In My Father's House

Poems, Prayers, Inspirations, Photos and Musings about life, love and what it means to be a child of the Father

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fighting Dementia

One of the priests I admire and respect has recently showed signs of dementia. Doctors are still trying to find out whether this dementia is Alzheimer's or Pick's Disease. It may be latter case since Father X still has his memory intact. In fact he remembers names of family members and his own community. I was very happy to return to the community where I first saw him. I remember him as a very soft-spoken, very gentle and kind elderly priest. I was glad to pay him a visit once more but was saddened to find him changed: he becomes talkative, he rattles on and on about many things, he makes predictions about this and that Jesuit and how to solve the problem on poverty in the Philippines. Gone is his happy and light disposition. Instead he is agitated, very upset about many things, very nervous. And very afraid.

I'm wondering how it feels to be fighting dementia. How does it feel to be fully aware that you are losing your sanity, your grip on common day-to-day things? Doctors say that dementia (in either form) is a degenerative disease and completely irreversible.


  • At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Realizing one has dementia can be ego-shattering. Knowing that at times that your mind is failing you makes one more anxious and always on the defense.

    Perhaps one can consider this as one's third degree of humility, no?

  • At 8:07 PM, Blogger sonoftheprodigal said…

    yes, indeed. but i'm wondering if when you're already there would you still remember the third degree of humility. would you not be disoriented even of your identity as a jesuit? that's scary, right?

    and scarier even when you are aware that you are beginning to lose it all. what if you forget even about HIM?

  • At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If he does have Pick's Disease, God forbid, there may be some small consolation in that people with Pick's Disease are known to have a lack of emotional response. They are completely apathetic about the diagnosis. At the same time, they do not have the memory loss that Alzheimers patients do and their identity is not necessarily lost. I hope all goes well for him. My prayers are with him.


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