Alzheimer’s Anecdotes, Chapter 6: Wishful Believing


One thing I’ve noticed frequently occurring in my wife’s ongoing Alzheimer’s journey is her brain’s magical way of scrambling incoming information. Sometimes it comes out as wishful believing, allowing Pam to see things more the way she might like to see them than they really are. Sometimes it’s the other way around, leading her to conclude the worst has happened or is about to happen. Either way, this phenomenon is common enough these days that it’s unwise for those of us who speak with her regularly to assume…pretty much anything.

Don’t get me wrong. Despite the inroads Alzheimer’s Disease has made on her personal think tank, my redhead is still brilliant and inspirational in many ways, to many creatures of God both human and non-human. She can still smell fierce weather coming, well in advance of the storm wall’s arrival. She still talks to not only our pets but also to many forms of wildlife here on our property in southern Cochise County, Arizona. (Though not to icky reddish five inch centipedes. Gato cat spotted our first such intruder of the year last night, crawling under a cabinet and then up a wall in my office. I smashed it with a spiral notebook between it and my palm strike, then crushed the fallen remains underfoot before scooping it up with an old envelope and tossing the corpse outside. We were all happy to have that happen while Pam was sound asleep in her bedroom.)

Recent examples of local animals she speaks to on a regular basis:

1. Turkey vultures. A few days ago, one such was circling overhead as we pulled into the driveway following a brief trip to town. “It circles for me all the time when I talk to it,” she said. “Keep talking to it,” I replied, digging the Canon PowerShot camera out of its holster at my left hip. The result is the following photo.

Alzheimer's or no Alzheimer's, Pam had zero difficulty in persuading this turkey vulture to hang around overhead until I could focus the camera.

Alzheimer’s or no Alzheimer’s, Pam had zero difficulty in persuading this turkey vulture to hang around overhead until I could focus the camera.

2. Mourning doves.

3. Angel, our favorite resident female coyote.

4. Desert cottontail rabbits.

5. Roadrunners.

6. Canyon towhees.

And many, many more.

Her children and I, however, have learned to speak directly to each other if the topic is too important to risk being misinformed. The inspiration for this post showed up yesterday. Pam had told me that her daughter, Amy, was already en route back down from her Utah home to get some “Mom time” here at the Border Fort. She was leaving on August 18 and would be here by the 21st. Never mind the fact that Amy does not require three days to cover the 800 miles between us; I tucked that bit of info between my ears and, because it didn’t matter to me one way or the other at the moment, didn’t bother to check it out. There was no need.

No need, that is, until I stopped at the Post Office on the way home from a Home Depot run and saw in the pile of mail a little bright yellow envelope addressed to me. The return address showed it had come from —- (name redacted to protect the family’s privacy).

The instant I saw that name, I knew this could not be good. —- is Carolyn’s sister. Carolyn was my second wife, Pam being my seventh. About six months ago, I’d written to Carolyn (she lives in another state some distance from Arizona), asking if she’d like to visit here in March of 2017, taking a week to help Pam while I drove to Georgia to pick up our friend Jennifer. Jennifer will be finishing a 20 year prison sentence then and must be picked up at the front gate; she’s been behind bars her entire adult life, since the age of sixteen, and would not be safe traveling alone to Arizona.

This might sound unusual, being on such good terms with an ex-wife. That only happens in an occasional movie or TV sitcom, right?

Well…no. Not right. Carolyn and I never had a cross word between us, neither during our seven years together nor in the decades that followed. There were several times over the years when one of us would help the other out when no one else could have or would have done so. Pam has loved Carolyn deeply from the first time the two women spoke on the phone together. Carolyn also ended up single in her later years, following what she finally realized was in her own words “twenty-three years in a loveless marriage” (to her third husband, she and I being each other’s second).

But my letter received no response. This was not like Carolyn; neither of us would ever simply ignore the other. Something was wrong. However, not knowing what the wrongness might be, I did not feel it to be my place to dig into the mystery.

What? You want to know what this has to do with Pam’s Alzheimer’s experience? Hey, hold your horses; we’ll get there sooner or later.

The Thank You card inside the yellow envelope read as follows:

Hi Fred–

Came across your letter to Carolyn as I was going through her drawer this a.m. She was diagnosed with inoperable ovarian cancer in November of 2012. It’s been a yo-yo for her. She has been through so much the last five years. Her cancer had progressed to the brain & is throughout her whole body. She has been in a nursing home here in ——- since March of this year after having radiation treatments in ———. It is a miracle that she is still with us.

