Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dehydration and Dysentery

I was horrified to find out recently about the following matter during a national news broadcast: troops in Iraq have been enduring a water shortage caused by red tape. If you think the heat is bad in the southern United States, think about the 100+ degree temperatures endured by US troops in one of the hottest areas on earth. Things became so bad for some of the soldiers, they resorted to drinking water from local sources: the result? Dysentery. If the thought of exposure to the swine flu makes you nervous, imagine what the troops are facing. When I first heard the news of this, NO ONE had stepped up to make something happen. Hopefully, news of this situation will anger enough people to insist on correcting it. Immediately.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lest We Forget

Just finished watching the first part of a multi-part series on HBO network titled The Alzheimer's Project.

I was anticipating this program with both positive and negative feelings. In this first segment, it introduced six participants in this project afflicted with Alzheimer's. Despite some definitely sad moments, there were amazing ones and fascinating ones as well. One participant keeps a blog. You can link to it here: Living with Alzheimer's.

The fascinating thing is that someone can keep a blog (I corrected the spelling of the title) and give insight into the progression of the disease, keeping his sense of humor somewhat intact, at least while the cameras are recording. Joe did tear up, however, while talking about knowing what having this disease means, and living with that diagnosis. Another gentleman could still perform with a singing group he'd belonged to years before without faltering on one note while he was singing. But his short term memory loss was evident.

I did experiencing negative feelings during the program, only because I know what that diagnosis truly means. I had a parent who was afflicted with Alzheimer's who died three years ago this past week. The grief is still fresh at such times of the year. Like Maria Shriver who co-produced this series, I also know what it is like to not only see the brilliant mind of a parent deteriorate, but live in the shadows of the specter of Alzheimer's myself.

While I await the next episodes of this series, related to research and family interactions with those afflicted with Alzheimer's, I also hope that a cure can be found in my lifetime. No one deserves this disease, and like many diseases, few are immune to it.

The photo is of my father (the younger and at the time, shorter, of the two boys, who was to later be afflicted with Alzheimer's) and one of my uncles from a childhood photo published in their hometown newspaper when they enlisted during World War II.