A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne
K. Young, Associate Editor.
It was a sweltering Phoenix Friday in early June, the type of day where
you get hot, then sweaty, three steps outside your morning shower. I was making
rounds for the last time at the Alzheimer Residence, where I had been caring
for 15 residents since the beginning of my geriatrics fellowship one year
ago. Walking in, had I allowed it, I could have gotten sentimental. Soon I
would be leaving for a geriatrics job in Michigan, done with fellowship, ready
to take my boards. In 11 short months, I had grown strangely affectionate
toward, even growing to love, these 80- and 90-year-olds. None of them remembered
me from month to month, and none would notice my absence, nor my sudden replacement
with a “new fellow” come July 1. Alzheimer disease. It’s
terrible, robbing people not only of their memories, but their personhood.
Who they were. What they did. What made them laugh, cry. My Grandma walked
this very same path, ten years ago. Maybe that’s why I found them all
so easy to love.
Keane English S. Saying Good-bye. JAMA. 2005;293(19):2321-2322. doi:10.1001/jama.293.19.2321