Back In Black

      2 Comments on Back In Black

We are back in Chicagoland, landing at Lady Catherine’s Castle Black.


Castle Black

It’s said that “nothing changes around here…everything stays much the same.” That is pretty true, but we feel the hole that Carlos isn’t around. Last year we were here so long to accommodate his aging-self, his absence is noticeable. Luckily we had a chance to take care of this little girl for a few days:

dachsund in grass

Short-stuff, Kelsey

Nothing like getting our “dog fix” while traveling. Puppy kisses always welcomed here!

But Change is Inevitable

There is a certain level of comfort returning to “same ole, same ole.” But the reality is, everything changes. The one thing you can count on is change. This week I’d like to share the story of Maribel.

grandma & baby

Maribel meeting her new granddaughter

Maribel is living with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. How’s that for a slap-in-the-face change!? She is 53 years old.

At the height of her career she was a Global Human Resource Management professional. Multilingual, strong-willed, she travelled everywhere and was a valuable asset to her company. Two years ago her husband’s employer moved them to Illinois. She found it difficult to find a job in the industry she mastered. Soon after, her husband of 20+ years moved out, eventually asking for a divorce. He had seen little signs that Maribel was different, and was aware of the familial history of this disease.

People Need People

Maribel is neighbor and tenant. And though Catherine can be abrasive, a know-it-all, and a self-proclaimed buttinsky, I’ve seen her cover delinquent water bills for a struggling neighbor. I’ve seen her spend long days at business presenterconventions then gather up the leftover food, make sandwiches, bag ’em, and in the late hours, walk the streets of San Francisco to pass the meals to less fortunate. I’ve called her crazy.

She has profound compassion for Maribel. She attends doctor appointments, meets attorneys, completes disability paperwork, talks with insurance companies, arrange driving tests, eye appointments, etc. To confirm all basis are covered, she arranged for a 2nd professional opinion. I was able to attend that appointment. I’m fascinated by the brain, and how it works. Or, maybe I should say, how it doesn’t work.two smiling ladies

Alzheimers Assessment

Related image

The practitioner listed 5 random words: VELVET, DAISY, FACE, RED and CHURCH. Then asked “us” to retain them. She would ask in 5 minutes if “we” could recall these words. It’s more difficult than you think! Let’s see how you do – I’ll ask you to recall them at the end of this post.

A few other tests were: counting backwards by sevens from 100, drawing a clock and then the arms at a specified time, drawing a 3D cube, and she had to identify pictures such as these: How would you do?

  1.      Image result for protractor drawing in black and white
  1.       Image result for compass drawing in black and white
  2.      Image result for yoke drawing in black and white
  3.      Image result for tongs drawing in black and white
  4.      Image result for black and white noose drawing

Maribel knew how these items were used, but came up blank for the word. Heck, I couldn’t come up with number 3!

Three hours later we were able to conclude we are doing everything conventional to help Maribel. Did you know there are only two medications (FDA approved) available to Alzheimer’s patients? They don’t cure it, and don’t stop it from progressing. The medicines are used to help lessen symptoms, such as memory loss and confusion, and only for a limited time.

Maribel’s one wish is that she can participate in clinical trial(s). Anything she can do to help future generations would help her accept the sentence she’s been delivered.

Reminder to all: Seize the Moment

two smiling ladiesYou don’t know what cards you’ll be dealt. Change is inevitable. I may welcome this reminder, but I despise the cost. If you’ve made it this far – thank you. I have only two more things:

  1. what were the words I asked you to recall? and;
  2. what can you do this week to show gratitude for the “good cards” you have been dealt?
Love hearing from you all!

About Hali

Just a travel junkie trying to find my voice in the blogosphere. I enjoy sharing my photography and fast facts I learn in the places I travel through.

2 thoughts on “Back In Black

  1. Sheryl Chapman

    Daisy, Face, Velvet, Red and Church. I visualize the face of a red daisy in front of a church. There are some interesting techniques for memorizing, like imagining a scene where those items appear. Also with peoples names, I sometimes ask their last name so I can associate the first and last together. Sometimes I’ll rhyme their name with something visual like Sherry with cherry or associate Sherry with the wine.

    Scot’s mom suffered terribly with Alzheimer’s, we tried to make her as comfortable as possible but the symptoms overwhelmed her. She was in her 80’s, I can’t imagine going though it in your 50’s. I remember going to the doctor’s with her to do that test and how sad it was when she failed. After my dad’s stroke I took him to the doctor for that test, he couldn’t follow simple directions and they took his license away.

    Grateful for every day, it’s a luck of the draw for sure. Praying for your friend.

    Love, Sheryl

    1. Hali Post author

      Thank you Sheryl. I sort of do/did the same thing: a RED VELVET DAISY FACEing a CHURCH. It’s a rough one and will share your positive energy with Maribel!


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