Book Review: My Journey into Alzheimer’s Disease by Robert Davis (five stars)
“I wish I could tell you that you have cancer.”
With these words from his doctor, Robert Davis’s life turned upside down. This book reports the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by one who had it. Though published in 1989, in the intervening three decades little has changed about the diagnosis and treatment of this progressive thief of the victim’s mind and personality.
“My mind has become a sieve which can only catch and hold certain random thoughts.”
Davis’s perspective is unique because he recognized the symptoms early, communicates clearly, and offers insights from a Christian viewpoint. He honestly reports on the confusion, fear, and despair, but also moments of clarity and hope. Lastly, of course, Bob and Betty his wife offer words of encouragement for the victim, caregivers, family, and acquaintances of those affected.
“Christ is here comforting and giving life meaning, even when all I have to look forward to in this life is becoming a mindless vegetable.”
This book is written by Christians for Christians. Members of other faith communities may find resonance within their traditions. Or not. He reported one specialist declared, “Get real. Tell the truth of how you really feel. Stop denying it with this spiritual stuff. … How can you live in such denial?” He defended his faith and later added, “How can anyone face life—or death—without Christ?”
“God did not promise that when we became Christians we would be lifted above all of the natural trouble to which the rest of humanity is subjected.”
A few years ago I reviewed and recommended Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal; I still do but even more urgently recommend this book as, Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.
“O God, I cannot see you through the darkness that fills my mind and so terrorizes me, but please see me and take care of me in my absolute confusion.”
Not much point to living if you DON’T believe in something/Someone, is there? Even the easiest life is hard – you can’t do it alone, not and survive.
I am going through a medical trauma phase, with the surgery part now happily over, and I have been accompanied every step, carried, comforted. My biggest fear would be losing that when I most need it.