© and (P)2007 Tate Publishing and Enterprises LLC
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.
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