What We Will Do For Brain Health – Looking For Heroes

Death and the Maiden #2

Image by CapCat Ragu via Flickr

My dad is turning seventy-seven tomorrow folks.  He could have died a gazillion times before now, but it is the tumbling of those near-deaths into big life that teaches and recruits me.  He makes life feel like open space, warm skin, color and lyrics.  Now his spine is crumbling, his legs are weak, his lips are always moving in and out like a rabbit and he’s almost too hard of hearing to comfortably socialize with.  Still, it is the life, the interest he has, the way he doesn’t stop growing that somehow dims the many times he might have died.  Why does the one time he will die seem impossible to juxtapose against any future then?  Where will life go, if he is not there to infuse us with his humble will?  I think it may fall asleep with him but I know it will not and I cannot imagine it otherwise.

These past few posts we have talked about “special efforts” for brain illness.  We asked, “Is there any treatment you think is too extreme to consider to get brain health?”  We have not said the reason we cannot fairly answer.

I don’t know how life will be without Dad; we never know how life will be when our brain is bad and then more bad.  It’s hard to tell.  We can only imagine and usually our imagination will be wrong anyhow.

Any answer to this question, “Is there treatment you think is too extreme to consider to get brain health?” is shaped by our understanding of what “extreme” means.  It changes shape and margins with the degree of brain illness.  With each turn, as our disease process exacerbates, so progresses our willingness to believe what is reasonable versus what is “extreme.”

Many of you have told us of your own specifics in your fight for brain health.  People do heroic things and I’m thinking you and I might have a bit of a living hero in us.  In part, it is the inherent unknown in growth that testifies to life itself.

“Is there treatment that you think is too extreme to consider to get brain health?”  I imagine my answer would be, no.  Please tell us more about yours.  Your view from your degree of extreme helps.  Keep talking.

Self-Care Tip – Let the hero in you speak, grow you and testify to life.

20 thoughts on “What We Will Do For Brain Health – Looking For Heroes

  1. This is a tough issue. I watched Alzhiemers whittle away my neighbor and hear of how it is detroying my aunts and taking a toll on their families. I think the family must choose (as difficult as it is) what treatments are extreme or if the victim has expressed wishes prior to condition then it should be honored….then again new procedures surface. I realize there are other brain function illnesses other than Alzhiemers but that seems to be what has affected those I know the most.

  2. I just had my weekend with mom and my sister. Once a month a have them both in my house for two days and when its over I am totally drained. I am lucky to have three other sisters that do there part. My mother has Alzheimer and my sister R. is mentally disabled. R. is an angel, but she needs help in many ways. My mom is the queen of denial, she always was, she thinks she is very healthy (in a way that’s true, all her numbers are normal) and that her memory and hearing are in pretty good shape, but the reality is that her memory is bad and her hearing is too, but still she does not want to use a hearing aid. She keeps asking about the same things every second of the day and in the evening its about her father, if I told him she was staying with me for the night. I put them to bed and she comes back time after time to ask me about her father and how worried he must be about her. There is not much conversation with her, she remembers very little about the past. My mother is very attached to my sister R., they like to seat together hand by hand watching tv and if R. is not by her side, she goes after her. I never had a good relationship with my mother so it takes double energy to be present and loving. She is still the same mother I had before, it feels like those things I didn’t like about her will be there until the end but its her fragility and vulnerability that moves me now. I know one of these days we’ll have to keep them in their environment even on the weekends, mother does not adjust well being away from home and even there she wonders if that is her home.

    Doc, I can understand how you feel…. it is not an easy ride……..

  3. “his humble will”. What a beautiful picture you painted with your words. His humble will. I have not thought of will and humble going together and they so DO! Humble will. That makes me smile.

    As I sit today at this moment, I don’t think there is an extreme I would not go to to have mental health.

    As I am healing my body and such right now, what I am really having to do is have an open mind. The body healing is coming from brain healing, and emotional healing (for lack of a better word to use).

    I think the openness I have is most important for me right now. Because the solutions to my health don’t look like I thought they would. I am open to all sorts of things to heal, and its working. I have fear sometimes because “it” doesn’t look like what I think it should and I don’t know if “it” is working. So I remind myself to have faith. God has put all of these “things” in place for me to heal.

    As you said “bad and more bad”, what is required?

    For me its being open to the experience whatever it is and knowing through Faith that God has placed me in a place for healing. There are signs along the way, that show me that God is lighting the path and I am indeed in the right place. Like this blog for example! The emails you send us are a huge sign I am in the right place.

    Healing doesn’t always look like we think it will and me having faith to all the different sides of it could be extreme perhaps. It doesn’t always look like I think it will!

    Is that my own form of “humble will”. Perhaps that is the key to extreme?

    Thanks as always, and love to your Dad and you today.


  4. When you write about your dad it seems like a description I would use for what I know about you. He will live forever inside you and his grandchildren.
    You have so much because you are his daughter. You will hear your dad talking to and guiding you for as long as you live. You will never lose him.

    Extreme…Hard question to answer without knowing what good brain health is like. On “Survivor” Jeff asks “wanta know what you’re playing for”. Jeff then pulls off the cover and you see fish hooks or food. How can you show the tangible in good brain health? I can tell you for now; I would fight to a great degree to keep on the path I’m on today. Thank you Dr. Q.

  5. Belated birthday wishes to your Dad. Thanks for your lovely post about him.
    The point that stands out for me is him still having an interest in things. That, for me, makes such a difference (all the difference?) – like the infectious enthusiasm of a college lecturer who was an expert on lusophone Africa (David Birmingham his name was).
    Like my late Granny, who mind ranged far beyond where her legs could carry her.

  6. My parents live with me last 9 years. Both approaching 88. They don’t drive and I cook but other than that both fairly independent in household and still chugging away. My mother, bless her, insists on doing my laundry ! Must be that Roman blood. We never really die. We decline. And it takes over 700 years.

  7. Despite lots of familiarity with the many ways the brain can malfunction and of the common treatments for brain malfunction I am going to beg-off from predicting what I would do under any particular circumstance or a general question of ‘what if’ my brain malfunctions. I do know that making decisions for one of my parents after a stroke was an ongoing struggle – each decision discreet in the time and circumstances. Also very hard to predict – what will I do for my husband, if necessary? For one of my children? I cannot predict. Can.Not.

    • your comment reminds me of our daughter and her experience in a coma and brain injury 7 years ago. you just fly by the seat of your pants and hope to make educated decisions at the time. i love your use of the word “discrete”. i think just being really as honest as you can in the given time is really important. honest about you and them and the rest of the family. we are blessed that she is at university and doing so very well. but, its a really tough place to be for everyone, siblings, us, friends, extended family, community. we are one big family in many respects.

  8. Hi Sana. Just reviewed about 30 days of blogs. Very good. I really enjoy reading the comments from everyone.
    On your Dad, he is a prince of a guy and I always enjoy seeing him and hearing about his travels and the work he has done. I lost my dad 9 years ago and I think about him at different times and always reminds me of the cool things I learned from him. He lives on in me.

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