So, you are in your late 70's and having a hard time remembering what you had for breakfast this morning... you take a trip to the doctor and he tells you that you have Alzheimer's.
No way, I'm just getting old, Right? It can't be Alzheimer's?
What a massive punch in the gut for you and your loved ones! You ask the doctor, what do we do from here? His response, take these pills every morning and walk nine hole of golf every day.
Alzheimer's is such an awful disease, but did he really just prescribe golf as a form of treatment!?! I think we can work with that.
Every morning my granddad wakes up, shaves his face, fixes a cup of coffee and eats a McDonald's sausage biscuit (yes, every morning). Most mornings my grandmom has to remind him to take his pills, but she never has to remind him the play golf... It's funny how the mind works!
Throughout my entire life my granddad has played golf and been an above average golfer. He has a homemade swing and a big curling slice, but you can bank on his ball hitting the center of the fairway nearly every time. Over the past ten years or so he has lost a lot of distance off the tee and touch around the greens, but still has no trouble holding his own at any course he plays.
Before his diagnosis, he had not been playing a lot of golf. He would spend so much time doing things for others that golf seemed to get overlooked. A few months after his diagnosis, I had been busy with work and we had not played golf together for several weeks.
I really wanted to get together with him one day soon, so I called him on a Thursday and we started talking about getting together to play golf that upcoming weekend. I asked him how he was feeling, he said, "fine." I then asked how he was playing and he said, "You know, I've been playing a lot lately and it seems that the more I play the better I get! So, I've really been playing pretty good... for an old man!" He has always had something funny to say about nearly everything, and hopefully always will.
We played golf that weekend and I listened to him reminisce about old times and late friends, as he usually does, but this time it seemed different. Whether it was all in my head or it actually was different, it seemed as if although I had heard these stories 100 times and he knew I had heard them 100 times, this time he thought he was telling me for the first time. This was a memorable day for me, because until this day it had not yet resonated within me that he truly had this disease, and I need to spend as much time with him as possible.
We have always spent a lot of time together, but I would often take these times for granted. I have always appreciated my granddad, but it is sad that we don't truly cherish our loved ones until tragedy or illness strikes. As I mentioned before, there are still so many trips I want us to take together, and the clock is ticking. Time to start scheduling some vacation!
I completely understand that almost everyone reading this does not know my granddad, and may even be wondering why this is being written. Alzheimer's disease has touched so many families, and many of you reading this can relate to our situation. I hope that in writing this, one other person out there can find comfort in knowing they are not alone in their struggle, or maybe I am writing this solely for myself.