Thursday, April 30, 2015

Learned some new things about Alzheimers--

I did not know that some have hallucinations--
for e.g. said on the phone--
"I am in Paris today" ( I made up this conversation)
"We went to Pere Lachaise Cemetery to see the graves of all the famous people. Tomorrow, we will leave from Gare St Lazare."
I asked if the details, such as travel itineraries, in these were correct.
"No, they are sometimes off."
"And before this, had she been to all these places."
"Oh yes. She was an anthropologist."
I also learned what "mixing nouns" means.
Someone could be holding a book and say, "I did not drink your coffee."
In one recent NYTS article, the mother invented a boyfriend for one of the aunts, "Mr.Perfect," with a name and profession and everything.
And the family would go along with it as it is easier to go along than to try and explain to a person with dementia that such a person does not exist.
So they'd talk abt --
but when the Alz patient knew she was about to die, she killed off Mr. Perfect.
Some hallucinations could take the form--
"I killed all these children. There was a lot of blood, and the police arrested me."
It has, what one would call, the logic of fiction, that she still knew she would be arrested if she committed a crime.
In one or two cases I have heard of, the granny saved up rags and made dolls which she played with and gave names.
In the novel Middlesex, the woman who married her biological brother learned that her husband/brother was losing his memory progressively from the most recent backwards.
So she was concerned he'd retrogress to the stage where he would remember the incest.
But people just thought he was crazy and making things up.
That novel, by Jeffrey Eugenides, "explains" so beautifully how incest would be possible say in a very isolated village in wartime, and how generations of intermarriage might produce a hermaphrodite.
I find the novel with it's geographic setting, in Smyrna, Greece, very intriguing.
After all, the medical facts would take only 2 lines to describe clinically, but it all seems plausible as the political events and the migration to a new world, with an erased old world (personal) history, is so well done.
Why we need fiction/A Time to Write.

Photo--Old wall in Chiangmai with holes--KMKaung

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