Marcel’s Story!

Julie is Marcel’s new-found friend. Interestingly, Julie’s daughter, Anna, decided to check Marcel out. One day, Anna called Marcel and asked him to meet her in the common room downstairs. Anna wanted to know all there was to know about Marcel.

Marcel had previously prepared his resume in order to obtain a good place to live in Williamsburg, so Marcel smiled at Anna and presented his profile:

Marcel Wade, Ph.D., is a retired corporate research scientist and an octogenarian Asian American. Marcel’s experience in the West commenced about 60 years ago as an international student at a Canadian University. He completed his doctorate in biomedical science. During his stay in Canada, Marcel fell in love with Sonia, an Asian-Western woman who was also a graduate student. They got married and had a beautiful daughter named Abigail. Marcel moved back to his native state, Jammu, and Kashmir, in India. Due to political turmoil in the country, Marcel and his family transferred to the United States about 50 years ago. Following an initial struggle, Marcel found a position as a research scientist with a food company in New York; he worked there while living with his family in Westchester County, New York. After retirement, Marcel and his wife moved to Maui, Hawaii, while their daughter continued her studies at Columbia University. Abigail became a doctor and is currently a practicing physician in Hawaii. Her husband, John, is also a doctor, and they live on the main island of Hawaii. Marcel’s wife, Sonia, left Marcel to be with an artist; she said goodbye to Marcel and got married. Marcel then left Maui and settled in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Marcel voluntarily showed Anna the report he had received from one of the neurological psychologists who had tested him for many psycho-neurological abnormalities, including behavior. One sentence in this report stated, “Marcel is a good man.” Since Marcel wanted to be Julie’s friend and knew that Anna took care of her mother, he felt that Anna had the right to know all about him. Marcel did not mind this as he has nothing to hide. Marcel considers himself to be a high-quality person. Anna was happy to find out that her mother has a good friend. Julie can take care of herself only up to a certain point and therefore has a companion service dog.

 

The world is full of good people. You have to find one.

Marcel found one. Julie is one of them.

Selina’s student at art school, Julie, is Marcel’s new found friend. Julie lives nearby in Commonwealth Senior Living in Williamsburg. There is a good bus service between the two places where Julie and Marcel live. Marcel and Julie meet often. They both like to talk.  At times it is very difficult for Marcel to continue the conversation but Marcel is also a good listener.

Julie is different in many ways. Julie is an enthusiastic person. At times she is dominating talker and aggressive She seems to know lot about life. She knows everything. Always ready to help. Julie has a wonderful memory. She describes things as if like a photographic memory. Her memories about her parent’s last few years must have been heart breaking. Whenever she talks about it, she almost breaks down. Alzheimer’s takes toll on its caregivers.

Sometime, Marcel complains about too many things about his life. He found Julie has the patience for it. Marcel does not know much about Alzheimer’s. He has Alzheimer’s and has many unanswered questions for his well-beings. Nobody seems to care. Marcel wonders whether Julie would have any answer for him.

Julie got interested in caring people with Alzheimer’s, as her both parents had Alzheimer’s, and she cared for them till the end.

Julie asked Marcel straight out: “What’s bothering you? I happened to know you a little bit from Selina. So, to save both of our time, please get straight to the point.” Marcel knew Julie is smart.

Julie asked Marcel, “When, exactly, did you or your doctors suspected know about your possible dementia? Was it right after his mini-stroke suffered more than five years ago? Or was it just a recent observation and diagnosis by a neurologist?”

It is difficult for Marcel, but he thought to himself that he is going to give it a try. Marcel explained to Julie his health situation.

After much thought, Marcel answered: “It is both. After the stroke, one doctor only mentioned the word dementia. He did not do anything about it, nor the doctor explained anything to me. A couple of years later, when I started getting bothered by memory loss, my doctor referred Marcel to a neurologist, and it took about six months for the neurologist to diagnose and start Marcel with a new medication for Alzheimer’s.”

Marcel began to feel a little better. Marcel started to read and write. Julie knew that her parents time these medications were not available.

Marcel feels that his expectations for himself and for others are high and demanding.

Marcel demands it of himself and the people around him, ended up: nobody likes him anymore.

