July 5, 2000


Yesterday, Dad and I brought Stepmom for a scheduled visit to the Memory Clinic. The purpose was to discuss a change in her medication. She has been on "aricept" for almost a year and it doesn't seem to have had an effect (unless she'd be worse without it.. impossible to tell.)

She did even more poorly on the memory tests this time than she did in April, the last time she was there and the only other time I accompanied her. It's not only short-term memory; she couldn't answer general knowledge questions from ten, twenty or forty years ago, either.

Is it Alzheimer's? They can't tell for sure but they think it's a combination of "mini-strokes" and Alzheimer's. The medication should have helped, though, and it clearly hasn't. They're going to start her on the newest drug, "exelon", and reassess her in three months.

They also asked Dad and me about her living situation, and if they were coping. They are.. for now.

I often ask Dad if taking care of her is "too much" and he always says it's fine and that she's a "good kid". She still can manage her physical needs and he manages everything else. She still responds to his teasing and she relates to him the same way.. so far.

I've realized that it's vital to his well-being that he feel needed.. and he certainly is needed.. but I'd have preferred to see him relaxing on the beach in Bora-Bora, being fanned by young beautful women and hand-fed island delicacies. (One of his favourite fantasies, and where he threatens to go if we annoy him!)

I know it's not about what I'd prefer. I'm trying hard to remember the sixteen years that Stepmom took care of my father (despite his charm, not an easy person to live with) that she is a good person and that without her need for him he might not have been able to pull through the last few months. Still, it's clear that more difficult times lie ahead.

One lighter moment during the clinic visit: a graduate student was present (the clinic is in a university teaching hospital) and during a lull when the doctor left the room I chatted with her. She mentioned that she only arrived in Montreal two days ago, from Toronto. Of course I had to mention the MOOSE.

She sighed, perhaps a bit surprised that we'd heard about it here. I proceeded to tell her all I knew about the moose, and when I got to the part about similar displays in other cities including Chicago, Edmonton, Cinncinnati and "somewhere in Switzerland", I suddenly got the feeling she was looking at me strangely. I smiled weakly and shut up. I think she was wondering if I shouldn't be the patient in that room.

Addendum to my list of July 1 celebrations:

Territory Day in the Northern Territory of Australia, celebrating self-government, which they achieved in 1978; previously the territory was administered by the Federal Government in Canberra.

I'm told (by a reader in Alice Springs.. imagine having a reader in Alice Springs, Australia - I looked it up on the map and it's smack dab in the middle of the country where nothing but kangaroos oughta be.. but not only do people live there but they also have internet access.. way to go! It also made me realize just how woefully inadequate is my knowledge of Australia.. and most other countries.. you'd think five years online would have improved that a bit but nooooooo..)

...uh, that fireworks are very big in that celebration, and they must be.. while trying to look up more information, I found this study of fireworks-related injuries.

Linque Du Jour:   World's Largest Roadside Attractions

Something from almost every United State, many Canadian provinces, and even elsewhere! Be sure not to miss:

World's Largest Merino Sheep, Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia

World's Largest Container of Yoghurt, between Dubai and Ras al-Khayma, United Arab Emirates

World's Largest Catsup Bottle, Collinsville, Illinois

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