Healthy Living

Alzheimer's: Writing on the Edge of Forgetfulness

What Happens When the Disease Progresses

It could be said that as the disease works its course, the person begins losing his or her sense of self as he or she slips between periods of lucidity and forgetfulness. Slowly, the symptomatic episodes become more common. When at the beginning the person would sometimes forget simple things such as what he or she was doing at any given point, or their name or that of their loved ones, they may degenerate to a level where the symptomatic periods are more common than those of lucidity. Eventually, the patient will lose the capacity to care for himself; a person afflicted by Alzheimer’s simply forgets how to perform basic care tasks such as showering, brushing their teeth, or cooking a meal. Moreover, even if they might remember that they need to perform these tasks as part of their daily routine, it may happen that they forget the steps necessary to perform them, enacting frustration and helplessness in the person as the disease worsens.

It could be said, however, that the very worst part of Alzheimer’s for those who suffer from it is the loss of identity and all the hopelessness, frustration, and helplessness that stem from it. The loss of ‘self’ is a topic that many experts and professionals have tried to accurately depict. However, just like physicists theorizing about the singularity beyond the event horizon of a black hole, describing the symptoms of advanced Alzheimer’s from a first-person perspective is all but impossible without experiencing the disease itself. However, giving a firsthand recap is also an impossibility since, at this point, the person is too far gone into his or her own disease to properly convey organized thoughts and ideas. Nevertheless, it is not for lack of trying that there isn't yet an accurate description of Alzheimer’s from the perspective of the sufferer.