Monday, October 13, 2014

How Much Pain Does One Have to Endure?

     I have a friend that I meet about twice a month. Albert is a spunky, feisty, with it, little 88 year old. Albert spent all his adult life in upper management and was very successful in his field. Albert was active socially and with his five children.

    Around age 50 the roof began falling in on Albert. Albert's wife developed what they thought was Alzheimer's. She deteriorated rapidly and passed away in her mid fifties. After Nellie's illness began Albert took her to see her sister in California. The first time, they flew and Nellie refused to walk down the stairs from the aircraft. The second time, they drove and Nellie became hysterical when she couldn't see over a hill on the road. They persuaded her to lie in the back seat so she couldn't see the road and this worked. Needless to say, there were many more challenges

    An autopsy showed the condition was fronto temporal lobar degeneration. This condition is not Alzheimer's. This had only been diagnosed  recently at that time.

    Now Albert was told that the condition is hereditary. Albert began to worry about his children. Sure enough, his eldest daughter developed the condition in her late forties. It was first noticed when she was staying temporarily with her Dad and went to the wrong house on her way home for dinner. She had gone to the house her Dad had previously lived in. She had no idea were she was to go. Albert got a phone call from the people who he had sold the house  to, saying that he should come and get his daughter. She continued working for a while. Her husband had her tested for the condition and when it came back positive, he quickly left her. She went into a relationship with another guy and he fleeced her. Albert tried to get custody but it was difficult. By the time he got custody of his daughter, her assets had disappeared.

    When  Albert got  custody he  had to put her in a nursing home and watch her deteriorate. She has lived 17 years with the condition. The usual life with this condition is five to six years. Now her muscles have contracted and become rigid so that she is malformed. She has been fed for several years.

     Genetic testing can be done to show if you have the gene for this condition. His son was tested and does not have the flawed gene. His daughters chose not to be tested.

    When you hear a story like this you first wonder how somebody can be so strong to carry on and then how much pain can one person endure? I enjoy my visits with Albert as he has a zest for life and loves a good conversation. It's difficult talking about his daughter as the tears flow many times. I have learned much from Albert as he's demonstrated tremendous strength to carry on with his life and look after those around him.