March 07, 2005

...And on the "Slowly Losing Your Mind" Front...

I'm off for the rest of the week to work at a big work conference, thankfully, the last one I'll ever have to do, yay! I'll try to post again, but in the meantime, I thought I'd give you an update on my mom and her Alzheimer's. Thanks to some information by the ever-wonderful Alzheimer's Association, my dad has been giving her turmeric pills. There has been a recent upsurge in studies showing that turmeric (but not cumin or curry powder) may help stop Alzheimer's. In parts of India, where people eat lots of turmeric, Alzheimer's is virtually unknown.

I figured he was just desperate for any hope and didn't put much thought into the turmeric thing. But I spoke to my mom on the phone for the first time in four months yesterday. My dad stopped putting her on when I call home a long time ago because there was no point--she had no idea how to use the phone and couldn't take part in a conversation. But yesterday, we had the following exchange:

Me: Hi Mom!
Mom: Hi!
Me: How are you doing?
Mom: Good, very good.
Me: What are you up to?
Mom: Just hanging out!

I know it seems stupid, but I was crying by the end of that little, six-line exchange. She actually responded to me and was able to answer my questions. I haven't been able to have a conversation with my mother in over a year--you can't imagine how it felt to have her say she was good when I asked her how she was. I'm crying again writing this. Maybe I'm imagining that she's improved, but even in my imagination, it's a wonderful thing. My dad swears she's looking at books again (she was a voracious reader) and responding to him more, and that it's because of the turmeric. Let's hope.

In other news, the British National Health Service is considering cutting payment for Aricept and Memantine, among other Alz drugs, because they don't cure Alzheimer's.

If you live in the UK, please read the article and contact your government. They're right--Aricept and Memantine don't cure Alzheimer's. It's true. But those drugs gave me six extra months with my mom, six months when she still knew who I was, and when she got to come to my wedding and meet my husband, months we wouldn't have had if it weren't for those medications.

No, they aren't a cure. But I dare the British government to tell anyone who has ever had a family member dying of Alzheimer's that those six months just aren't worth the money.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow...

Susan

MsPrufrock said...

Turmeric...who would have thought? I'm glad you were able to have that conversation with your mother. I hope her apparent reaction to the turmeric pills yields further results.

Nico said...

That's fantastic! Do you have any details on the pills? Where purchased, etc? My grandmother also has Alzheimers, and at this point I think that anything that might bring her back even a little is worth a try...

Queenie said...

Hey Nico--You didn't leave your e-mail address, so I'm hoping you'll get this. I know my dad purchased the turmeric online--vitaminworld.com sells them. I'll ask him exactly where he ordered it from when I talk to him this weekend and will post about it, or e-mail me at blogqueenie @ hotmail.com.

Kath said...

Both my husbands grandparents died from alzhiemers. His grandmother entered a permanenet vegetative state just before I met DH. His family talk about her all the time and think we would have gotton along like a house on fire.

I didnt want to meet her. I didnt think it was fair that my memory of her would be of her "asleep". An extra 6 months would have been meant so much to his family.

Sorry about your Mom.