As we get older, we appreciate our health, each other and each day that we are active and healthy.
For if you have ever known of someone with an deteriorating disease, you know it’s not always easy to deal with or watch. As in this story:
It was a busy morning, about 8:30 a.m., when an elderly gentleman in his 80s 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 a.m.
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 talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.
While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman 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 an Alzheimer’s disease patient. As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he 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.”
If that didn’t make tears come to your eyes or make you cry, I don’t know what will. Be grateful. Say your prayers. You are fortunate if you don’t have a loved one who is or has gone through Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 5 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate that the disorder may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people.
Remember…each day is a gift. Treat it like one and treat the people in each day as very special gifts that are given to you.