Concerned about Alzheimer’s Disease? Read “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova.

HStill Aliceave you ever thought about Alzheimer’s disease as it relates to you? Do you have a relative, perhaps a parent who suffers from it? I did. My father. Many thoughts and worries have surfaced since he was diagnosed with “symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s”. The only way to know for sure if it’s Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia is to perform an autopsy. At that point, it doesn’t seem to matter so much, what it was that caused the loss of memory and motor skills and finally, death.

I believe it was Alzheimer’s but I’m not sure it matters. What matters to me now is, is it hereditary? Will I get it too? Probably? Maybe? Every day I look for it. Am I forgetting too many things? Is it that I forget or that things just seem to skim the surface of my consciousness? I am preoccupied, I am not paying attention, I just don’t care enough about that particular fact. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know anything for sure.

My friend suggested I read a book called “Still Alice” and I did. I just finished it and it was wonderful and highly recommended for anyone, whether you have people close to you suffering from it or not. It was written by a woman who has a Ph.D in neuroscience from Harvard University and is an online columnist for the National Alzheimer’s Association. Combined with that knowledge, and a definite writing flair, she has crafted a fictional account of a woman besieged with early-onset Alzheimer’s. The woman is only fifty when she is diagnosed.

The novel is written from the POV of Alice, so the reader identifies with the confusion, the uncertainty, the despair she goes through as the disease progresses. Alice can only sit and watch her life fade away, as she struggles to hang on to memories of her husband and children. When she can’t remember their names, she still remembers them. She knows they are her son and her daughters, but fears she doesn’t know this through understanding, but because they keep telling her.

She struggles to understand as her family talks around her, as if she weren’t present. She wants to tell them things but can’t get her thoughts out fast enough and forgets them anyway. She hallucinates and believes there is a hole in the floor that she must go around. She tears the house apart looking for things but then can’t remember what those things are. She can’t recognize herself in the mirror, because she thinks she is a young girl. She confuses her dead sister with her daughter.

It’s powerful, the thoughts and fears that Alice experiences. And the writing is brilliant, very moving, and educational too. Add to all that, the development of some very fine characters and you have a novel well worth reading, not only for the knowledge it imparts but because it is a moving story. I hoarded this book. I didn’t want it to end.

I thought of my father, as I read it, and wondered how much of this he went through. No one knows for sure, because no one who is going through it can tell you what it’s like. We watch our parents suffer with it and yet, on some level, we think that won’t happen to me, or I’ll deal with that later. This novel brings it home, makes it real. If you aren’t comfortable with that knowledge then this novel may not be something you’d care to read.

I’m glad I read it, but up until now, I don’t think I was ready.

Ein weiteres großartiges Tool von Google*!

Do you speak GermanI received an interesting comment on my last post Euphemism, Anyone? I said to myself, hmm, this is not an English comment. Why, I believe this is in German! This is a German comment! Someone in Germany likes this post well enough to leave a comment. How swell is that?

Wonder what it says? was my next reaction. Of course, here I probably should have stopped to consider that perhaps someone offering a comment in German just possibly might not understand the nuance of English euphemisms anyway. Or wouldn’t they have written the comment in English?

But no, I didn’t think that. My first reaction was to figure out what it said. I found Google Translate. I did not know about this before. This would be a handy tool to use if you want to include foreign text in your writing. Once again, I am amazed at the WWWWW (Wunderbar, Wunderbar World Wide Web).

The German comment:

Denn auf unserem Geschenke und Geschenkideen Blog präsentieren wir schöne Dinge und Wohnkamine. Wir ziehen umher und sehen kontinuierlich mal was uns besonders gefällt und das präsentieren wir hier. Freilich können Sie die meisten Produkte auch sofort kaufen, jedoch ausschließlich via amazon, damit der Einkauf sicher ist natürlich!

The translation:

Because of our gifts and gift ideas blog we present beautiful Living things and fireplaces. We move around and continuously see something we really like, and present the [what?] we are here. Of course you can also buy most products immediately, but only via amazon so the shopping is safe of course!

So while I was initially intrigued by a German visitor, it appears they are really pushing their own agenda here and not offering to contribute to any thought process dealing with euphemisms or why they are so popular.

Thanks, anyway, Moodlights! I appreciate your stopping by to leave an advertisement! Vielen Dank for that! Here’s my reply:

Danke für den Kommentar. Allerdings wäre es besser gewesen, wenn Sie hatte in den Inhalt und nicht als ein Mittel, um Ihr eigenes Geschäft zu fördern interessiert worden. Und es würde helfen, wenn ich Deutsch verstanden, was ich nicht tun. Aber es machte mich neugierig genug, zu wollen, es zu übersetzen, und ich fand diese große neue Google Translate-Tool. Also für das, ich danke Ihnen sehr.

Disclaimer: I have no idea if this makes any sense.

Anyway,Google Translate could be another great tool for writers. Or anyone who needs a translation. As you type text into one box, it is translated into the chosen language in another. There are 72 languages available. It’s doubtful you’d need anything else.

I’m bookmarking this site for future reference. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to vouch for the actual translation. That may be an issue.

But at least it looks authentic.

Blog Update: You may be happy to hear that the popularity of euphemisms is not slowing down. A full 46% of the hits against this blog last week were for 20 Examples of Great Euphemisms. Gah!

* Another Great Tool From Google!

Euphemism, Anyone?


For 2 1/2 blissful years, I’ve been blogging via WordPress. I have nothing but fine, kind words to say about the WordPress blogging tool. It is easy to use, and my posts look how I want them to, and I have now figured out just about how to do everything, and the staff is supportive (writing those informative posts about how to improve the appearance and content of your blog) and last, and most important, they provide a vast amount of helpful statistics which can help in the analysis of what appeals to readers; i.e. which posts are the most popular.

My most popular post was about euphemisms, called 20 Examples of Great Euphemisms. Every day when I go to my stats, there that sucker is, in first place. Every damn day! I’m glad the world is interested in euphemisms but I doubt this is an indication of how well my blog is doing. As a matter of fact, I don’t think it’s doing all that well so when I see there have been 50 views and 30 of them are for that post, I’m not thrilled by the news.

WordPress supplies the search terms used which caused the reader to end up clicking on the link to the blog post, and the term “euphemism” as of today had 456 searches. There were other combinations of search words used, I counted 84 of them which contained the word “euphemism”. What’s with this, I ask myself. First of all, how are so many people getting to this post? When I Googled “euphemism” I went through 50 pages without seeing my post come up. When I Yahoo-ed it, the same thing. Never found it. I finally gave up up this rather fruitless endeavor. Let’s change that. Worthless endeavor.

There could be a few reasons for it but this is all I could think up: People are supremely bored at work and have the patience to mindlessly click on links to articles about subjects only marginally interesting to them, for more than fifty pages of search results. I have no other explanation.

When one is at work, one’s time may be less precious than when one is anywhere else.

Or it could more simply be that there is an inordinate amount of interest in euphemisms and some are willing to go to the “end of the internet” to read every single byte of information collected about these benign expressions which represent something more dire.

Somehow, I doubt that.

Oh, and one more thing. There is one comment on this post. One! If so many people are reading it, you’d think at least a few would say something about it.

It makes me wonder about these statistics.

It also makes me wonder about the future of this blog.