Friday, October 3, 2014

Will you please join me in the battle to combat Alzheimer’s?

The Walk to End Alzheimer's is this Saturday. If you are in Nashville and can join me, please do. The letter below tells why I am walking to end Alzheimer's and how Alzheimer's has touched my life. For those who have prayed for me and Louella and offered words of encouragement, thank you. For those who have contributed to the cause, I appreciate it.  If you have not contributed and would like to do so, I would be greatly appreciative. If you can't afford much, any amount would be appreciated. You can contribute by following this link. I know the worse part of this journey is ahead and I know finding a cure is too late to help my sweet Louella, but finding a cure will help others escape this terrible disease. Please continue to lift us up in prayer. Thank you, Rod

My dear friends,

Will you please join me in the battle to combat Alzheimer’s?

My life has been touched by this terrible illness.  My wife has been diagnosed for almost ten years now but probably had it for a couple years before that and she is
Louella in her cast
now in the advanced stages of the disease.

On October 11th, I will be taking part in the Nashville Walk to End Alzheimer's. Louella is currently in rehab, but if she is out, I hope she can walk with me. Would you please sponsor us in this walk? A contribution of any amount will be appreciated. Can you contribute $5 or $10? If you will click on this link, it will take you to my donation page.  (Once on that page, just click on "$ Donate to my team" and then it takes you to another page where you can submit your credit card information. This is a secure site administered by the Alzheimer Association. After submitting your donation you will receive a confirmation message.

If you are more comfortable writing a check, make the check out to “Alzheimer’s Association” and mail it to me and I will turn it in. My address is Rod Williams, 758 Roycroft Pl. Nashville, TN. 37203.

If you are here in Nashville and can join me for the walk, I would be honored. We will be walking a two mile walk starting at the Public Square Park, which is the park in front of the Courthouse.  Registration is at 8:00 am, Ceremony at 9:00 am, and the Walk is at 9:30 am. They have coffee and pastry that morning or they have in the past and I assume they will.  To join the "Rod and Louella Team" in the walk to end Alzheimer click on this link and then click “join my team.”  If you fail to register for the walk and want to join us at the last minute, just show up and look for me.

Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging and just getting senile. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that damages and eventually destroys brain cells, leading to loss of memory, thinking and other brain functions. Alzheimer's usually develops slowly and gradually gets worse as more brain cells wither and die. Ultimately, Alzheimer's is fatal, and currently, there is no cure. Unless a cure is found, you or someone you love may develop this disease. Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. It is the 6th leading cause of death. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

If you are a reader of this blog and live here in Nashville, some of you probably know Louella from
Louella and Sue, taken last year in New Orleans
my civic involvement and political activity. She has gone with me almost every place I have gone for about the last ten years up until the last year. She was usually happy and smiling and enjoyed being at events. Most of this time she still had good social skills despite her illness. Despite her illness we tried to live a normal life and for the most part, life was still good. Unfortunately that has changed. Now, much of the time Louella is unhappy and often agitated. This last year and a half has been rough, especially the last three months. Louella has lost most of her vocabulary skills and mumbles nonsensical syllables. She still knows me and she know her caregiver Sue, but I don't know that she knows other people.

In June, I put Louella in Parthenon Pavilion, a mental hospital.  The reason, I put her in there is that she was not sleeping.  Some nights she would sleep maybe two or three hours and sometimes maybe a couple hours but in 15 or 30 minute increments.  She had slept all night long only a couple night in the prior two weeks. Her not sleeping was taking a toll on me. Being on medication and exhausted from not sleeping, she would stumble and fall. I was afraid she would hurt herself so I put her in the hospital. Then things got worse.  She was in there a month and while there, supposed to be under one-on-one supervision, she fell and broke her ankle.  It was a bad break, broke in five places.  She then went to the hospital and had to have two operations.  While in the hospital she developed Pneumonia.  She spend two periods in the intensive care unit and I was afraid she was going to die.

After about a month in the hospital, she was moved to a rehab facility called Good Samaritan. She was free of pneumonia before leaving the hospital and Louella is stronger than she was. She had lost a lot of weight, but is now back up to almost her normal weight and she has a good appetite. Her ankle is healing and she goes to the doctor in a couple weeks and if all goes well the cast will be removed.

I have been so disappointed in the whole process of being involved in the health care system. At all
April 2007 at the Inauguration Ball for Bill Haslam
three institutions, I have felt that people would not know what they were doing. As an example, where she is now, she is supposed to have no weight on her broken leg, yet a tech would come in and try to get her to stand to get out of the wheel chair to the bed.  I would tell him she is to have no weight on that leg and he would say he didn't know and he would then get help moving her, but the next day a different tech would not know. While there have been some people who have been very sweet to Louella, often patients are treated like something to be processed, not like you would want the person treated if she was your mother. Louella went to the hospital because she could not sleep and ended up with a broken leg and pneumonia. Avoid going to the hospital if you can.

There is a risk that Louella may not be able to walk when the cast comes off. Some people with Alzheimer forget how to walk and cannot relearn after something like this. Also, her sleeping is still not regulated.  I still plan to bring her home, but am not sure how I will manage.  We still have Sue working for us.  She has been with us for almost four years now.  She is so sweet to Louella and really loves her.  I don't know what I would do without Sue.

It is sad to watch Louella fade away and difficult to face the inevitable. Louella and I have had a
We were married in a ceremony at our home Dec. 4th, 2005
wonderful portion of our life together.  I just wish I would have met her much earlier than I did and shared more of my life with her.  (See How Ayn Rand changed my life.) We really were soul mates. She shared my passion for political ideas and current events. We had read the same books and knew a lot of the same stuff. We could talk for hours. She was my best friend and we grew as a couple.  We learned about wine together.  We cooked together and became pretty good at cooking Thai and Asian foods, finding new receipts and searching for the best authentic ingredients. We shared an appreciation together of art and architecture and history and learned more together. And, we travelled. Every year for about ten years before she got sick we took a great vacation together. We would spend months studying, reading history of the country we were to visit and we traveled cheap with nothing but one rolling suitcases each and two good guide books. We really experienced the countries we visited. We went to Italy, Spain, Turkey, Greece, the Czech Republic, Hungary and more. Our trips were adventures and romantic. (See Drinking wine in Turkey.)

It is too late to find a cure for Alzheimer’s that will help Louella, but a cure will save others from this terrible disease. Please join me in the fight against Alzheimer’s by sponsoring my walk. Just follow this link and follow the instructions. Please keep us in your prayers and thank you.

 Rod Williams

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1 comment:

  1. I want you to know that I very much admire the obvious love and care you have for your wife, Louella. I want you to know that I have written it down so that I will not forget to pray for the both of you in a regular way. May God grant you even more wisdom and love in the days to come.