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      It is 3AM and I can't sleep - the medication I have been taken has worn off. I am astounded by all the e-mails I have received from people all over the globe. My heart swells with gratitude from the kind words by people I have never seen - and from some people I have never corresponded with.

     Last Saturday I was forced to go the hospital. I could not drive there myself, but instead one of my closest friends - Phoenix chauffer me to Urgent Care. I had been having medical issues on and off for about a year and these issues and symptoms had stepped up with increasing intensity and frequency. Like too many men I chose to ignore these symptoms instead of doing something about it.

       I did not ignore these symptoms for the typical reasons men do. No, it was for reasons beyond simple machismo. I am like many men in that I do not like to show weakness - which one could argue is a form of weakness. Also, I realize it does no good to dwell on such stuff - worrying never makes an ailment disappear and certainly, despite the kindly assertions from friends and loved ones, most people really don't want to hear about the pain and fear of others.

        I hid my illness for what I felt to be practical reasons. What practical reasons you may ask? It is a fair question, a question I have asked myself; a question that needed answering. In the past six months, I lived with the dread that I was developing Alzheimer's Disease. A disease from which my mother died at the early age of 62. The disease hit my Mother in her mid forties and it took her down hard.

        Because there are those in the medical community that believe their is a genetic link... I had reason for concern - though even identical twins who have the alleged genetic markers for Alzheimer's can throw some confusion as to who the disease will chose to strike and who it will spare. One twin may get the disease and the other will never show any signs of developing any sort of dementia.

         Obviously genetics is not the only factor - otherwise all identical twins with these genetic markers would get the disease. Still, knowing all this has not completely wipe away all of my concerns. Up until the past six months I really have not given the possibility that I may be at risk much thought. 

        I am not one to worry about things I have no control over. Worrying about such stuff does not help and in fact could only hinder your health. Since there are obviously a whole constellation of factors and events needed to trigger this disease, I simply chose to live a healthy lifestyle. Simple really - eat good, get your sleep, workout, have good social networks and keep your life stimulating and hang out with people who fit and follow that criteria.

       Years ago, shortly after my mother died, I decided I needed to develop a strategy in the event that I showed signs of developing Alzheimer's. Option A and Option B were my back up plans. With Option A, in the event that I started exhibiting symptoms to a definitive degree I would increase my frequency of the dangerous sports I most enjoy - such as scuba diving and sky diving and I would just let nature takes it's course. The simple formula of: as cognitive abilities diminished - the greater likelihood that fatality would occur. Not a bad deal I think... dying while doing something you enjoy.  I even toyed with other dangerous activities of which I had never engaged in and have always both intrigued and scared the hell out of me - such a bull riding, extreme motocross and perhaps even marriage - though the last choice may be too extreme.

        In the event that symptoms of Alzheimer's came on too quickly, or if perhaps I waited too long for Option A to fulfill its desired outcome - then Option B would be my back up. Option B is where I go up beyond the snow line with some rocking music, a bottle of grain alcohol and grapefruit juice and perhaps I will try heroin for the first time. Why not? It's not likely I will develop a pesky addiction.

        If I am unable to get to the snow line on my own, I have a few close friends that love me enough to put me out of my misery - although I acquired more than a handful people who are anything but my friends that would be all too glad to take into the wilderness to expire.















































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