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He doesn’t know me. Alzheimer's

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posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 05:48 AM
Please have patience a sec here. You’re listening to a heart breaking.

I went for my walk to the Supermarket to get my daily bread, newspaper - and in walking back saw my *Maestro*.
My dance instructor and dance partner of almost 10 years.

He taught me how to hold myself like a lady. To curtsy properly. To cock my chin ‘to the moon’, tip my head back when I danced, and to smile in a way that made people think I was 'Something else'. He taught me to tango.

He’s the Fred Astaire of the town I live in and I can’t even begin to tell you of the joy I’ve experienced knowing this man, a decade long little flirtation between he and I, (he’s old enough to be my grandfather), but the deep respect and undying patience and love we’ve shared crossing the bounds of age, nationality and culture.

But we did it - for the dance.

At times I felt like I owned the world because I did a dance step - just so.

Other times I fell under complete humiliation when we fought, right there on the dance floor in front of hundreds of tourists when he’d stop, force me into the correct position and yell ‘Again!’...

But he always gave, and gave more, including a respectful affection and patience I’ve had missing in my life since my grandfather died.

So, I passed him on the street and said, ‘Oh Gioia, (‘Joy’ - a term of affection)...’ And bent to kiss him on either cheek.

He didn’t respond with his usual bow and wink, he just looked at me and puckered his brow.

“Oh Placido, it’s hot today yes?” I said, fanning myself and thinking the strange look in his eye might be because he was hot.

Then I noticed his shirt was open, his beard rough, his hat perched cockeyed on his head.

My Maestro is a ‘bella-figura’ not an old man with his shirt gaping open and a three days beard!

I asked him again, how he was?

“When did you get here?” He said with confusion in his eyes, “How long will you stay this time.” He shook his head...

He didn’t know me.

I tried again, and said, “Placido, Maestro, it’s me, Gracie, you know, Ginger?“ (Yes we were teased about this)...

Nothing from him, no reaction, no flicker of recognition...

I finally walked away, the tears blinding my steps.

He doesn’t drink. He wasn’t drunk. He looked so disheveled and lost.

The lady at the fruit and vegetable shop two doors down took my arm as I walked by.

‘He’s got the Alzheimer's Gracie...The Alzheimer's’. She said in a knowing way and nodded before broke into a run to get home.

Alzheimer's??? But he didn’t have it last Monday!!!

He knew me last Monday.


Yes I’m a writer here on ATS, and this is the only way I know how to put this incident into words...

I just can’t even breath...

The Alzheimer's.

Does it really hit this hard and fast?

What do families do? What do loved ones do?

It’s like he’s dead - but his body forgot and left him here behind...


[edit on 21-8-2009 by silo13]

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 07:35 AM
I watched my Grandfather slowly forget who he was. It is possibly the saddest thing to watch. It would almost be better if they just died, rather than exist with no purpose. He would have moments of clarity and when he did, he would cry and apologize for what he was doing, then he would go right back to a blank stare. There is some promising reaserch going on, but I fear it is a long way from being a cure. I am sorry for your situation.


posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 07:55 AM
A very sad story, but can i ask a question? Is it definately Alzheimers?

I ask because you say he was fine last Monday, and you would know if he was ok due to the long relationship you both shared.

I know the lady in the shop said he has Alzheimers, but how does she know? I live in a largely elderly area and as soon as one of them becomes forgetfull or something like that, everyone says it's Alzheimers.

However....a few years ago my dad who was a very fit and healthy working 60 yr old, went downhill badly within a few weeks. Everything about him said "Alzheimers".

Eventualy he was found to have a brain tumour which was pressing on parts of his brain and gave him all the symptoms you describe and more.

An eye examination confirmed he had something wrong in there (presure build up), and a brain scan confirmed the tumour.

He was rushed into hospital, had an op and was fine....back to normal.

So i'm glad it wasn't decided that he just had Alzheimers and we'd have left him to it. He'd be dead now.

What i think i'm trying to say is, does your friend have family or a doctor you can speak to? It might not be Alzheimers and could be something that could be sorted out.

Good luck anyway,


posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 08:00 AM
I'm sorry for your grief and sadness regarding your old friend and mentor. It must be difficult and shocking for you.

My father was in ICU last spring, hooked up to all kinds of machines and intravenous drips and tubes everywhere. After about 3 days he began displaying alheimer's like symptoms. The nurses said it happens alot to people in the critical care unit.

I think its the medication overload that causes it. Maybe Maestro is taking some very strong medications that cause his symptoms you saw that day.

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 09:04 AM

Originally posted by CX
A very sad story, but can i ask a question? Is it definately Alzheimers?

I ask because you say he was fine last Monday, and you would know if he was ok due to the long relationship you both shared.

