Thursday, April 26, 2012

Losing It All.

I just got home from work, stripped out of my professional clothes in a snap, cracked open a Heineken, and here I am. I'm all worked up and need to write it out.

To me, there are only two things in this world you cannot lose.
You can lose it all--everything--your family, job, money, objects, hair, clothes, the polish off of your toenails, even your eyesight, but you still have your memory, and your education.
And the latter is quite truly part of the former.

My greatest fear in the entire world is losing my memory. Because lets be honest--once that is gone, what's the point? Your memories are what make you who you are, and the knowledge that you are creating new ones every second of every day is what makes life worth living.

I am horrified at the mere existence of Alzheimer's. There are worse things in this world, but I can't think of any at this moment. I'd rather have my arm cut off, frankly.

Today I realized that my boss has Alzheimer's. And it is rapidly getting worse.
I wondered how well he would function at his age (late 60s), but he is smart as a whip and catches even the most minor of mistakes a lot of the time.
But he has all of the symptoms. It is heartbreaking to watch.
He can't remember a conversation that was had 5 minutes ago, and he gets incredibly stressed and upset when you try to re-explain it to him, or say "don't you remember...?"

His beautifully tailored clothes were delivered to the office and I was keeping them in a back closet for him. I reminded him several times where they were, showed him where they were, even laid them out for him to take home. Today he saw them hanging in the closet and proceeded to have a temper tantrum -- "WHY WASN'T I TOLD THAT MY CLOTHES HAD ARRIVED? WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THEY WERE BACK HERE???"

All day I had been gradually realizing that he has Alzheimer's. And it depressed me. How can you tell a person they need to be examined for a thing like that? So when he unloaded on me I only once said "I told you about them." And then I apologized to him.
I am going to confer with someone else in the office about speaking with him about it. I think some part of him must know what is going on, but he is in denial. Both of his parents had Alzheimer's and it is a highly genetic disease. He is in the key age group. He has all of the symptoms and has been dismissing them for months as "stress."  He is very prideful of his health and this is going to be the lowest blow someone could deal to him.

Whew...I just had to get that out. Today has been terrible. Besides all of the horrors of memory loss, I had to lug 3 giant paintings in ridiculously ornate frames up and down 5 flights of stairs and out to the dumpster, and 2 spiders live fell on me today (one inside of my blouse).

The highlight of my day was that while I was out running silly errands for my boss (getting his watch fixed, buying hair gel) I got to drive through Sugarhouse, my old stomping grounds!! I lived there all through college and it is my favorite part of Salt Lake.
And who should I see but an old hippie philosophy professor that I happen to love, a man that can be seen leaning against buildings with a cigarette glued to his lip like Bogart, discussing Hilberg and Nietzsche off-the-cuff, a man that refuses to go anywhere without his beloved books, carrying 2 dozen of them in canvas bags (a man after my own heart!!).This causes his already hunched frame to droop even more, much like his drooping, bushy moustache.

Eli has great seats to the Jazz game tonight, but I am just too fatigued to deal with a screaming crowd right now. I will take a bath, a book, and some Lucille Ball to fill my well again.
And a prayer that I will never, ever, lose the memories that I cherish.

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