CHARITIES & AGENDAS!
It is 3AM and I
can't sleep - the medication I have been taken has worn off. I
am astounded by all the e-mails I have received from people all
over the globe. My heart swells with gratitude from the kind
words by people I have never seen - and from some people I have
never corresponded with.
Last Saturday I was
forced to go the hospital. I could not drive there myself, but
instead one of my closest friends - Phoenix chauffer me to
Urgent Care. I had been having medical issues on and off for
about a year and these issues and symptoms had stepped up with
increasing intensity and frequency. Like too many men I chose to
ignore these symptoms instead of doing something about it.
I did not ignore these symptoms for the typical reasons men do.
No, it was for reasons beyond simple machismo. I am like many
men in that I do not like to show weakness - which one could
argue is a form of weakness. Also, I realize it does no good to
dwell on such stuff - worrying never makes an ailment disappear
and certainly, despite the kindly assertions from friends and
loved ones, most people really don't want to hear about the pain
and fear of others.
I hid my illness for what I felt to be practical reasons. What
practical reasons you may ask? It is a fair question, a question
I have asked myself; a question that needed answering. In the
past six months, I lived with the dread that I was developing
Alzheimer's Disease. A disease from which my mother died at the
early age of 62. The disease hit my Mother in her mid forties
and it took her down hard.
Because there are those in the medical community that believe
their is a genetic link... I had reason for concern - though
even identical twins who have the alleged genetic markers for
Alzheimer's can throw some confusion as to who the disease will
chose to strike and who it will spare. One twin may get the
disease and the other will never show any signs of developing
any sort of dementia.
Obviously genetics is not the only factor - otherwise all
identical twins with these genetic markers would get the
disease. Still, knowing all this has not completely wipe away
all of my concerns. Up until the past six months I really have
not given the possibility that I may be at risk much thought.
I am not one to worry about things I have no control over.
Worrying about such stuff does not help and in fact could only
hinder your health. Since there are obviously a whole
constellation of factors and events needed to trigger this
disease, I simply chose to live a healthy lifestyle. Simple
really - eat good, get your sleep, workout, have good social
networks and keep your life stimulating and hang out with people
who fit and follow that criteria.
Years ago, shortly after my mother died, I decided I needed to
develop a strategy in the event that I showed signs of
developing Alzheimer's. Option A and Option B were my back up
plans. With Option A, in the event that I started exhibiting
symptoms to a definitive degree I would increase my frequency of
the dangerous sports I most enjoy - such as scuba diving and sky
diving and I would just let nature takes it's course. The simple
formula of: as cognitive abilities diminished - the greater
likelihood that fatality would occur. Not a bad deal I think...
dying while doing something you enjoy. I even toyed with
other dangerous activities of which I had never engaged in and
have always both intrigued and scared the hell out of me - such
a bull riding, extreme motocross and perhaps even marriage -
though the last choice may be too extreme.
In the event that symptoms of Alzheimer's came on too quickly,
or if perhaps I waited too long for Option A to fulfill its
desired outcome - then Option B would be my back up. Option B is
where I go up beyond the snow line with some rocking music, a
bottle of grain alcohol and grapefruit juice and perhaps I will
try heroin for the first time. Why not? It's not likely I will
develop a pesky addiction.
If I am unable to get to the snow line on my own, I have a few
close friends that love me enough to put me out of my misery -
although I acquired more than a handful people who are anything
but my friends that would be all too glad to take into the
wilderness to expire.