Alzheimers is a very cruel disease, it comes and goes, especially in the early stages. My Nan began developing symptoms when I was about 16 and she didn't die until I was 31, it was initially a slow process, little changes in behaviour and awareness. Forgetting words or even basic stuff like what a knife and fork are, then places and finally people. It could make her aggressive, behave completely inappropriately. By the end, she was out of it most of the time, but even then, quite suddenly she would come back for a moment. She'd look at you and you knew she was there again and recognised you. In a way it made it harder.

Very cruel, for all concerned.

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 11:11 AM
I'll try to come back and answer these posts asap.
My computer is crashing.
Thank you for the notes of comfort and encouragement.
Sorry for the spelling I can't even get into my world processor.
I can't believe this.
thank you all

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 11:22 AM
Alzheimer's a cruel, twisted disease. I don't know how often you see him, but in my experience, the time frame you mentioned is entirely plausible. He also could recognize you if you pass him tomorrow, and not have any recollection of this encounter.

Actually, in all seriousness as well, I wouldn't discount the brain tumor either. My uncle was diagnosed, slid downhill virtually overnight to an Alzheimer-like state, to passing within several weeks.

No matter what the case, I wish you and your Maestro strength to deal with whatever is coming.

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 11:44 AM
I am so sorry.

Some years ago I lost a dear aunt to it. I saw her so often growing up, knew her all my life. Once she had a moment of semi-clarity and I think she tried to tell me what it was like. She tried to appologize for having it too. It was so sad. It was like she knew in a way.

I've not shared this before but will now. She lived her life on a farm. Her education was limited. I will try to recount it just as she told it to me...

"Honey - I'm sorry. I didn't mean th' get this ol' stuff. Ah don't know how it got in me 'n I don't see no way o' gettin' it outta me."

"It it jess gets in ya. In ya head. N' once its in thar it goes ah' round n' round' n' round'."

"It comes up on ya 'n in ya. N' it twists n' turns 'n mixs everthing all up."

"It tricks ya. It makes things what ain't are n' things what are ain't. It comes round and gets twixt ya 'n everything else till its all thar is. I don't wanna - this ol' stuff just comes around...."

I patted her hand and told her it was ok. Then I left the room and cried my eyes out..

When I came back into the room she thought I was her brother - and was telling me to get the cows out of the room because they were eating the corn.

I do understand - and I am sorry.

peace to you..and to him.

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 04:02 PM

Originally posted by Frogs
When I came back into the room she thought I was her brother - and was telling me to get the cows out of the room because they were eating the corn.

My Nan was like this too, couldn't tell people apart. Or I'd be sitting right next to her and she's ask where I was. TV became a mystery to her, everything, including the news, she'd say was a repeat. It was like divisions on all levels became blurred. Money was a big thing too, she seemed to lose all concept of monetary values, £20 could be 20p. After she went into a care home, I went and cleared her house out, I found packets of cigarettes everywhere, hidden, there were tens of the things. It was as though she smoked a couple and then hid the packets, which made me think that she thought her husband was still alive, though he'd been dead eight years, because he hated her smoking, so she hid them, then forgot where they were. She forgot my grand-dad ever existed, only ever talked about her second husband, that upset my Mum and she couldn't visit her after that.

The oddest thing that I found, is that she looked different, when my Nan was lucid, towards the end, she'd come back for five or so minutes, and I'd recognise her immediately. When she was gone, you could look into her eyes and there was nothing there, nothing behind it at all. I wondered where she went to inbetween and whether she fought to come back for those few minutes. It was a relief in so many ways when she finally died, she and the rest of us were put out of our misery. If she'd been out of it permanently it wouldn't have been so bad, but it the awareness of the disease that is so cruel.

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 08:21 PM
If it's between one week and the next, it's not Alzheimer's.

He needs someone to get him to a doctor NOW.

He could have had a stroke, he could have gotten bad medication, he could have stopped taking his medication because he's poor. Grief can cause people to go downhill like that... so can a concussion.

See if you can get someone to take him to a doctor.

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 08:39 PM
My mom is going through some of this and basically has her good days and her bad days. If you saw him every day, or someone close to him, you would know better. It does sound like someone isn't watching him though.

Years ago, my mom also had a listeria bacterial infection that went into her brain. My father died of brain cancer 2 years ago and just before his surgery, he seemed like a totally different person. After the surgery, he progressed to almost as good as he was long before the sugery. Than he went downhill, but still wasn't as bad as he had been before the surgery. Too bad you don't know who should be taking care of him. I would find out myself.

posted on Aug, 22 2009 @ 01:11 AM
Ok, as I said before I had a major computer problem on my new computer (first new one in ten years) and am now back on my old one.

