Posted on February 17, 2010 - by Nurse Virginia
Just before leaving for our weekend get away, I received a package from my niece in the mail. No note, just the book. Thinking this might be a good read at the resort, I took it along. Little did I suspect what a page turner this book would be. Lisa Genova puts the reader in the moment with her character, as she goes through the journey of Alzheimer’s disease.
Excerpt from Still Alice – as Alice experiences for the first time the embarrassment of incontinence.
Just as she reached the front door, an urgent pressure in her bladder announced itself, and she remembered that she really had to pee. She hastened back down the hall and opened the door to the bathroom. Only, to her utter disbelief, it wasn’t the bathroom. A broom, mop, bucket, vacuum cleaner, stool, toolbox, light bulbs, flashlights, bleach. The utility closet.
She looked farther down the hall. The kitchen to the left, the living room to the right, and that was it. There was a half bath on this floor, wasn’t there? There had to be. It was right here. But it wasn’t. She hurried to the kitchen but found only one door, and it led to the back porch. She raced over to the living room, but of course, there wasn’t a bathroom off the living room. She rushed back to the hallway and held the doorknob.
“Please God, please God, please God.”
She swung the door open like an illusionist revealing her most mystifying trick, but the bathroom didn’t magically reappear.
How can I be lost in my own home?
She thought about bolting upstairs to the full bath, but she was strangely struck and dumbfounded in the Twilight Zone-like, bathroomless dimension of the first floor. She had an ethereal sense of observing herself, this poor, unfamiliar woman crying in the hallway. It didn’t sound like the somewhat guarded cry of an adult woman. It was the scared, defeated, and unrestrained crying of a small child.
Her tears weren’t all she wasn’t able to contain any longer. John burst through the front door just in time to witness the urine streaming down her right leg, soaking her sweatpants, sock, and sneaker.
“Don’t look at me!”
From: Still Alice by Lisa Genova- Simon & Schuster, New York, N.Y.
I highly recommend Still Alice as a unique look inside the mind of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease, as she shares her perceptions. The reader never really knows what the truth is, because we never get inside the minds of the other characters. We just know as time goes on and Alice tells us, how much more assistance and cues she needs to understand her environment.
Virginia Garberding, R.N.
Director of Education, The Wealshire, Lincolnshire, Illinois
Author: Please Get To Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance
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