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"That's my friend," declared Maggie, happily.

"Go home, Maggie's friend," advised Officer Erickson. "You've done all you can." As the squad car pulled away, Maggie waved good-bye.

"What a weird town," puzzled Charlie, waving back to Maggie.

Charlie returned home, just as Vera was setting the table. Vera's prediction came true-- Chuck did feel better after a rest. Lunch passed in relative calm, for Charlie tried hard to do nothing that would upset her father in such a way that would send him off to the bedroom for another rest.

Since Vera could not drive, and Chuck didn't feel confident enough to get behind the wheel, Jerome drove everyone to Dr. Gillis' office. After dropping them off, Jerome returned to Mullen-Overholt.

The Overholts waited for their turn to see Dr. Gillis in the waiting room. Charlie, who was unaccustomed to medical facilities of any kind, wrinkled her nose at the antiseptic appearance of the room. The walls were white and bare; the ceiling was white and bare; and the floor was white and bare. Charlie sighed impatiently. They had been waiting for hours (or so it seemed to her). Didn't the patient with Dr. Gillis right now, know that people were waiting out here? Charlie shifted in her seat and rapped her fingers nervously on the armrest of her chair. Vera, who was quite used to doctors' offices, chatted pleasantly with someone else in the waiting room about something in which Charlie had no desire to eavesdrop. While Vera accepted Charlie's impatient attitude as immaturity, Chuck knew better. He recognized the fear in his daughter's face. She had been calm and relaxed at lunch, but now she was anxious and pensive.

"Try to relax," said Chuck, giving his daughter a calm smile. Charlie was about to respond that she was, when the examination room door opened.

"If you experience any discomfort, use the creme I prescribed," said Dr. Gillis, standing in the doorway.

"Thank you," replied the patient, exiting the examination room. As he turned, Chuck caught glimpse of a familiar face.

"Adam!" exclaimed Chuck, getting up from his seat. "I never expected to see you here!"

"Dr. Gillis just removed the last of the bandages," explained Adam, holding up his right hand.

"Thank the Lord," said Chuck.

"Amen to that," smiled Adam.

"I think you already met my daughter, Charlie," said Chuck, motioning his daughter to come over and say hello. Charlie got up and stood beside her father, too embarrassed to look the plumber in the eye. Just the day before, she had introduced herself as Wendy-- not Charlie Overholt. "She tells me that you and your nephews gave her a ride, yesterday. I can't thank you enough for bringing my Charlie safely to me," continued Chuck, gratefully.

"It was our pleasure," replied Adam.

"Chuck Overholt, Dr. Gillis will see you now," announced the receptionist.

"I have to go," said Chuck, shaking Adam's un-bandaged hand. "Thank you, again." As Adam walked away, Chuck turned to his daughter. "Why didn't you say, 'thank you'?" he asked. "I don't want him to think we're ungrateful."

Dr. Gillis gave Chuck an examination, while the ladies waited outside. After the examination was over, Dr. Gillis opened the door and asked Vera and Charlie to step in. This involved them, also.

"Vera, I know you've been through this, before. But Charlie, you haven't. So, when you have a question, and I know you will, please don't hesitate to ask," said Dr. Gillis, sitting down in a black chair behind his desk. "Chuck, since you tell me that your daughter has never had any personal experience with AD, before now, I'd like to begin at the basics," said the doctor, swiveling his chair in Chuck's direction.

"I'd appreciate that," replied Chuck. Dr. Gillis swiveled back to Charlie.

"I understand this might be scary for you to hear, but knowledge of the facts is our best defense against fear," began the doctor. Actually, faith and confidence in God is our best defense against fear, but Dr. Gillis did not know this. "Your father has Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease, a progressive and incurable illness. Because Alzheimer's Disease, or AD, destroys nerve cells in the brain, it causes frequent and increasing forgetfulness, confusion, and personality changes. These symptoms are progressive, which means they grow worse over time." Dr. Gillis' voice was straight forward and matter-of-fact. He had given this speech hundreds of times before, and this time was no different. "Do you have anything you want to ask me, yet?" asked the doctor, pausing.
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