 

Mixed Reality

I live in a mixed reality. My time and mind are engaged with my purpose in my life—the rest of it. I spend a good part of my day, reading and writing. What I do, I feel is very hard to do, yet continue to do it with pleasure (if I can feel it). I do it because I want to do it. There are millions in the world are in the same predicament. I want them to know that you can live a normal life. My next book is about that. I am working.

My emotional part of the memory is gone. It is a different feeling. You exist in a vacuum. Like, I know somebody for fifteen years, all the memories are not erased, may be only part of it. The emotional feeling has been erased. I am still a part of the world, but, in reality, I feel I am gone to a different world. I am all alone. Even at home, I live alone in my mind.

I read about ‘brain science.’ The knowledge of memory functions is new. The authors are telling me that it is only last twenty years, the science of mind is revealing. We are in a new realization phase. We are living longer. New brain cells are possible. Neuron firing and new connections have been evidenced. You can live well at old age. Can be different.

Why I Do What I Do…

This is why!

I took the wheelchair handle from Selina’s daughter’s grip and walked with her. I walked with Selina on many days. I listened very carefully what she had to say. Mostly she was talking about her recent experience with other elders who she teaches in her art class. Her experiences were telling her that it is critical that we keep our brain active for coping with old age memory loss. She still believes that saffron use in diet can help the improvement of mild cognitive impairments at old age. A tough love for saffron.
She said to me: “Will you write about saffron and the old age memory loss story for me; people has the right to know how to handle themselves at old age.”

Her granddaughter Diana and Diana’s husband Kumar both are neuroscientists. I spoke with them. They both are continuing Selina’s work on understanding old age memory loss and how to’s to slow it down. They have the permission from Selina to use her life-long work on saffron.

My brief walk with Selina changed the way I view the world. I begin to see the value of Selina’s vision of magic of saffron. Humanity matters.

So, I decided to write the story of you at old age. We are sensitive to our surroundings, who we are at old age depending upon where we have been.

Mike and Selina

 

Remember Mickey? (my Post, June 10,2016).

Mike was telling me his love story with Selina over a cup of coffee.

Mike’s Story:

Ravi, you know I liked sports in my high school life. When Selina left Brooklyn for Harvard I was heart broken. I did not make either in sports, or in high school. I quit. My father was very disappointed. It did not matter to my mother. She was happy as long I am in good health. And I was in good health. Some how she liked my relationship with Selina, but, she could not do anything about it. Going forward in my life, my father wanted to help me out. He offered me job in his business. My father had import business handed over by his parents. They imported coffee from Kenya, Africa. I was already eighteen years old and I wanted to explore my options in my life by myself. Besides, I did not like that business, anyway. Nevertheless, my father wanted to help. I struggled many days on his proposal. I asked my father to support me with a minimum wage/hour amount until I find something I wanted to do. My father agreed. In those days, even though I was missing Selina very much, I was not in contact with Selina either. We did not break-up last time we were together, but Selina said maybe we see each other again. She had lot in her mind, then. MiKe took a breath and continued.

I tried many things; nothing seemed to work for me. I tried truck driving, and taxi driving; I did well, but I did not like it, sitting all day. Then I tried to work with a moving company where driving and lifting skill are required. When I found out that the dispatcher policy to discriminate who goes where in what neighbor hood, I got angry and quit. It appeared to me I was getting very good in quitting. I kept on trying.

A year later, I went to Harvard campus stadium to watch a football game. The home team was playing that day. I found one my ex-classmate from high school was playing in that game. I remember I was a better player in high school than he was, but he was a far better student. After the game, I went to see him. He recognized me. We played in the same team in high school. He was happy to see me. Difference is he made it and I didn’t. He knew my parents were rich. He suggested that if I still wanted to hang around the stadium, he would talk to the management about it. Management liked my attitude and love for the game and offered me a job to become one of the team members to take care of the stadium. I accepted it and never looked for a job again. I told my father that I found what I wanted to do in my life.

It took another year for me to contact Selina. My friend encouraged me to go for it. He had brains, I didn’t. My friend knew my relationship with Selina back in high school.

I said to myself that I just met a good man.