First I want to thank everyone who’s contributed to this thread.

I’ve read all your posts and I’m just heartsick.

I wish I’d had tons of time to go through the internet and learn more about this horrific disease, but again, I blame that on the computer fail and not my lack of want.

I only see him on Monday nights - and we don’t do a lot of socializing. We’re there to dance, and, though it’s mildly flirtatious that in itself is part of the allure when we dance. Anyway, we don’t do a lot of talking, so I’ve not seen any difference in him, if this in fact is the type of Alzheimer's that craps up slowly.

His feet have not forgotten that’s for sure. He’s as fluid and professional as ever when he’s on the floor.

So, I talked to one of the people who know his family. (No I can’t talk to his family - many reasons why and none I can go into here).

She said they’ve all noticed a difference but it’s ‘The Alzheimer's” and that isn’t something a going-on-elderly man would go to the hospital for.

It’s a part of the fatalistic view (I find is prevalent here) - if you’ve gotten old enough to have medical problems you’re lucky you’re not already dead.

In other words it takes a LOT for people here to go to the hospital and forgetting someone doesn’t merit further medical investigation. Nor it seems does his confusion, radical change in his dress, grooming, etc. Grrr...

So, we’ll see what happens this Monday night.

Thank you again everyone and peace to all of you who know the pain of Alzheimer's.

posted on Aug, 22 2009 @ 01:17 AM
reply to post by Byrd

If it's between one week and the next, it's not Alzheimer's.

He could have had a stroke.

See if you can get someone to take him to a doctor.

That’s exactly what I first thought, that he had a stroke.
But, I saw no paralysis of any kind, no slurring of speech - nothing to indicative of a stroke (other than confusion).

But just because I don’t see an outward sign of a stroke doesn’t mean he didn’t have one, that’s for sure.

So, the family, like I said in my last post, has noticed a difference in his memory.

What disturbs me so much is their letting him out of the house groomed like a sick dog.

I know that shouldn't matter, but, when you know this man you know he’d rather die than have anyone see him as anything but the perfectly cut gentleman, suave, debonair, etc.
It breaks my heart he’s let run around looking like a stereotypical bum.

I’ll see what happens Monday night.
If he’s still “off” I’ll force myself to go to his family and force them to see me.
(Gawd wont that be a trip)...

He needs to be seen, I agree wholeheartedly...
I hope the family will agree.

Thank you.

posted on Aug, 22 2009 @ 02:00 AM
Sorry and my deepest sympathys Gracie....
I t is a rough sickenss. My grandfather had alzeihmers, before he died. Back in 1989, i was 14, he was about 85?86. He was living with us, and my grandmother as well. Before they moved in with us, one day, my grandfther was taken to the hospitol. Apparently he had gone out at around 6 30 am, in his bathrobe, and passed out in the middle of a street! A driver had stopped, and claled for an ambulance, thank god. He was ok, had a little blood running down his head, nothing serious. Turns out he had alzhienrs, and for whtever reason, went out to walk with his bathrobe on, at 6 30 am..msot of which he didint remember doing.
As they moved in, he owuld jsut sit on his favorite rocking chair, seeming to know us, over the next 4 months or so. Then, one morning, he was shaking, and looked like he was starring off into oblivion, like something that was their we couldnt see taht scared him. He had complettely forgotten who we were.. HE died a year later. During his last 6+ months, he had no idea who we were.
My grandmother, passed in 1998. She was 87. IN her last month, she was slipping fast everyday, mentally. I cant say it was alzhiemrs related, but her eeys got red and runny, she went senile. One day, my mom locked herself in the bathroom, becuae my grandmother went after her with a knife. At nightt, when i was cleaning in kitchen, she would come out with a cane, whipping it hard, thrash like side to side, in a semi evil voice, reciting little girl sayings, xmaas charols, while 'drooling'. she would often come itno ktichen, asking who i was, what i was doing here in the house..and to have to tll her, grandma its me yuor grandson..wa heartbreaking, let alone having to watch my back for a kife attack ro soemthing.
Within a month, on her final night here...she was in her room, we had to use a sweater to strap her into a chair, because she was actually throwing punches at us! she was starring at her bed, and tlaking to her first husband, who passed in 1975, just after i was born. While she talked to hijm, it was the clearest most sens of words she ever made coming out of her mouth, since she had started going senile. She swore he was their sitting on the bed, waiting to take her to the other side. That night, we rushed her to hospitol, and on way, her last breath to my father, was make sure yuo take care of the kids bob..let the breath out and died.
What i have learned is, mental diseases of this natire come and kill quick. BUt i find it , weird i guess, that through all the insanity one can literally alsh out, not being thier fault, at the last breath of air..sanity kicks back in.

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