Alzheimer’s, Fear Of Death, And Car Metaphors.

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Joey C

Disclaimer; I was in an intelligent conversation, and I THINK I understood everything, but hey; I may be wrong!!

Good day. I am Jose, but my friends and family call me Joey. Well, friends, family, and this one person who heard my friend call me Joey at work. She now yells out “Morning, Joey”, every time I see her come into work.

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Keep it on the D/L, Hawkeye

Anyway, I work at a State University as a Producer. Since I have a Masters degree in Instructional Technology, I am often involved in educational projects. This week we began working on a MOOC (massive online something or other) for EdEx.

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Education Exchange, not the Erectile Drug (yes; injection.)

It is going to be a higher level course on Alzheimer’s disease for both doctors and family members that may want to learn more about the disease their loved one is going through. It looks to be a pretty intense online course, covering some pretty technical topics.

This week we had the professor come in and record an intro for the course. EdEx uses the intros as teasers to whet the appetite of potential students. It was pretty intense and technical, but I tried to follow along as much as I could.

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Part of getting a Masters is learning to fake it ’till U make it.

Afterwards, we all sorta talked a little bit; my guess was nobody was ready to go back to work. Another producer asked the professor what he thinks would make his class stand out amongst other Alzheimer’s courses?

He mentioned that most of the doctors working on Alzheimer’s at the moment are physicians; their MAIN concerns are to do no harm and to stop damage quickly. This is, of course a very common trait for doctors. I mean, if you break your arm, the doc will shoot you up with some pain killers and set your bone.

OUR doctor is a marine biologist. HIS focus is on the long term. If the topic was finance, our doc would be investing in government bonds, while the physicians would be buying lotto tickets.

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It’s a great investment… when you win.

He explained that opinion about Alzheimer’s is unique in that he doesn’t WANT to cure it. In fact, supposedly the things that cause Alzheimer’s are actually the body’s “quick fixes” to the brain to keep it going. The fixes do not get rid of the problem, but allow the brain to continue to function in a way that lets you live a normal life for a little longer.

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Kind of like “Ethnic Engineering” but with your brain….

Basically, based on the conversation, he doesn’t want to abolish Alzheimer’s, but to delay it as long as possible. He wants to extend the “quality years” of life instead of what physicians want to do, which is extend life in general. In order to get clarification that I understood what he was saying, I tried to give a car analogy.

Now I LOVE to use car analogies! Do I know anything about cars? No. But it is how I can try to make sure I understand someone else’s explanation of a complex subject. Cars, I find, are the easiest subject that most people will understand. In fact, some co-workers make fun of me by saying I explain everything with cars.

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How would I describe those co-workers with a car analogy? Well…

If i knew sports, I’d probably use sports. Heck, I’m sure I could probably use Greek Mythology, if I knew it well enough. All I’m trying to do is explain things in simple terms so that any average idiot can understand.

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“DAH… okay!”

Anyway, my car analogy was “who cares how long the engine keeps running as long as it lasts longer than the transmission”. The guy turned to me with eyes wide. I wasn’t sure if he was surprised a layman like me understood what he was talking about, or that I boiled down his course to a sentence, or that I was sooooooo OFF, but he eventually nodded his head and agreed with my overly simplistic smattering of words.

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As long as the A/C works, I’m still driving it!

Now why did I bring this up? Well, it made me realize a few things about life in general. It made me realize that we really SHOULD be enjoying our lives as much as possible! KEEP driving that car until it stops running. Then, when it stops running, ditch it on the side of the road!

Well… In this analogy, your body is the car so… no. Don’t ditch it on the side of the road. But you get it!

Don’t think of life as a physician; short term fixes and immediate answers aren’t the way to go.

Think like a biologist! Think long term! Live your life!

If you make a mistake and fall down, don’t quit! Just sit on your butt for a little while, cry a few tears if you need to, compose yourself, figure out what you learned, then get up and keep going!

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I learned I’m not as agile as I thought I was.

It seems kinda simplistic, but I’ve tried living like this for a while. It’s nice!

I mean, I’m no Zen master; things still tick me off? But i haven’t gotten uncontrollably angry in a long time.

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Unless you’re talking about the irresponsible use of Arthur memes…

All I am saying is that life is short, for many different reasons; sickness, accidents… Heck! Some of us may even just be plain ol’ OLD! Stop letting little things get in the way of achieving happiness.

But if you still want to be miserable, keep it to yourself!

If anybody is interested in the EdEx course, please add a comment to this article. Hopefully, if I do it right, it will email you when I add an updated comment.

