Thursday, December 23, 2010

Alzheimer's...Is this really "living"?

Ever since I got that terrible news, my mind has kind of been in a fog.  "Did he really say that I had Alzheimer's?"  The questions still remains unanswered.  How do you deal with news like that?  Personally, I don't think that I have been doing well, as far as coping with this is concerned.  I don't really have a life anymore.  Every waking second is consumed with my Alzheimer's.  (My Alzheimer's!  That's a hell of a thing to try to grasp.  This is the first time that I've actually referred to it as "mine".)  It's always lurking in the back of my mind.  How long do I really have?  I'm not taking about how long I'll live, I want to get a ballpark idea on how much time I have with all my marbles intact.  How long will I be able to continue being ME?  How long will I be able to work, how about being able to read and more importantly, how long will I be able to write?  How am I going to be able to provide for my wife, so that she will be able to live fairly comfortably after I am gone?  People tend to think that they can take care of those things later.  The problem is that I don't have a "later" anymore! 

Scherry made an appointment with a Neurologist that the Alzheimer's Association referred us to in a couple of weeks.  Scherry told me that this Neurologist specializes in Alzheimer's.  That is the earliest that I could get in.  I want to actually get a copy of my MRI and CAT scan X-Rays and have the Neurologist look at those instead of just reading the findings.  I want her to show me what is going on inside of my head!  I can feel what's going on, my headaches are more frequent now.  At least the intensity varies, so that I am not hurting as much all of the time. 

But the emotional agony is constant.  Just a few weeks ago, I was joking that my next fifty years are going to be better than my first fifty.  I had made some plans, some big plans.  I had dreams!  I had goals!  Now what am I left with?  I had started a business and just got my business cards about a week before I found out about the Alzheimer's.  Now what do I do?  What will I be able to do?  The uncertainty is maddening!  All of these thoughts are going constantly through my head all of the time.  How does a person escape from this constant uncertainty and worry?  A week off would be nice.  Couldn't I just take a week off from the Alzheimer's worries once in a while?

Having seen Alzheimer's progress, I realize that soon I will lose my memories, my identity, my very essence.  All that will be left will be a shell of my former self.  It will be like my soul just decided to take off and leave my body behind.  I don't know what kind of personality this person will have.  I am afraid that all the wonderful memories that Scherry has of our life together will be forgotten as she has to deal with what is left of me.  On a lighter note, I mentioned this concern to Scherry and told her that we need to name this guy so that he won't be confused with me, because frankly, he may be nothing like me at all.  Scherry chose the name "Zippy".  Now it's kind of a running joke with us.  You know what they say, if you don't laugh about it you're going to cry.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

So, You've got Alzheimer's...

Those words!  Why the hell did my Doctor have to say "those words"!  How exactly, is a person suppose to deal with something like that?  I watched my wife, Scherry, as she suffered as she lived through the hell of watching her mother destroyed by the disease.  I've told people that Alzheimer's isn't even the kind of thing that you would wish upon your worst enemy!  Of all the diseases that you can get, that is the LAST ONE, you would want to get.   But I've got it!  I guess it figures, though, when I think about it.  That is exactly how my life goes.  I get to have some fun in my Manic phase.  That's when I make all of these great plans to do a lot of good stuff, some major accomplishments, to have some fun.  Then this, the overflow from the toilet of life.  How am I suppose to deal with that?  My wife thinks that it hasn't totally sunk in yet.  I think that she might be right.  It knocks the wind right out of you, but what do you do next? 

My headaches have been getting more frequent and more severe. So I went to my Doctor and got an MRI.  I was expecting a brain tumor.  I was already bracing myself for that.  I had my little pep talk prepared.  I was going to fight it and I was going to WIN!  How do you fight a battle that can't be won?

What about poor Scherry?   She has already been through that hell already.  How is she going to go through it again?  How can I ask her to do that?  I gave her an "out".  I told her that she could walk away and that I wouldn't hold it against her or have any hard feelings.  However, she says she will stay and that she will be there for me.  "It's in the vows," she says, "for better and for worse, in sickness and in health". She is willing to endure the private hell that loved ones of Alzheimer's patients have to fight through. 

She says that I won't suffer, that when I progress to the last stages, I won't even know what is going on.  I don't agree.  I think that the Alzheimer's patient realizes that they are literally losing their minds but can't do anything about it.  I guess I will find out.  However, once I've lost most of my marbles, how will I be able to communicate what I am feeling or thinking? 

What if she dies before I start going through the final stages?  I don't have any children of my own.  Who will be there to hold my hand?  Who will be there to comfort me as I slowly lose my mind?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Second hand smoke does cause death!

An article entitled, "Passive smoking's death toll quantified" submitted by the Associated Press, was in the Friday edition of the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times.  The first line of the first paragraph states, "Secondhand smoke kills more than 600,000 people worldwide every year".  I have been saying this for a long time now and the study, that was lead by the World Health Organization's Tobacco-Free Initiative, finally provides the proof.

