Friday, February 4, 2011


"Dementia is all about decline, not growth, and whether living inside it...or being a companion to it, as I am, it's nearly impossible to make sense of it. If anything in this life can puncture the fantasy that we have some control over our lives, dementia may be the ultimate reminder, not just of its unpredictability but of its incomprehensibility. And its absurdity."

--Lillian Rubin

My sister and one of the caregivers took my dad to a new doctor last week. He turned out to be excellent, just the kind of doctor we expected when we went to his previous doctor over a year ago. This new one asked Dad a lot of questions and had a great rapport with my sister. After the session with my dad, my sister met alone with the doctor. As we basically already knew, the doctor said Dad was somewhere between a moderate and severe stage of dementia, probably Alzheimers. It's been a challenging few years. I was late to the realization of what was actually happening. The biggest "tell" was certainly his loss of interest in reading. A life-long reader, mainly non-fiction but also some Sherlock Holmes, Edgar Allan Poe and Moby Dick, for almost 80 years he always had a coupla books going, mainly scientific or mountain climbing in nature. Yeah, a member of the "greatest generation" - he was a communications officer in the Big War, flying in a B-24, maybe up to a dozen missions or so in the Pacific before his plane had a lousy takeoff and crashed, killing everybody on board except him and a couple of other guys. He ended up in a hospital and shortly thereafter, we took out Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

My earliest memories of Neil Young were when he was in Buffalo Springfield. Of course, at the time, "For What It's Worth" was ubiquitous, but on hearing their other songs, it quickly became apparent there was someone else in that band who was not the FWIW singer, but who had an incredibly unique, quavering, high pitched voice that was somehow mesmerizing. And the songs he wrote were fascinating and haunting. So I started getting into Neil Young's Springfield work, but at that point not to the extent that I was really his "fan". However, after NY's first album, that changed. Talk about haunting and mesmerizing. Last Trip to Tulsa did the trick. But the other songs weren't far behind. I mean, c'mon - The Old Laughing Lady! When was the last time you heard that? The whole album was spectacular. I was hooked.

To Be Continued

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