S: Nathans Capstone: My Fabulous Six
BC: "And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow" -G.K. Chesterton
FC: My Fabulous Six By Nathan Sheffer
1: The following brief profiles are of 6 women who are suffering from various stages of the Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that causes memory loss and is a brain disorder associated with age and affects over 5 million Americans. I have spent the last six months visiting four of these women and grew increasingly fonder of them; the other two women are my relatives. | Spending time at the Columbus Alzheimer’s Care Center has been a rewarding experience and has brought me close to a few of the patients. My outlook on people is that every person has a story, and I find that very intriguing. I made an effort during my time with these residents to gain insights into their past. While what they could remember or share was minimal every tidbit of information brought me closer to understanding more about them. There are four women I have grown close to along with my two family members for whom I would like to share insights. While I have pictures of my grandma and great aunt, no photos of the residents of the Center were allowed.
2: Miriam- Miriam is a lovely African American woman. I asked her about her younger life and if she had a family, she told me that she lived in a Convent and was a Nun. Miriam was never married and never had kids. I talked to the nurses about Miriam and asked if they knew anything about her life, and they backed up what she told me, she really had been a Nun. Occasionally Miriam believes she is still in the Convent and she introduced me to her roommate as her sister, and she says her room key was given to her by the Father.
3: Donna- Donna is a friendly and caring person that is living in the past. The story I heard from her is that she is headed back home soon, her mother broke her leg and cannot walk so she is headed back to Pennsylvania to help take care of her. Another time her mother had become blind rather than hurting her leg. Donna acts as if the Alzheimer's Center where she lives is just a diner or just where she is for the day.
4: Francis- Francis is a wonderful African American woman that is always happy to see me. She can be kind of violent and rude towards others, but she’s very funny and nice to me. Francis loves hot chocolate and is very fond of her son. She tells me that she is a Deputy Sheriff and that her son is also, but what is interesting is that after talking to the employees they confirmed that Francis’s son is a Deputy Sheriff and she worked as a prison guard. Yet i was informed that her son does not come to visit her, a sad sight after hearing about how much she loves him.
5: Gene- Gene was a skinny, friendly, and active lady that loved to spend time with me. She liked to walk around with me and help however she could. Gene never told me much, but she would recognize me and would always ask “Do your parents know you’re here?” as if she was worried about me. The last couple weeks I noticed a change though, Gene was asleep a lot and not leaving her room as much and wasn’t walking as well. Once returning from spring break I received the news that she had passed away, it was hard because we had grown close but also because I hadn’t thought about losing one of these women.
6: Lillian- Lillian Steele is my 88 year old grandma from Cleveland Ohio. My grandma is a sweet lady who loves the piano but is very forgetful. She has a hard time recognizing her family members and close friends. An interesting story my grandma loves to tell is about her meeting my grandpa it goes like this, “I was your grandpas secretary at the time and I was seeing another guy, but one day before your grandpa left to visit New York he told me ‘when I get home I want you broken up with that man of yours’”. My grandpa died in 1999 and since then she started living with her twin sister.
7: Lillian and my grandpa Lester owned a condo in Florida in which my family and I would visit over spring break. Every year I spend this week with my grandma and have racked up the memories over the years. When I was little I would swim for hours and upon exiting the pool my grandma would be waiting in her chair holding a towel and wrap me up and plop me on her lap until I was dry. Do to Alzheimer’s disease my grandma cannot live on her own and has not gone to her Florida home in three years and my spring break trips with her are no more.
8: Lucille- Lucille Deter is the twin sister of my grandma and is 10 minutes older. To me she was always known as Lulu, she and my grandma never lived more than a few miles apart, they worked at the same location, and were inextricably connected. Lulu was always a follower of my grandma and laughed her way through life. Her husband died when she was in her late 40’s, yet she continued to live a happy and fulfilling life through my grandma and their friends.
9: Lulu and I always had a special connection and we loved to laugh and joke with one another. She liked to act like i was a hot dog and she was going to put mustard and relish on me and eat me up. She would take my hand and bring it toward her stretched open mouth and give it a nice loving bit and we would laugh it off. Lucille broke her ankle early last year and due to Alzheimer’s she no longer talks and has no cognitive abilities. She lives in a nursing home apart from my grandma and because of the disease she will not be able to regain the ability to walk and unfortunately it appears she will remain in the nursing home.
10: Spending time this year studying Alzheimer's and learning all I have has been an adventure. It has been a valuable experience for which I am grateful. A special thanks to the Columbus Alzheimer's Care Center who assisted me throughout the year. Without them this experience would not have been the same. My thoughts and best wishes go out to those who have developed Alzheimer's and their family members.
11: Dedicated to: Lucille Deter and Lillian Steele