Monday, December 15, 2014

Are You Kidding Me?

Over the weekend, I read an article where scientists are very close to being able to tell folks whether or not they'll be stricken with Alzheimer's disease when they hit their 70's. According to them, a simple blood test is all that it will take to let someone in their 30's know what their fate will be in later life.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Who in the hell wants to know they'll become mindless shells of a human being in their golden years when in their prime? So a first date might go something like this, "Hi, you look great tonight. Going to dinner will give us a chance to get to know each other better. I need to gain as much info. as I can now, since I've been tested for Alzheimer's and have been told I'll be afflicted with this terrible disease in the future."

"Hey, wait, where are you going? We haven't even discussed what type of food we're hungry for yet. I know a great Italian place a few blocks from here. Stop, I can't catch up with you. I'm having chest pains I'm having difficulty breathing.."

Heart attacks are not uncommon in young people when overstressed and constantly choosing pastas with rich creamy sauces and fatty meatballs. Well, at least he doesn't have to worry about suffering from Alzheimer's anymore!

Seriously, why would anyone want to know that they will be victims of this debilitating illness when they haven't yet enjoyed life to the fullest. Imagine their mindset. Thinking about what they will eventually endure can only minimize their quality of life to the point of deep depression and demoralization. The ability to form lasting relationships would be greatly compromised. Suicide would constantly be in their thoughts as a way of escape from the inevitable.

I'm 70 and thankfully still have my wits about me. So for now, taking a blood test to confirm the onslaught of Alzheimer's is out of the question. If defined symptoms of this disease would begin to pop up, that's when I'd decide whether or not to subject myself to science. And I really don't know if I'd want to know even then. Maybe just living every moment of every day no matter what my bodily and mental state might be, is enough for me.

Does my thinking seem selfish to you? What about my children? Who will have to shoulder the responsibility of caring for me? Listen, I have a right to be selfish. I've been selfless all these years tending to my family. I gave up a career early in my marriage to raise my three children. I could haved placed them in daycare and pursued my aspirations, but I didn't. I could have left the household duties to a cleaning service, but I didn't. I could have let my own mother live in a deteriorating area, but I didn't. I invited her to live with us and she did so comfortably for twenty years. I've put the needs of others before my own my entire life, and guess what? Doing so brought me more happiness than you could ever imagine.

Who will take care of me should I develop Alzheimer's? A nursing home designated primarily for Alzheimer's patients, that's who. I would never expect my children or grandchildren to be saddled with such an insipid situation. I wouldn't want them to shoulder guilt about putting me away, and would not want them to visit me regularly. Once a year bringing a pint of ice cream would do nicely.

Being aware of an existing blood test at the age of 70 for Alzheimer's is the time to deal with the possibility and not a second before. To know sooner is absolutely crazy! Who in their right mind would even consider such a ridiculous burden they'd have to carry for a lifetime!