Friday, May 20, 2011

WHAT'S BEEN GOING ON?

My friend Ruth reminded me today that I’ve been pretty quiet here on the blog lately. Have to admit that being busy is taking its toll. Spring is finally here and so there’s a lawn to mow and plants to get ready for the summer. I’ve also demolished a room (hopefully the last one ever) in my house in preparations of adding insulation and updated electric and maybe even some new windows come fall.

Chip Eddy on his horse in
Jamaica with me standing by

On a sadder note, my Uncle Chuck Eddy passed away this past week. I have many happy memories of our family spent with the Eddy’s. Chuck worked for Goodyear International and was assigned to some pretty interesting places. My parents began taking vacations to stay with them when I was still at home and so I was treated to two winter vacations in Jamaica. I have many happy memories of spending time with them as I grew up. Their son, Chip, is 5 months my junior so we got along well as kids.

After I graduated high school and left home, my parents traveled more extensively to visit them to places like Lima Peru, Mexico City, Caracas Venezuela, and Manila in the Philippines, sometimes spending several months with them at a time. I know that they never would have had that opportunity if it wasn't for Chuck being there for his job. In later years, the Eddy's co-owned a condo with my parents in Ft. Myers and I know they all spent many happy days in the sunshine together. 

Chuck and Darlene riding the Ft. Myers
trolly with Mom and Dad
Chuck’s wife Darlene passed away about a year ago. She was diagnosed about 6 years ago with Alzheimer's and he cared for his "babe" at home until she finally succombed.  Chuck made sure Darlene was up everyday, fully dressed, hair done weekly and fingernails always manicured. The two of them were inseperable to the end.  Although I didn't see much of them in the past several years, I will miss them both.

On a tagent note - any of you reading this and wondering why I always make restaurant reservations under the name Eddy will now know where the name came from.  As our families did many things together it was always easier to use their name than ours. 

And...speaking of Alzheimer's - this has been the season of the local Alzheimer's Association benefit galas.  My good friend Grant (who lost his Mother to Alzheimer's last year) is very supportive of this organization and I tend to tag along where I can be helpful.  The regional AA group holds three galas within a couple of months of each other, one in Stark county, one out in Youngstown and one here in Akron.  As graduates of the Single Volunteers school of hard knocks and silent auctions, there are a few of us in the area that specialize in assisting groups like this manage their auction closeouts and AA is one of the few non-profits that still benefit from our services.

Grant working his magic at the
auction checkout table
I've listened to a lot of speaches about this disease and done quite a bit of reading.  If those of you reading this blog have not yet been touched by this terrible condition, please brace yourselves because the numbers of those inflicted are staggering.  The three county area covered by the AA group we work with estimates there are currently over 60,000 people with Alzheimer's within their care range.  As our population grows older and medical care keeps our physical bodies from dying, it is inevitable that Alzheimer's patients will also grow in number. 

Frankly, this is also a silent epidemic.  Those with the condition are being cared for by family members for the most part and so many of those family members are in complete denial. "Mom is just forgettful."  "Dad is just a little confused."  As the disease progresses it becomes harder for the family to come to terms than it is for the patient.  Support services for family members are what our local Alzheimer's Association is all about and they are trying to help so many people with so few resources. 

If you're finding yourself in this situation, please take a few moments to seek out assistance.  Whether it is simply someone to talk to about your frustrations or finding help to keep your home together with day care or home health aids, there are people out here that will try to help.  You can find more information on their web site at www.alz.org/

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