And, here is the disclaimer again; I THINK I understood everything the professor was talking about, and I believe I understood his opinions and/or ideas about Alzheimer’s, but hey; I may be wrong! My Car Analogy was my way of trying to make sure I understood everything correctly, but for all I know, he may have been talking manual transmission, and I was talking Automatic!

-JRC

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Joey C
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19 Comments

  1. Bigscrod wants cake
    October 12, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    After the recent demise of my father, who went from flying down the highway to being in a ditch in the course of 6 months (like, almost literally, at 79 he was driving charter buses in December, hospitalized at the beginning of July after passing out in the yard, died early August), we had been discussing end of life. [apologies in advance, this was a very long sentence, but I am too lazy to clean it up.] His illness and downfall wasn’t all about that doctor who made a bad decision with his wounds or insufficient care at that the first hospital, but it began with a thousand tiny decisions back to that first cigarette. Every plate full of bacon and eggs, every hot dog followed by a candy bar (even after his diabetes diagnosis at 49) led to the downfall. And if you had talked to him last winter, he didn’t see it coming.

    It comes down to all the little things.
    Wear sunscreen.

    • Joey C
      October 12, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Sorry about your pop. My mom went in a similar way.

      Kinda.

      She had Diabetes.

      She had diabetes, but she would continue to eat her favorite thing; watermelon.

      “My god, why the hell would she do that!”, you may ask?

      I think she just loved watermelon. She loved drinking tea. All that liquid did HELL for her dialysis, but she figured that she’d rather enjoy the things she loved in exchange for a few less years of life.

      What’s ironic was that she didn’t die from diabetes, either.

      I should write an article about this one, too…

    • Sangfroid
      October 12, 2016 at 7:06 pm

      79 is good. I’d be happy to make it to 79. If I hit 74 I win the tontine at least for male members of my family.

  2. Acadia Einstein
    October 12, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Good stuff, JOSE. And sorry about your dad, BEC. =/

  3. Scott M
    Scott MReply
    October 12, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    I am interested in the materials.

  4. Sangfroid
    October 12, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    I have a quite valid fear that playing football left me with CTE. I’m going to use your “Ethnic Engineering example” every time I try to explain how I write poetry fluidly but can’t figure out the camera instructions.

  5. MyMagicalTrunk
    October 29, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    ‘If you make a mistake and fall down, don’t quit! ‘These lines are fact, one should never give up and enjoy life.

  6. MyYellowApron
    October 29, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Loved all those pics. Especially the one where it says -- I’m not as agile as I thought to be. Great post. Funny yet inspirational.

  7. Amber Myers
    October 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Yes, I’d love to delay Alzheimers. I know it has impacted a lot of loved ones.

    That first picture made me giggle.

  8. cutecountrychick
    October 30, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    We can’t fear even the worst of diseases. Your mom was right to enjoy life and her watermelon. Good post.

  9. Ari
    October 30, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    I love this. Alzheimers affects so many people and not everyone is aware. As a future occupational therapist, I’ve seen and will see many people who suffer from such an unfortunate condition. I support this 100%.

  10. Lydia@LifeUntraveled
    October 30, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I’m not sure I understand why the biologist would want to delay Alzheimer’s as opposed to curing it?? But, then again, I was never good at math. 😉

  11. Anosa
    October 30, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    As someone whose working in the pharma industry we always thinking of making drugs that will either prolong life or cure the disease so it’s this topic really interests me big time. Great read and I actually understood car references

  12. Aishah
    October 30, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Your writing style is pretty unique!

  13. Janine Good
    October 31, 2016 at 12:57 am

    Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease and delaying would help until a cure is found. Watching someone suffer with it is heartbreaking.

  14. My Shopping Diet
    October 31, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Great article and quite a unique way to look at the issue through the references 🙂 Every case is unique and his choice is admirable.

  15. Amrita Basu
    November 1, 2016 at 4:37 am

    One of the best way to deal with AD is keep learning stuff.An active healthy brain has less chance of being affected.I am more interested in prevention of diseases and QOL.Interesting lesson.in an entertaining way

  16. Valerie CottageMakingMommy
    November 1, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    We need a cure for this already. It’s taking too long.

    • Cider
      CiderReply
      November 2, 2016 at 10:11 am

      It is frustrating how long it seems to take to find cures for a lot of things. But I guess the body is very complicated and there is still a lot we don’t know. It would be nice to see some serious strides being made here. It’s such a sad disease.

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