RANT: When Alzheimer’s Hits at 40


When Alzheimer’s Hits at 40

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One evening in 2003, after yet another test, a type of brain scan called a positron emission tomography, Mr. Kammerer’s physician called. Sitting in their bedroom, Mr. and Mrs. Kammerer got on separate phones to listen in.

“Mrs. Kammerer, I have some terrible news,” she remembers the doctor saying. “I believe your husband has Alzheimer’s.”

Mrs. Kammerer dropped to her knees. She recalls that her husband didn’t understand what was going on and told the doctor, “You have to hold on, something’s wrong with my wife.” They locked the bedroom door so the children couldn’t walk in. After Mrs. Kammerer explained to her husband that he had been diagnosed with a form of dementia, they sat quietly. “Your life kind of flashes before your eyes,” she says.

Mr. Kammerer had private disability insurance, but he relied on his job at Clipper for the family’s health insurance. Another significant concern was the cost of the children’s private school education. Mr. Kammerer decided to work as long as possible.

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This story has lessons on so MANY levels:

(1) Medicine ain’t science.

(2) We have no idea of the really BAD things that can happen to us out of the blue.

(3) What we call “bad” is at worst a speed bump in our daily lives and probably a petty annoyance.

(4) Disability insurance is “cheap” insurance; like life insurance.

(5) You are the expert on “you” and how you feel.

Prayers have to go out to this family.

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