I mean, for goodness sakes – how long does it take people, to cotton-on to the wordage?

That was my initial impression having read the article in today’s Guardian about Andrew Sachs, who died on Wednesday.

He died suffering from dementia.

How hard is it for the mainstream media to cotton-on to the meaning of the words they use, the current cultural context?

Living versus suffering.

Read these and tell me what you think:

Asthma sufferer*

Diabetes sufferer

Depression sufferer

Sure, life is suffering – so Buddha has taught us; in the 21st Century, the new mantra is that suffering is optional. We know what leads to suffering –

Hate

Possessiveness

Avarice

Mendacity

These adjectives all harbour negative connotations. They fall from the sky like Trump tears; greed, hate and, envy – adopt any of these and you can pretty much guarantee suffering.

Why must people who have forsaken any unfair advantage or disposition be associated with suffering?

We don’t choose asthma, diabetes or depression; nor do we choose dementia. It just is. The causes are complex; multifactorial and still not understood. These aren’t optional, neither are they a punishment – just desserts for negative Karma or foolish choices.

Back in the day, it was perceived that cancer, that dirty word – which was still not spoken in polite society as recently as the 1980’s was somehow associated with negative-behaviours – bad diet, bad habits; we now understand the molecular complexity of carcinogenesis – it is not a moral disease, but one controlled solely by genetics, DNA, the environment and chance.

And so too, TB, HIV or any other disease condition or state.

We are humans – we become diseased; we acquire weaknesses and frailties that develop despite our best intentions, our clean living and morality.

As with dementia.

Let’s take the disease and realise that first – suffering is not the state of most people who are living with dementia; they are just – living, and, that living does not carry with it any more significance than does our catching the cold, slipping on ice or waking-up in the morning.

Dementia is terrible. It is an horrific, distorting disease that robs people of themselves.

Let us – that is everyone else, not add to the stigma with Fawlty – like malapropisms; we can do better and we should.

Manuel!… Si?

 

*and all of this is above and beyond the phraseology; our people live with their diseases; diseases do not define our patients. It is person first, disease second.

sachs2

2 thoughts on “Dementia Suffering

  1. We could say that, but how do we know – why is there an assumption of suffering? If I have asthma which affects my life – yes, this has some sort of impact on my family, but are they suffering? Dementia is an existential disease – this is an attempt to reclaim the person.

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