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Living and Laughter With Alzheimer's
By Jim Greenwood 
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Witty tales about her childhood usually triggered a hint of recognition. I’d remind Maxine that as a little girl she was quite mischievous. She hated soft eggs and made no bones about it.

One day at breakfast, her mother told her to sit there until she ate all her eggs. When her mother left the room, Maxine quickly and quietly dumped them down the toilet.

Returning, her mother saw the clean plate and said, “Now see dear, those eggs weren’t so bad, were they?”

The more personal the quip, the louder she’d laugh. That was particularly true if the joke was on me. Like my father’s reaction to my high school report card.

After studying it in silence, my dad said, “Well, there’s one thing in your favor, son. With grades like these, you couldn’t possibly be cheating!”

Also, if something happened or was stated that implicated her at any given moment, Maxine would respond spontaneously with the first thought that crossed her troubled mind.

For example, one day the caregiver had difficulty getting her into the shower. “Now Maxine,” said the caregiver, “You must take your shower.” She said, “Why?” The caregiver said, “Because Mother Nature wants you to be clean.” Maxine: “I don’t know her!”

Another time we were sitting with one of our six daughters, Marquita, when Maxine suddenly asked, “Am I married?” Marquita said, “You certainly are, to Jim here. You don’t want another husband, do you?” Maxine: “I might.”

Alzheimer’s is a progressive, irreversible disease. People afflicted with it gradually lose their ability to think, read, or speak clearly and coherently.

Maxine was diagnosed with AD in 1990. I was by her side when she died in 2003. Alzheimer’s may have stolen her faculties, but it spared her sense of humor – a blessing weeach shared.


Jim Greenwood is the author of Alzheimer's: Medical Science and Families are Still Asking Why?


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