She did fall out of bed last nite & is not doing very well at all today. I take one day at a time and spend as much time as I can with her. She is content as long as she has her remote & TV. Thought you should know, —-.

Only thing I found to write to you was a “Thank You” card.

The news hit me hard. It hit Pam harder. We both agreed that if Amy’s visit here at the Border Fort ended up being long enough, if she could be persuaded to stay at least a few days, I was outa here, heading for ——- in the Subaru Outback. There are 1,300 miles between us and Carolyn. I could make that round trip in three days and still have a few hours with Carolyn.

Evening came. I did the usual chores, lay down to take a nap, and eventually Pam called her daughter to find out where she was on the highway and how long she could stay when she got here.

Oops. It turns out Amy’s not coming at all. What she had been trying to tell Pam was that a special wedding photo album (of Amy’s son’s wedding) was on its way. Amy will not be showing up by the 21st; album should be showing up at the Post Office by the 21st.

Once Amy understood how Pam’s wishful believing had convinced her Amy’s presence was imminent, Amy told her, “Boy, Mom, you really do have Alzheimer’s!”

No duh!

And yet the first thing Pam told me after finding this out was, “You can take off after you’ve gotten enough sleep to be safe.”

“No,” I shook my head, “I’m not going. Remember, we found out last year about this time that we could never leave you alone for three days again. I was gone to Los Angeles for three and a half days, and by the time I got back, you were in the next thing to a coma. Zach was checking in with you regularly. It wasn’t enough. And you were still starting generators then!”

“Oh. Yeah. Guess you’re right.” She began to cry, in agony at the thought Carolyn would not be seeing me before she passed after all.

“Must be the way it’s supposed to be, honey. Maybe Carolyn would rather I didn’t see her like this, anyway.”

“Probably not,” she agreed, drying her eyes. “She and I are a lot alike; I know I’d be thinking that way.”

So I wrote —- a hand written letter this evening. It will go out in tomorrow’s mail. The text reads as follows:

Dear —-,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me know about Carolyn. This cannot possibly be easy on you, either. Pam (my wife) also appreciates the updates; she has loved Carolyn from the first time they spoke to each other on the phone years ago.

I would have typed this, but my printer is skipping lines again.

If I dared leave Pam alone (which of course I do not), I’d already be on the road to ——- with Pam’s blessing. But perhaps it’s just as well I’m anchored here. Carolyn may prefer that I remember her as I last saw her when I was driving long haul trucks and she visited me at the truck stop at Post Falls, Idaho, with her two tiny dogs on leashes, both pups wearing harnesses with pretty little lights that flashed in the night.



13 thoughts on “Alzheimer’s Anecdotes, Chapter 6: Wishful Believing

  1. I am so sorry that I cannot handle two of them. It is about all I can do to handle one. I am also sorry that you will not be able to run up there to see her one last time. Both of my parents passed without me being able to see them one more time. It had been five years since I saw my dad and three years since I saw my mom when they passed, 9 years apart. Living clear across the country does not make frequent visits possible.

  2. Becky, don’t be sorry. I couldn’t handle two of them, either. Pam got to see her Mom some months before she passed but had not seen her father for something like 15 years. Not because of physical distance between them, but because of emotional distance; he’d cut off all communication with her. She was never quite sure why he’d done that, but it was definitely hard for her.

  3. Ghost, it’s sad you can’t see Carolyn before she goes, but I think you’re right. She probably wouldn’t want you to see her the way she is now. Back in 2007 I took my son’s father to the hospital. He had bladder cancer and was in pain. He assumed he’d be back home that night. Eleven days later he was dead. The cancer had spread rapidly. My son and I were called the afternoon before he died. He didn’t look like himself at all. In fact, he was comatose. It was very sad to see.

  4. I just checked cancer death statistics for 2013. A bit more than half a million people died of one form or another of the disease last year. And of course, when you think about it, that number has to be low. I’ve known cancer sufferers who couldn’t take the pain and blew their own brains out, for example. In such a case, the deaths would be officially attributed to gunshot wounds, not cancer.

    One thing is clear: There are few people over the age of potty training who don’t know (or at least know of) someone who’s died from cancer, either directly or indirectly. In my own family, I can think of one grandfather, a step-grandmother, and an uncle-in-law, just offhand.

  5. When you consider all the diseases compiled and not one CURE as in CURED and not MANAGED;it makes you wonder what all those so called research dollars go to.

