I’d like to say a word or two about the “doctor’s” casual use of the word “dementia.” I say this as someone who 1) uses that word in a humorous context (I’ve referred to myself demented. I am not a health care professional and would never use such a diagnosis as a way to belittle anyone), and 2) has lost my mom to Alzheimer’s and have a 93-year-old father who is slowly declining after a series of small strokes that have caused dementia.
Listen to me, Ablow, you contemptible, vile, worthless little lowlife. After tending to my mother’s ten-plus years bout with Alzheimer’s, after having helped nurse a dear friend back to health for years as she recovered from a horrible brain aneurysm, after caring for my grandmother through her agonizing mental deterioration, and after going through the past two years being one of my dad’s caregivers as I watch him gradually fade away, I can state unequivocally that I have some experience dealing with loved ones who suffer from real dementia.
I’ve watched as it dawns on them that they will die from these awful diseases. I’ve watched as they understand that we will all suffer with them. I’ve watched as they become more and more afraid and frustrated, as they realize their fate, just as many of us do as onlookers and caregivers.
I’ve seen what happens first hand. It wasn’t casual. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t a faux-analytical little zinger. It hurt. It was and is excruciating for all involved.
Human beings died.
My dad is going to pass away sooner than later. And guess what, Dr. Flippant… My dad is a retired internist– a legitimate doctor– and even with his terrifying memory lapses and hallucinations, and even being slowed down to a painful crawl at the end of his life, he’s smarter, wittier, and has more compassion than you’ll ever have.
So before you throw around words to score political points on a propaganda network that tosses out lies the way you toss out nasty, self-serving diagnoses, try using what’s left of your own brain. Try empathizing. Try imagining who’s listening and how you’re being perceived.
Or were you drinking before your Fox appearance?
Channeling NPR here:
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