Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pass the mayo

I'm trying not to lose my mind. I take fish oil. I eat blueberries. I do crossword puzzles and suduko. I'm always in the middle of one or two books. And, not that it's going to help, I'm part of an Alzheimer's research study at Mayo. I saw a little ad in the paper over ten years ago and I signed up. Every one or two years I go down and they torture me with psychological testing - are you depressed? Suicidal? Bit of a drug problem? Hmm? Here - look at this complex drawing for ten seconds, then draw it from memory, oh, and recite every word you know that starts with the letter C and if apples are 2 for 32 cents how much are a dozen? Fast, do it! Then a little neuro testing, walk on your toes, heels, close eyes and touch nose, hit knee with a hammer and see if it moves. Sometimes they take my blood. Sometimes they put me in a tube and MRI my brain. I do this for nothing. Well, sometimes I get a free lunch. But it's all for a good cause. My grandmother had Alzheimer's. She lived to well over ninety and had a good life and while I hope I don't get it, it does sort of make sense in a circle of life kind of way. We come in to the world not knowing much, no memories. Maybe it makes getting old easier, no regrets, no wondering why you're sitting alone in a nursing home where nobody comes to visit. I always get a wake-up call at Mayo, surrounded by old, sick people. Makes me want to take better care of myself. Eat better. Exercise more. Breathe deep and focus on the positive, semi-healthy person I am, three or four decades younger than the Mayo crowd. The place is so nice, though, soft lighting, piano music playing overhead, nice untattoo-d employees coming from around the dark wood walls while we all say to ourselves, "Pick me, pick me." But I wonder what's wrong with everybody, how long the couples have been married, how much that lady must have to pay to be wheeled around like that. It makes me sad. I want to wear a sign. I'm not sick. I'm here to help. And, no, I'm not depressed. Just a little sad.

1 comment:

  1. One time I took my best friend for a chemo treatment and felt the same way, not that I ever feel like I'm immune from getting cancer, but like everyone was looking at me wondering why I had hair or where I got such a real-looking wig (with gray hair in it even!).