The last paragraph of the article is really interesting, it says,

"It's almost as if people are in denial, she said. (referring to Helena Shovelton, the Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation) "They absolutely would not do something dangerous like leaving their children in the middle of the road, but somehow, smoking in front of them is fine."

It feels good to finally have the scientific community confirm what I have believed and have talked about for some time.  Now if they would only conduct a study on how smoking damages brain cells, both of my theories about smoking would be proven.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Graphic warnings on cigarette packages are a good idea!

The FDA (U. S. Food and Drug Administration) wants to "feature vivid images as part of the war against smoking" onto all packages of cigarettes.  One picture has shows a man smoking a cigarette with smoke coming out through a hole in his throat with a "WARNING:  Cigarettes are addictive", while another shows the foot of a corpse with the caption, "WARNING:  Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease."  A third picture shows a frail pale man in a bed with the caption, "WARNING:  Cigarettes cause cancer."  The fourth image shows a mouth of an adult holding a baby with smoke in floating through the air with the "WARNING:  Tobacco smoke can harm your children."  An article about these graphic warnings with the fore mentioned pictures appeared on the front page of  the Thursday, November 11th edition of the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times.  I applaud the FDA on this plan.  This should have been done many many years ago!

What we really need is a law that denies any health insurance or any kind of financial assistance to smokers and former smokers for any treatment for damage to body parts, tissue and/or organs caused by smoking.  The same should be true for anyone who drinks alcohol.  Sure, I have said that as Americans we should have the freedom to choose to smoke or drink if we want to.  It is their decision to pick up the cigarette or bottle.  So it should follow that any damage caused to their bodies due to these choices should be the sole financial responsibility of that person.  If they can't afford it, IT WAS THEIR CHOICE to smoke, so they will need to deal with the resulting consequences.  Why should we have to pay for their poor judgement?  Come on, we have known about the dangers and addictiveness of smoking and drinking for decades!   Let's put a stop to the lawsuits and put the blame where it belongs, on the person who chose to smoke or drink!  The U. S. taxpayer has to pay enough without having to pay for foolish choices people make.

I will admit that I am not without flaws.  I have a weakness for pizza, Big Mac's, Whopper's, Cokes, potato chips and just about anything that involving chocolate.  However, after peaking at 210 pounds, I have decided to reduce my consumption of these things and try to eat healthier and to exercise regularly.  I am proud to say that I am now averaging about 190 pounds.  I realize what my bad habits are doing to me and am trying to change my habits.  At 51 years old, I have decided that my next fifty years are going to be better than the first fifty!  Keep an eye on this blog as I am sure that you will hear more about my struggle if the news is good.  If you don't hear anything, feel free to give me a kick in the butt and tell me to shape up.

President Obama's plan is starting to help revive the economy!

I don't care what anyone else says, I think that President Obama's plan for the economy is working.  I am really encouraged to see a lot of new businesses starting up.  There is a new Wal-Mart being built in the Central Business District of St. Petersburg, Florida.  Several Wal-Mart stores in Pinellas County of Florida have been converted to Super Wal-Marts.  There are many other large chains opening up new branches in this area.  Personally, I have seen two new Save-A-Lot stores, a new HobbyLobby in Port Richey, just to name a few.  It is also really great to see some new small businesses starting up.  It takes a great deal of courage, effort and hard work to make a small business work, but more people, including me, are going to make it work.  You can't give any credit to Governor Crist, he was to busy saying anything and everything so he can be elected to the U. S. Senate.

This is so much different from just a year ago!  We were still in the "Dark Times", the time during George W. Bush's first four years as an "appointed President" by the U. S. Supreme Court, then when in 2004 when he actually won an election.  The policies and decisions made during his administration caused a major economic meltdown and the nation is finally starting to come out of it.

During the campaign, the Republician's were screaming about the national debt.  What a bunch of hypocrites!  When President Clinton left office, there was a budget surplus.  Bush's tax cuts for the multi-millionaires and the massive war he started (against his father's advice-President Bush, Sr. adviced not to go to war without an exit strategy in place!) caused the massive deficit.  President Obama had to take drastic measures to fix the mess.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Don't let another year slip by until every American has equal representation in Congress

As another election day comes and goes, I am still saddened to see that not every American has equal representation in Congress.  It is every American's right to vote, but unfortunately, more than 200 years after the American Revolutionary War, the citizens of the District of Columbia still don't have the ability to vote for a representative who can cast votes in Congress.  The citizens of D.C. therefore, do not have representation in government.  Why?  Because fearing that a majority of the citizens of the District of Columbia will favor Democratic Candidates, some drastic Republican's use stall tactics such as former President George W. Bush says that "the District isn't a 'state'!" or they add ridiculous riders about hand gun legislation to the bill to kill it.  Democrats and the majority of the Republican party should stand up and vote to allow the residents of the District the right to vote for representatives in Congress who have full voting privilages.   Check out the DC Vote website to see how you can help!  Every American should have this right!  These American's have been ignored for to long.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Joy of Traveling by car in the United States

