Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Losing my mind

I've always knows that I was a little bit crazy, not playing with a full deck - all those metaphors that indicate my mental faculties are somewhat less than has been apportioned to
my fellow humans. But I didn't know precisely what that meant. Well, now I do.
Last year my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. His brother also has the same condition. From what I have read the medical community knows somewhat more than fuck all about Alzheimer's - but not much.
They do know that there are roughly two categories. One is the random distribution of the condition throughout the population - your typical, garden variety Alzheimer's. The other variety, affecting perhaps 10% of Alzheimer's sufferers - I forget the exact number (ha ha) - is called early onset Alzheimer's. This generally sets in between the 40s to late 50s. It is highly hereditary.
Guess what? Yup, it turns out, based upon the latest tests, that my old man has been suffering from the condition for perhaps 10 years. He's about 65 now. That means he started to develop it in his 50s. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to figure out what that means.
So, now it seems I have been given my best before date and it is somewhere in the range of 10-15 years from now. That puts my shelf life somewhere between a bag of milk and a tv dinner.
Nothing is ever certain of course. I'm a red head and I'm left-handed. That makes me the kind of person who beats the odds, I suppose. We - my brother and I - still have to see a genetics counsellor, or whatever his title is. I think he will basically work the odds, like a bookie at the race track. Good thing I've got private health insurance. Good thing I don't live in the USA.
Not that I'll care when the time comes that I can't wipe my own ass.
In the meantime it infuriates me that our government - and even more so the US government - is spending billions and billions of dollars killing people in Afghanistan (and Iraq) - never mind Haiti, while there isn't enough funding for conditions like this, for cancer research. The truth is, the people who make the decisions in our society - they just don't fucking care. That's all there is to it.
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