Alzheimer’s: Poetic Response

My mother had Alzheimer’s.  Well, actually the doctor said it wasn’t possible at that time to distinguish between Alzheimer’s and other similar conditions.  This poem is a response to her condition and the research I did at the time.  And no, it doesn’t rhyme.

Grasping at Research Straws

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)

not so innocent as online florists:

scientists redefining quality of life.

A protein—progranulin-necessary to

nerve cell function; to remembering

luncheon dates and appropriate

behavior for same.

Clinical research indicates inadequate

progranulin production’s a genetic

mutation causing FTD.

Too late for Mother. Send her roses;

long-stemmed burgundy  petals

peeling down, like the velvet dress

I once found in the back of her closet:

stunning, sensuous.

deliciously sexy on anyone  capable

of flirtation and desire…

does progranulin or lack of it affect

sexual behaviour?

Initial research may lead to treatment

in time, but Mother hovers nears the finish.

I wish researchers Mackenzie and Feldman

Mothers with progranulin rich minds.

ii

frontotemporal dementia

frontal portal into the brain:

sensors removed, wires crossed.

boundaries demolished.

isolation, depression, short circuitry

rerouting synapse to blank space.

gummed up placque, synapse

box cars skidding off the rails.

scientists probe cause and effect:

in effect the brain shrivels

and we die, wandering homeless

in a vast carapace of skin.

Margaret Jean.

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