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Thread: Dementia

  1. #1
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Dementia

    My neighbor Don Q told me yesterday he has Alzheimers. A friendly, overweight, well-read, old guy who holds court - so to speak - in his dark, little store nextdoor. It's a hardware store but he rarely sells anything. Little wonder. What can be seen looks more like a collection of junk than new stuff. He has the odd screw, hook or light bulb - you just have to ask. Few people go there. When I occasionally step in I usually find another old man comfortably seated behind the dark, glass counter amid the clutter around Don Q's desk. My presence seems to halt conversation, either that or I happen in during one of those lengthy pauses of a truly casual interchange, where silence and thought are as valued as talk. For the past year he and I would usually talk about Trump. Before & when elected Trump stirred up panic in some Latin Americans, but they're accustomed to political bombast. Long silences helped me phrase my replies to his questions

    Don Q and I had a deal going - not unusually for Nicaragua where neighbors help each other. I pay for cable and let them splice in, and he gave me the password to his wifi subscription. But his wifi signal went dead a couple months ago. I wanted to ask him about it, but his shop was always closed. When I finally found it open, he was there with his 25 year old son of the same name. Before I could ask him about our deal he told me about the Alzheimers. I said no more. My wife later told me that she heard that he, going outside for a walk, got lost a couple times - in a neighborhood he's lived in for 60+ years.

    His son nearly died from methanol poisoning several years ago. Some 45 people in Leon and Poneloya did die from it. Perhaps you read about the incident - it made international news. A tanker truck driver hauling pure methanol (methyl alcohol, wood alcohol) from Corinto to a plastics processing plant on the other side of Managua took a small side trip into Chichigalpa (not far from Pellas' Flor de Cana plant). There he and cohorts pulled off some 500 gallons to be used to dilute guaro (the cheap, very popular white-lightening rum served from a drum (bring your own bottle) with a ladle). Undoubtably, reading the shipping manifest, they mistook the liquid for ethanol = ethyl alcohol, commonly called simply 'alcohol', and calculated pure profit from a theft that would never be noticed. A fatal mistake.

    Don Q's son is now a half-wit. He's a handsome young man but clearly with some permanent brain damage. His wife left him within the year after the poisoning, but his mother insisted that their daughters stay behind. His ability to function has improved with time, but always, when I see him on the street, he's drunk, near staggering, but walking about.

    And though they were both smiling at their fates - the father losing his mind, the son enjoying what's left of his - when we met, with that smile of reluctant acceptance that says, "What else can a poor soul do?", it was all rather sad, seeing my neighbors faced with such misfortune.

    Don Q's brother owns a big, modern-looking and continually expanding hardware store just two blocks away. The brother's name is in huge block letters over the store front - one of the largest signs in Leon. Don Q's sign is a simple, small "Ferreteria" shingle. Their father was evidently one of Leon's richer patrons, both were well-educated. The contrasting fortune and misfortune of the two brothers reminds me of some Old Testament story, the sort that always left me wondering what's God got to do with it.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  2. #2
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dementia

    Great slice of life!

  3. #3
    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dementia

    Reminds me of my late mil and her pulperia. Although it was a money maker by barrio standards, it was more a psychological addiction. Long hours, rather cramped and dark. Once she got pushed around and robbed a day after she got out of the hospital for her chronic problems. We chipped in for a security gate but often as not she left it open. Her son abroad felt it was better to close the pulperia so his mother could get some rest, but didn't push it because it seemed to be her reason for living. After her death her granddaughter ran it for a few years, even though a smaller one opened up about 4 doors down. Such is the nothing economy of Esteli. When the granddaughter got sick some relatives kept it open part time but the customers went over to the other pulperia. When she came back it was not worth running so finally she closed it and got free from her dungeon. Now her and her degree in business admin are baking cookies in her uncle's house. Sad thing, though, I don't think shes on the way to be a Famous Amos.

    Reminds me of a guy in a factory where I worked in the 70s. He would come in 30 minutes early every day to turn on the lights. He was the running joke, every once in a while somebody would tell him the factory would have to close when he died because there would be nobody to turn on the lights. Don't know what happened to him when the plant closed. He was probably in line with the other 3000 of us at Unemployment but I never saw him.

    This getting old crap is not all it is cracked up to be...

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


  4. #4
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dementia

    Quote Originally Posted by el duende grande View Post
    This getting old crap is not all it is cracked up to be...
    Let us ponder the alternative . . . in silence.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  5. #5
    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dementia

    Life is a crap shoot, you never know how you are going to check out.I had 2 uncles die in their sleep of sudden death heart attacks and one die in a 7 month long stay in the Medicaide Gulag in L. A.

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


  6. #6
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dementia

    There is one certainty in life and that is that you will die. My G-mom "died in her sleep" of heart failure. Back then they said her heart "exploded". It was probably congestive heart failure, which is gradual deterioration & enlargement of the entire heart muscle which some doctors speculate is viral, but is certainly related to diet (hint: eat less 'carne en baho'). Medical lexicography covers up doctors' ignorance with verbage, allowing them to continue making good money. Astro-physicists, at least, use simpler words to cover the huge breadth of their ignorance: dark matter & dark energy. Science is today's sacred cow.

