Essay-Still Alice by Lisa Genova

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Alice grew and evolved while everybody else changed

Before reading Still Alice, I did not know this is what Alzheimer’s patients went through. I had no clue. I thought they were bed ridden and depressed, secluded in a dark room. But, for Alice this was life and while she grew and developed, others around her changed. Her relationships with her family and colleagues changed. Lisa Genova could not have picked a better disease. I think it was a blessing in disguise for Alice. Of course not to say that she should have gotten it. But, if she had cancer or ALS like what Morrie had in Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, Alice would have been a “hero.” On the contrary, she was repulsed and repelled by her society and her husband failed to understand her. This made her a stronger woman. She grew because she had dementia. Throughout the book, Genova reiterates that we think of success in terms of career and credentials. I am not impervious to that either. A person who is apparently really advanced in his or her career is deemed successful and the people, who work behind the scenes for example, being a mother, are not. Of course, Alice had a very successful career at Harvard. But, when she no longer wore “the imaginary blue ribbon”, she was no longer worth the respect and attention she used to get. Almost everybody’s attitude changed towards her. Alice had recalled them as people who “supported each other through slumps of negative data and grant rejection, through waves of crippling self-doubt, through illness and divorce.” Only this illness was any other but Alzheimer’s. Not only do some people have this attitude towards the disease, I realized that Alzheimer’s patients do not have many resources to begin with. As a society we have not paid attention to inventing some neat gadgets for patients that will allow them to recall important information for example, the directions to their house or the bathroom they could not find. Plus, she could not even find a support...
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