Recently, I took a road trip from Florida to Indiana.   Every time I travel along the Interstate in the United States, I think about President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  President Eisenhower "was influenced by his experiences as a young Army officer crossing the country in the 1919 Army Convoy on the Lincoln Highway, the first road across America."1      As President, he "championed (the) formation"1 of the Interstate Highway System, commonly known as the Interstate.  "As of 2006, the system has a total length of 46,876 miles (75,440 km) 2, making it both the largest highway system in the world and the largest public works project in history.3  

Throughout my life, my family and I have used the Interstate for business and pleasure and I  always marvel at the system’s efficiency and ease of use.  Even those who are directionally challenged should find the system easy to use.  Even numbered highways run east and west while odd numbered highways run north and south.  All of the main highways use two digit numbers.  Three digit numbers indicate highways that are supplemental to one of the main highways.  I-465, which circles the city of Indianapolis, is a good example of this.  I taught my grandson Josh about the Interstate system while we were on a trip when he was a young boy.

I love to travel by car and the Interstate Highway System makes it so much easier and enjoyable.  Not only is the system so easy to use, Motels, restaurants, and shopping plazas follow the Interstates making traveling more convenient and relaxing.      

1       Wikiepdia-The Free Encyclopdia,  the "Interstate Highway System".

2      Interstate FAQ (Question #3)". Federal Highway Administration. 2006. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
3      Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. "The Year of the Interstate". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved April 29, 2008.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Building a Mosque near New York's ground Zero

I just can't believe all of the controversy about building a Mosque near ground zero in New York City.  Some people have said that it is okay because it is a few blocks away and that you can't see it from the ground zero site.  I don't think that it should matter!  I think that some people are letting their emotions cloud their judgement.  Maybe we have become accustomed to having the Bill Of Rights being ignored during George W. Bush's time in the White House.  The group has the right to put a Mosque there or anywhere they want.  This is AMERICA!  Some may not like it, but as Americans, we should be celebrating about this!  These are the basic fundamentals that America was founded upon!  The Bill Of Rights is a part of who we are as a country.  Not only that, just image how crazy it would drive those Muslim Extremists if we showed our pride in the Mosque.    Something like this could only happen here, in the good ole U.S.A. 

Forget, blowhard commentators like Bill O'Reilly.  They will do and say anything to get publicity.  They just want more attention and ratings to sell books to line their own pockets.  Any sensible person realizes that you can't blame all of the Moslim people for what the Moslim Extremists do.  You can't blame any race for the stupidity of a few people who are in that race.  Every race, or group for that matter, has it's good people and it's bad people. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let's get started...let me introduce myself.

     Within the past couple of years, I have discovered another aspect of my creative side.  I have always loved photography and writing, but I have found my creativity has grown to include Interior Design and furniture design and building.  HGTV (Home & Garden Television) has been one of my favorite networks on TV and has inspired this evolving part of my creative identity.  Now, I am constantly thinking of new projects around the house.  I am an avid collector of what I like to call Americana, things that are reminiscent of this great country of ours.  Some of the items in my collection include items that bring back fond memories from my childhood and items of historical significance.  I had to design and build the shelving unit to fit in with my current furniture in my den to hold some of my smaller pieces so that I can enjoy them everyday.  What is the fun of having collectibles and not being able to enjoy them if they are stuffed away in boxes?

     There are times when my mind is constantly spinning.  I would like to give some of the credit for this to my Manic side of my Bi-Polar Disorder. The good Lord knows that I do love my Manic moments.  This is when I am usually developing and tweaking ideas for my projects and for things that can make living easier and more enjoyable.  

     I have moments when I am very passionate about the world around me and I want to share my views and ideas with the world.  I guess you could say that I have "gotten on my soapbox" more than a few times.  It is not hard to see that the world and economy is in a sad state right now.  However, without everyone getting involved  and speaking up, nothing will ever change.  It is not only the right, but also the responsibility of every person to get involved and try to help change things for the better.  In the USA, we have a website called "" that helps the citizens of this country keep track of and get in touch with our representatives in all branches and levels of the government.  "I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.", Thomas Jefferson.   President Jefferson also feared that Americans would become disassociated and uninvolved with their government, that he said, "If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves.  It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions."  Now is time for the citizens of the world to rise up and take a stand, to speak up for what is right.  A disillusioned and compliant citizenry is more dangerous than any bomb or weapon that science could ever create.  With that thought, I will say good night and that I hope that you will join me again in the near future.