    My Mom died in a teaching hospital (U Penn), in intensive care for more than a month, entubated and hooked to various machines. Her doctor botched her heart operation. But she actually died of MRSA (staph aureus) that she picked up in their 'care'. She was insured to the max, which, as it turned out, was their license to learn. End of life bills were over a million dollars - all covered. Little good it did her. Her end of life experience - if you will - was modern medical torture.

    Dad died 10 years earlier. He'd had a heart valve replaced with a mechanical one. When I put my ear to his chest I could hear it tick. It required he take blood thinner and that exposed his lung cancer. He was a pack-a-day smoking Navy man. Removing the bad lobe from one lung gave him 10 more years, at which point his innards were riddled with cancer. His doctor was unusually wise & caring. She told him an operation, followed by chemo & radiation treatments would probably not be able to get it all - and he'd be miserable. Or he could ride it out, maybe have a year+, but would suffer at the very end. He elected to go down with it. A year and a half later he died in the sunshine and the woods of a campsite in SC. We were with him. My parents, snowbirds were heading south in their Airstream to their winter haven in Melbourne, FL. No hospital room full of strangers probing, pushing family aside. Living life to the end.

    A hospital is a convenient corporate structure for its office spaces, central control and billing. However, it's a building where the sickest people in the community, often with infectious diseases, are concentrated. Little wonder that more people die in hospitals of something different than what they were brought in for. Read the epidemiology reports.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  7. #7
    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dementia

    My family has always had few old people, so I was new to it all until the death of my uncle 2 years ago. Some of the things I learned was have all the paperwork done before you go into a down spin--will (better yet living trust and will), medical POA, authorization for cremation, living will etc. This goes triple if the nearest of kin is not a spouse or a child. Another I learned is it is the infections that kill you. Every day you spend in a hospital lessens your chance of ever getting out alive.

    Another thing, along with having a medical directive in writing, is to have the luck of having a clearly defined diagnosis of something terminal. Being sick with multiple problems drags it on forever. When he was evaluated for hospice care they concluded he had no diagnosed terminal illness!

    And, yes, it is a finely tuned money machine. Medicare/Medical pays it all and doctors are tight-lipped for fear of being sued. Plus US doctors do not work for the patient--they work for the HMO or Medicare.

    Congestive heart failure is very much effected by heredity and lifestyle --exercise, diet, chronic stress. It is tied to kidney failure and once it progresses every treatment for one segment of the problem can damage the other. Throw in a thyroid condition and an assorted cancer and you are toast on the installment plan. To add insult to injury, it is creepier still to look up you family on Ancestry.com and get a message the says "You family has a low life expectancy".

    My wife has instructions that if I die in Nic to bury me the next day in a plain wooden box with my face down so the whole world can kiss my butt!

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


  8. #8
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dementia

    Absolutely everything in the above post is 100% accurate and correct. The most efficient and ultimately the most humane exit (for all) is a self administered overdose or bullet. For a number of reasons, these may not be available when you really want them. Plan accordingly.
    Get the paperwork in order.......Now!



    Quote Originally Posted by el duende grande View Post
    My family has always had few old people, so I was new to it all until the death of my uncle 2 years ago. Some of the things I learned was have all the paperwork done before you go into a down spin--will (better yet living trust and will), medical POA, authorization for cremation, living will etc. This goes triple if the nearest of kin is not a spouse or a child. Another I learned is it is the infections that kill you. Every day you spend in a hospital lessens your chance of ever getting out alive.

    Another thing, along with having a medical directive in writing, is to have the luck of having a clearly defined diagnosis of something terminal. Being sick with multiple problems drags it on forever. When he was evaluated for hospice care they concluded he had no diagnosed terminal illness!

    And, yes, it is a finely tuned money machine. Medicare/Medical pays it all and doctors are tight-lipped for fear of being sued. Plus US doctors do not work for the patient--they work for the HMO or Medicare.

    Congestive heart failure is very much effected by heredity and lifestyle --exercise, diet, chronic stress. It is tied to kidney failure and once it progresses every treatment for one segment of the problem can damage the other. Throw in a thyroid condition and an assorted cancer and you are toast on the installment plan. To add insult to injury, it is creepier still to look up you family on Ancestry.com and get a message the says "You family has a low life expectancy".

    My wife has instructions that if I die in Nic to bury me the next day in a plain wooden box with my face down so the whole world can kiss my butt!
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  9. #9
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dementia

    "Modern" medicine may one day be exposed as the biggest scam in history.

  10. #10
    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dementia

    like statin drugs,,,

    latest thing is vitamin d3 deficiency--in the low desert!
    Give 'em d3 pills, till they read d3 doesn't work without k2 pills
    But sitting in the sun at noon for 10 minutes everyday might work better.

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


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