Tuesday, May 26, 2009

HBO The Alzheimer Project
I have been watching HBO's Alzheimer Project off and on. I can't watch for very long because it becomes too emotional. It is depressing to see a human life when the mind has abandoned it. That is perhaps the worst trick this physical body can play on us.

If you have not watched the show, it is simply a documentary of Alzheimer's sufferer's in various stages of the disease and how it affects the person, their environment and their families. There is no narration, only the people involved telling their story. It casts light on a very dark subject that millions are affected by daily. The light, however, makes the dark only that much darker.

A man named Woody is one of the subjects. In his lucid days he was a singer, in a singing barbershop quartet club. He loved to sing. His family picked him up from his care facility to take him to a party for his old singing group. He was very polite but clearly did not know who his family was. On the way to the party Woody asked where they were going every three minutes followed by the same answer phrased differently by each member of the family hoping this time it would stick. It never did. When they got to the party they asked Woody to come on stage. As the group started into one of the Woody's favorite songs he sang every word in perfect tune with a polished stage presence. That part of Woody was still there, but moments after it was over he did not know where he was nor who he was with. The fickle nature of a fragmented brain.

Back at the home a nurse was trying to keep a group of residents mentally exercised by asking some questions their age group should know the answer too, such as: "What is the game called that is played with four bases?" "How many wheels on a bicycle?" etc. At one point the nurse said to the group. "Who was Mortimer Snerd?" No one seemed to know the answer. Several people got upset and others reacted with nonsensical responses. The nurse finally said, "You all remember Mortimer Snerd... he was the little dummy on the radio.... He was the one that sat on Jack Benny's knee."

Oh well, perhaps they would not have retained the correct information. I guess it is a testiment to Edgar Bergen's talent that his puppets are more famous than him at the old folks home. I guess when I forget the answer it is time for me to join them.

As you were,

1 comment:

Roomie said...

Mandy and I cannot watch this, even if we got HBO....too close to home for us....
Carry on,