I admit it was a great thrill when Leila sent this one through. I’m so glad you can’t see me blushing – Thank you Leila.
If any disease could be described as a sadist, Alzheimer’s would get my vote. It murders the mind just a little at a time, and leaves just enough of the victim’s consciousness intact for the victim to realize that something even worse than dying is happening to her.
At only fifty-seven, the MC in Dickson’s This Face has early-onset Alzheimer’s–yet there remains enough of her inside to feel pain. Still, she holds onto her dignity the best she can. By doing so she spits in the face of her implacable tormentor. And maybe, just maybe, her quiet defiance had caused Alzheimer’s to blink. We can only hope so.
Q: In the middle of the story there is a run of orderly statements that fight against the encompassing fog of the disease. I found this extremely effective. Please describe the choices you made in regard to the structure of this piece.
I will admit that though this story is fiction it is based on fact. The part about the chicken is almost exactly as it happened with my mother in law in the early stages of the disease. As it progressed there were times of complete lucidity. There were times when the past was clearer than the present and then there were the times of total confusion and panic.
It is a terrible end for everyone involved but the moments of ‘normality’ and indeed some of the times of confusion that were actually, in their way amusing, were a little balm. I truly don’t know whether it is better that you fade away not realising that you are falling or you are made aware and feel compelled to try to cling on by your fingernails.