Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s Disease

When It’s Not Funny

Let me start by saying that my sense of humor has few limitations. I think we can, and should find laughter wherever possible. Life can be too serious so I allow people to joke about a wide range of topics and I usually don’t care about political correctness. I think laughing at ourselves is a good thing and helps us really appreciate and understand humor, which in turn makes our lives more fun.
But I have limitations. I don’t think there’s anything funny about tragedy or sickness. While I understand the healing power of laughter and how humor helps us cope with our illnesses, that’s a personal choice between those who are ill and anyone they care to share it with.

So when I read today that Will Farrell is going to star in a black comedy about Ronald Reagan’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, beginning with his last term in office, I was more than a little upset. Apparently, the premise of the movie is about an intern who has to convince Reagan that he’s an actor playing the President Of The United States.

Alzheimer’s disease is not funny. Dementia is not a punchline.

This isn’t a political statement. It doesn’t matter what political party you favor or whether you loved Reagan or hated him as President. The man was a human being with a family who watched him battle this dreaded disease for many years. A family he loved but could no longer remember.

I suppose I should expect noting less from Hollywood but this seems to take meanness to a new level. Of course this is America so I respect their right to freely create whatever type of entertainment they feel will make them their share of shock dollars.
I can state the obvious and ask whether these people would make a comedy movie about their own fathers battle with Alzheimer’s, but I think we know the answer to that question.

Five and a half million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s. MIllions more love and care for these individuals who were once as active and productive as the rest of us.

Alzheimer’s disease is not funny. I don’t know why that’s so difficult to understand.

What The Heart Knows

One of my daughters sent this to me the other day. I thought I’d share it with you.

imagesIt was a busy morning, about 8:30 when an elderly gentleman arrived at the hospital to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00am. The nurse took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I spoke with one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress the wound. While taking care of him, I asked if he had another appointment that morning, as he was in a hurry. The gentlemen told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. As we talked, I asked him if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who she was; that she had not recognized him in five years now. I was surprised and asked him, ‘and you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are’?
He smiled as he patted my hand and said, ‘She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.’