I had to go into the office this weekend to see a longtime patient of mine for an emergency broken tooth. As we exchanged small talk, Lisa shared with me that her sister has early Alzheimer ‘s disease at the age of 63. All small talk went out the window at that point and she told me how her sister has to be put to sleep in order to have dental work done because her jaw will not open and close on command. As we talked, Lisa’s voice quivered and I was blinking back tears as well.
I think we have all had the experience of not finding our car keys or forgetting the name of the restaurant that we visited last week and as such, the idea of our mind being slowly stolen from us is one of the most profoundly scary scenarios imaginable; and not a possibility that is out of the realms of reality. I had another patient 10 years ago named Pat- absolutely the sweetest woman I have ever known. And she started losing her identity…. at the age of 53!!!! Over 26 years I have seen a number of patients start to develop that look in their eyes of confusion mixed with sweetness that is uniquely identifiable as the early signs of Alzheimer’s.
At the end of the appointment, after I repaired Lisa’s tooth, she spoke proudly of her participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Saturday October 29th at Oregon Ridge. Her goal is to raise $4,000. and she is just about halfway there. It occurred to me that maybe I could help, in my own way, by spreading the word and encouraging small contributions from patients and colleagues. So here it goes:
If it’s at all possible, please send whatever amount is appropriate for you to my office and I will forward it to Lisa to help her make her goal and help her make a real contribution towards understanding and ultimately taming this horrific disease. Make the checks payable to “Alzheimer’s Association” and mail it to my office-
10751 Falls Road Suite 435
Lutherville, MD 21093
Lisa and I thank you very very much!!!