    I am not an advocate of modern medicine or their total health management philosophy in any shape or form except for a few techniques have greatly improved but their improvement were brought about through fraud and medical deception.

    So; I have taken in on my own to study every aspect of medicine including chemistry, epidemiology endocrinology the complete and entire metabolic system and cycle. These are big words for a big subject but; I can say this; these subjects have become compartmentalized and made to appear super sophisticated by over saturating the subject with every possible bit of information to justify compartmentalization. Well the Human body isn’t compartmentalized into one subject at a time. It is all of the subjects all of the time and then add in environmental factors which is ever changing.

    This is very relevant to ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE and all of them actually.

    Point being; I started looking for what is missing in the studies instead of what is obviously droned about over and over to take up space and occupy the inquisitive or researching brain.

    What is missing, is the information which is intentionally missing. FOR EXAMPLE; Find the subject; OPTIMAL MEDIUM for cellular communication, Find the subject for Saline concentration for OPTIMAL electrical conductivity. Find the subject for analysis for the complete metabolic cycle and optimal response. NOT that these subjects aren’t detailed but what is the optimal medium for these responses take place. These topics do not exist. Not in: HARVARD, DUKE, YALE, PRINCETON, the CDC, any AMA studies, not in MAYO Clinic publications, Not in any HOME MEDICAL JOURNALS,nOT THE MERRICK MANUAL, NOT IN ANY UNIVERSITY STUDIES. If they exist; it is not added as studied curriculum. Not in modern medicine. However, but it was a common subject in early medicine. The study of the endocrine system and trace minerals and the metabolic cycle and the functions of each organ as they communicated and how they communicated and how cellular regeneration was linked to ELECTRICAL CONDUCTIVITY between cells.

    I CONTINUE TO STUDY medical journals and compared them to modern philosophy spanning TWO CENTURIES OF MEDICINE over the past 5 years including the study of physics and have discovered lie after lie and deception or withholding information or fragments of the complete narrative is a lie. I don’t mean parroted studies either I mean studies and proven studies with logic involved. Once you mystify a topic you are only lying from that point on.

    Fix this missing information and you fix a very large percentage of diseases and you bring back the human NORMAL RESPONSE SYSTEM. Management stops and cures and realignment of the natural healing which is only following a DNA road map of properly functioning organs begins. After all the human species did just fine prior to the US AND FOREIGN PHARMACOLOGICAL INDUSTRY TOOK OVER THE HUMAN BODY.

    My studies are ongoing and being independent I will never have formal or institutionalized accreditation or acknowledgement. What I have concluded is nearly 100% contrary to modern AMA PHD philosophy. I am not sick, my arthritis in my ankle and shoulder from parachuting and rodeo is healed; not managed with one single pill. My cognitive skills have doubled my retention and attention has increased greatly. I read anything today and a week, month year can pass and I WILL QUOTE THE PAGE and the next page and the next without distortion. Not vertebrata like a parrot or machine but not in error.

    This is an an observation of personal improvement based on a few very well controlled experiments. Because MY GOAL IS TO DISPROVE MY CONJECTURES; not prove them for some obscure .GOV funding or thoughts of economic profits. My studies are for those I care about including self preservation. Not; to necessarily extend my life span but to live it at its (optimal range). That too; (death), is included in the cycle; which should be looked at as fulfilling life’s intent.

    As a commercial diver and former rodeo hand FULFILLING THE CYCLE OF LIFE has never been an issue. but the quality of life is important.

    AS not to mystify this discovery here goes. remember this is contrary to what I have heard for 40+ years.

    PURE (PURE) SALT and trace minerals is what is needed to complete the communication. not sea salt and not processed salt. but pure, out of the ground mined salt with trace minerals. Those which use to be included in the earths top soils and taken up into plants. PROTEINS, FATS AND SUN. zero processed food, zero water with fluoride mercury, lithium, lead, no BPH or SUGARS, NO BLEACHED FOODS OR GMO’s.

    This is impossible to follow but adding pure salt molecules will remove those toxins adding trace minerals to the salt will fill the salt molecule and dump the trace minerals and pick up the toxins as your body recognizes them as foreign.

    This is not to sell you any product just information that is being withheld and for a specific agenda.

