Were an M. Instead of a Ph.D.
- From My Heart to My M.D.’s Ears
- Do No Harm
Appendix: What You Can Do
- Taking Care of Your Favorite Organ
- Best Friends
- Act up! Act Out! Act Now!