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Dixon, CA, United States | Member Since 2008

  • 5 reviews
  • 6 ratings
  • 379 titles in library
  • 79 purchased in 2014

  • Every Single Good Day

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Max Nichols
    • Narrated By Melissa Risenhoover

    Alzheimer's disease: millions must cope with this difficult and frustrating illness every year. Author Max Nichols was forced to meet dementia head-on when his wife, Mary "Mickey" Nichols, was diagnosed. Every Single Good Day is the riveting, true story of how Nichols came together with his family and worked for 10 years to care for Mickey.

    Bruce says: "Great Personal Account"
    "Great Personal Account"

    Like Mickey, my wife has early onset Alzheimers; diagnosed five years ago at age 53. She is in the advanced stages but not yet in physical decline. I chose Every Single Good Day to compare notes on Mickey's progress and to learn a little bit about what may lie ahead.

    I was struck that there were as many differences as similarities in symptoms these two women experienced. The general story of early loss of ability eventually affecting one's ability to work seem to be the common thread. In the end, Alzheimer's is a very personal journey.

    Our stories are the same when it comes to dealing with the medical establishment. Regular physicians have little experience with Alzheimers - and their understanding is based on standard models. Too often a credible diagnosis comes only after a year or more. As Max Nichols documents - you must become an advocate and a bit of an expert yourself in order to get the best care.

    Mr. Nichols account of the attention required to ensure good care in assisted living facilities was enlightening. We have not entered this phase yet, but may soon. It appears that these services provide some physical relief but require almost as much energy to watch the care givers. Even when you are paying for care - it appears that you must do many things yourself if you want them to get done. The difficulty they had getting someone to feed Mickey still amazes me.

    Every single good day is a personal story reconstituted from notes and letters saved by Max Nichols. At times it is written in a slightly awkward style. It includes some details important only to his immediate family and it makes Oklahoma sound like the center of Alzheimer's research. For all this Max Nichols should be forgiven for he has shared the very personal jorney that he, Mickey, and their adult children had to take. In the process they supported Mickey and each-other with love. I'm convinced that Mickey's last years were much better for it.

    Thanks, Max

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fire and Ice: A Liam Campbell Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Dana Stabenow
    • Narrated By Marguerite Gavin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this mystery series by Dana Stabenow, the Edgar Award-winning author returns to the Alaskan setting she's famous for, with a wonderful character - state trooper Liam Campbell. Liam's just been transferred from Anchorage to the small fishing village of Newenham, Alaska - where a local pilot seems to have lost his head.

    Dr. Daniel Chapman says: "A quick heads up!"
    "Great Mystery"

    I'm not a regular mystery reader, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read some complaints about too much other stuff going on - but hey that's real life - and it added depth to the puzzle. There were also a few comments about there being too much sex. Well, if you listened to those parts over and over and over perhaps there would be - otherwise the rest of us saw only the passion of the main characters.

    This my first Dana Stabenow book, but it won't be my last. Good writing - and good narration by Marguerite Gavin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Still Alice

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Lisa Genova
    • Narrated By Lisa Genova

    Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At 50 years old, she's a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she begins to grow disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life - and her relationship with her family and the world - forever.

    Ira says: "Incredibly stimulating and thought-provoking"
    "Made for TV Movie .."

    I'm ambivalent about this book. The author did a pretty good job of capturing 'key' points about what folks experience with Early Onset Alzheimers - so if you prefer a narrative over dry descriptions of what faces Alzheimer sufferers and their families - this book is for you. Yet the book misses the true challenges that face the rest of us. I titled my review "Made for TV Movie" because that's what it appears to be. Well written but superficial.

    My complaint is that the author apparently had a 'check list' of points she wanted to cover, so one-by-one she checked them off. Most problems popped up long enough for the author to tell us about them - and then she moved on. The problem rarely occurred in a significant way again. For someone who supposedly suffered from significant language problems, Alice always managed to be fully articulate when necessary. Yeah, right.

    Despite Alice's dark plans at one point (another check mark), she didn't really seem to mind having Alzheimer's. Sure it got in the way - but she was not upset for long about anything. There was no fear, no distrust, no chronic anxiety ... it was just a frustrating experience that could be handled and planned for.

    I speak from some experience, since my own wife, Barbara has early onset Alzheimer's, although not the fast-acting genetic variety. Comparing Alice to Barbara: Barbara is three years older than Alice. She had symptoms that go back at least six years before diagnosis. Her first mention to her physician about the problems were passed over the first time she made them. It was only a year later that they took us seriously when I accompanied her to a visit, and nearly a year after that before she was diagnosed; ironically the same week as Alice.

    Alice has such a perfect life. Professionally successful. Great doctors. Lightening fast diagnosis. Apparently no financial issues. No crazy legal issues. Grown children. (Barbara's were in high school). Everything was manageable except for that pesky disease and her ambitious husband. Good grief, she even got to see and know her first grandchild.

    Like Alice, Barbara is loved and cared for. Unlike Alice, Barbara stays in her original home. Her husband is her full-time caregiver, while still working full time.

    So nice try, Lisa. I hope you get your TV movie deal.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of Kings: Book One of The Stormlight Archive

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor.

    Lore says: "Wow - 45 hours long and leaves you wanting more!"

    Fantasy as written by C student in high school english. Read in monotone. Suffered for an hour and gave up.

    6 of 35 people found this review helpful
  • Dancing with Rose

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Lauren Kessler
    • Narrated By Ruth Ann Phimister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    An acclaimed biographer, Lauren Kessler immerses herself in her work to construct compelling portraits of her subjects. In Dancing with Rose, she recounts her time at a West Coast Alzheimer's facility. Working as an unskilled resident assistant, Kessler learns important lessons about humanity while conducting interviews with patients in various stages of the disease.

    Bruce says: "Alzheimer's From A Caregiver's Viewpoint"
    "Alzheimer's From A Caregiver's Viewpoint"

    Lauren Kessler decided to work in an Alzheimer's ward to make up for how poorly she did when her own mother had Alzheimer's. In finding redemption, she also discovers the humanity and life found in Alzheimer's patients. As the spouse/caregiver of a woman with early-onset Alzheimers I can appreciate the author's journey to understanding and appreciation of those trapped in the moment. I hope readers come to understand that this disease may be challenging but it doesn't have to be frightening. Dealing with Alzheimer,s begins an act of acceptance.

    Hats off to Lauren and to the other caregivers who's selfless work for minimum wage make the last years of Alzheimer's patients comfortable and occasionally fun.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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