    I say my discoveries are not really a discovery but unearthing of old medical philosophies. Before medicine was even a profession. AMA did that and the drug penicillin galvanized the public’s mind set into total trust. Well; sorry, it’s time to wake up an start asking questions and break their hold before the human species becomes an owned GMO.. and that is possible. very possible. LEGALLY

  6. LOL! My eye skipped right over “vertebrata” when I read the comment. Like you say, is okay.

    Sounds like you’re putting more effort into your studies (health related) than I ever have, but we’re essentially on the same page. I don’t bother to remember things as precisely as you do (quoting pages, etc.) but am not on any pills, either–nor do I suffer from arthritis or any noticeable slow-down with the exception of a few wrinkles sneaking up on me here and there. I’ve been sticking it in the AMA’s face for a lo-ong time, having begun that process at age 17.

  7. How’s it going? Hey; it’s good to hear; some one else not on meds besides me. It’s also good to meet someone who is wise to AMA and the pharmaceutical industry.

    Did you figure out the type of Salt I was hinting at; being a rodeo hand? I don’t recall if you had horses or cattle at any time but; you would recall your vet always suggesting; increased salt and minerals if your horse or cows weren’t thriving well or down. So; this is where I started shopping and studying.

    We as humans have the same metabolic functions as the rest of the animal kingdom and I NEVER HEAR those words coming from any PHD or medical journal or university. Definitely something worthwhile to study and experiment on. I will not become dependent on DRUGS and management at least not without studying knowing what I’m taking.

    I think Salt with trace minerals would definitely have a positive effect on persons with all sorts of diseases and disorders.

  8. Yeah, I figured out what kind of salt you were hinting at. Didn’t exactly go there, though; decided to start with a bit of pink Himalayan salt for now. Ordered 5 pounds from Amazon, plenty to get Pam & me both started on it to see what we think. Some of the favorable Amazon reviews covered a few of the health benefits, too.

    I’ve always been pro-salt (even if it’s the bad kind), snorting in derision at the supposedly beneficial “no salt diets”. Salt deficiency can produce some really ugly symptoms. There’s a reason the U.S. Army issues salt tablets to soldiers operating in desert heat. Etc., etc.

  9. Good for you on the Salt issue. I have been continuing my research on the salt issue and there is a concerted effort within the entire medical industry to discourage people from consuming anything but processed salt. There is a reason for this.

    Consider this; Salt is like a mule; it carries trace minerals and other nutrients to every portion of the body. It’s like the door key to the entire metabolic system there for it’s used to deliver medications of ANY description which would other wise be rejected.

    Salt also will remove toxins that bio accumulate in the brain and the body including organs.

    SO; an alternating regiment of salt with trace minerals and pure salt will eventually remove harmful toxins. The mineral deposits will increase and the toxins decrease as you know only one substance can consume one space at a time so. The philosophy is pollution is cured by dilution. Dilution in this case is by saturating the system with the proper minerals. The alternating PURE SALT theory is to remove as much foreign mater as possible. this is dependent on not replenishing your load of toxic fluoridated water as well. If you used distilled water and the salt with trace minerals you will saturate you system with the minerals you are supposed to be operating under. THEN do without the mineral create the tidal effect on the metabolic function. Which is necessary to happen so your body absorbs it. if that makes any sense to you. It’s like food; you have to be hungry to appreciate it. That creates a cycle and tidal flow and ebb scenario. The tide must go out before it comes in and all the surviving creatures thrive; while the weaker ones die. Cells work the same way.

  10. one more issue. as you know HORSES are definitely sensitive to fluoride and other chemicals. ANYTHING TO DO WITH FDA is loaded up in anything THEY want to add and call it a proprietary ingredient and NOT list it. so; that’s why I suggested the source. The USDA doesn’t provide that protection or non disclosure . ANIMALS have a commercial value Humans do not. I strongly recommend the salt I suggested it is exactly as it is posted on the label and ANY OTHER COMMERCIAL SALT still must comply with irradiation, anti clumping agents and all that other junk added. No matter what; it’s FDA approved and that right off the bat permits 30% variation in any nutritional information. 30% is a lot.

  11. one last post before I forget; salt creates the optimal medium for conductivity of electrical response and transmission of signals. This is why it is also added as a post a pre op and post op additive in every hospital. RIGHT? EVERY TRAUMA patient is given saline. BOOM case closed…lol

  12. Nothing the medical industry does surprises me any more. Your explanation of the two-salt dilution process actually makes sense–to me, anyway. Not to worry about fluoridated water; we’re off grid so most of our water comes from our private well, so unless they’ve fluoridated the entire aquifer, we’re okay there. And the water we drink (and use to cook) is purified–not distilled, so it’s still got some minerals, but definitely better than city tap water.

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