Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Alzheimer's Disease and our need to make things pretty

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retired from the bench last year in order to care for her husband who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. An article in today's USA Today
informs us (in glowing terms, no less) that Mr. O'Connor has forgotten his wife and has "fallen in love" with another resident of the care facility at which he resides. The O'Connor's son tells us how much his mother enjoys visiting his happy father and watching him hold hands with his girlfriend with whom he rocks on a porch swing.

I just find it to be heart wrenchingly sad that after decades of marriage a wife has to see that. AD is indeed one of the most tragic of diseases, and there is no prettying it up, no "making nice." And why do we need to? Why do we need to put on a perky "everybody's happy" face about something so obviously absurd and just plain lamentable?