Alzheimer’s-A A +A
Thursday, August 22, 2013
READER'S Digest’s “Great Dictionary of the English Language” defines Alzheimer’s disease as a “form of progressive mental deterioration occurring in middle or old age.” It is named after German neurologist Alois Alzheimer, who lived between 1864 and 1915.
I feel that some other people will be interested to know about Alzheimer’s disease as I do. My brother-in-law, 84, and himself, a medical doctor, was a victim. He died recently and will be buried in Liloan today.
Alzheimer is a puzzling disease that the medical world has still to find a cure for.
Dr. Antonio Pilapil Mendoza was somewhat a late comer to the disease. But his wife, Dr. Araceli Reyes Mendoza, had been a victim of Alzheimer for more than ten years now.
My sister, Lorna, who has a house in Navea, Spain, told me some years ago that when Tony and Araceli visited them, she was well on the way with the illness.
And Tony had to endure the years since, taking care of her, since she could no longer recall anything she encounters in matters of seconds.
Your face an Alzheimer patient, talk to him or her, but when you move away for a few minutes, he or she would no longer remember your face when you return.
I do not know if the disease is hereditary. I cannot recall anyone from the Pilapil or the Mendoza side who has had Alzheimer before.
I think the disease hits just anyone for whatever cause or reason. For instance, my sister Lorna’s husband, a World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) consultant for many years, had traveled almost all over the world at the beck and call of the two banks, living in assigned countries for a year or more at a time when he is assigned to a WB or ADB project in a country.
And then he contracted Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Tony and Arne Hansson are now in Liloan. Just a couple of weeks ago, Lorna, called me in Balamban, distressed, because they found Arne in the dining room of our house in Liloan where they are staying while their own house is still being built.
Arne was bathed in his own blood and was unconscious. It seems that he woke up in the middle of the night, got out and went to the dark dining room where he stumbled and hit his head. They rushed him to the hospital where he recovered.
The incident demonstrated the risk to life when the Alzheimer’s hits one, and the sacrifice and patience the direct kin and friends will have to undergo just by living with a sick one in the same abode.
It is a sad situation to live with an Alzheimer patient. This is where a Filipino’s patience and capability to sacrifice come into play.
Dr. Tony’s widow, Araceli, does not know and does not really care that she is alone in the world now. Tony Jr., the eldest, now takes over as head of their family. My question is, with all the sophistication of our medical science, why hasn’t a cure for Alzheimer been found yet?
Perhaps, only the Lord can answer that.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 22, 2013.