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"Is Daddy going to die?" asked Charlie, her voice quivering

"You're a big girl, so I'll give it to you straight. Yes, your father is going to die. It's impossible to say exactly when, for it can vary widely. AD is as individual as the people who get the illness. Some can live up to twenty years with the disease, though most don't. I can tell you, however, that your father is not in an advanced stage. Most likely, he has years to go before you have to be concerned with death."

"Are you sure Daddy has Alzheimer's?" asked Charlie, hoping that some great mistake had taken place.

"Misplacing the car keys, is quite normal. But, if you have the keys and misplaced the house, you're in trouble. There's a high likelihood that Chuck, I mean, your father has been exhibiting symptoms of AD, even before he was diagnosed. Let me ask you, does he make excessive notes for the most routine tasks?"

"Yes," replied Charlie, almost unwillingly. Charlie knew she could open Chuck's pockets right now, and find fistfuls of notes and reminders. But she had thought this oddity was just her father's way of organizing his life. She had no idea how much he depended on those scraps of paper to remember the simplest of tasks.

"Just because your father keeps excessive notes, by itself, does not necessarily mean that he has AD. Some people simply have poor memories. However, we have too many test results confirming that those notes are a lot more than mere to-do-lists. We are indeed dealing with Alzheimer's Disease."

Dr. Gillis swiveled back to his desk, and addressed Chuck. "Chuck, I'd like you to try a fairly new drug. It's a cholinesterase inhibitor that stops the enzyme, cholinesterase, from breaking down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The drug operates on the theory that the more acetylcholine in the nervous system, the better the nervous system will function. In effect, it might help to improve your memory. Note, I said, 'might.' Now, understand, this drug will not slow the diseases' progression-- nothing can. But it might help. There might be some side effects, but most people have found that they are usually temporary. I've had modest success with this drug, and think you might be able to benefit from using it." Charlie counted the number of "might"s in Dr. Gillis' speech. He had used the word five times.

"I guess nothing's for sure, anymore," thought Charlie. Chuck asked a few questions, and then it was time to leave.

They went outside and waited for their ride. The trio didn't have long to wait, for Jerome soon picked them up, remarking that the doctor's appointment had made him late for a meeting. Everyone was strangely quiet on the drive back home. Dr. Gillis had given them a lot to think about.

Mike Garner looked up from his issue of "Plumbers' Magazine", as his uncle entered the store.

"How'd it go, Uncle Adam?" asked Mike, putting down the magazine. Adam held up his right hand, now bandage-free. "Way to go!" congratulated Mike. Adam walked back to his office, Mike hot on his heels. "You don't seem very happy," observed Mike, leaning against the doorjamb.

"Have you ever considered that we, too easily, take things for granted?" asked Adam.

"What do you mean?" asked Mike.

"You never know how good you have it, until you meet someone worse off than yourself," explained Adam.

"That's usually the way it works," observed Mike. Adam wrinkled his brow, as if deep in thought.

"Now, you're thinking too much," joked Mike, returning to his magazine in the other room.

"Some people don't have that problem," mused Adam.

"Did you call me?" shouted Mike.

"No!" answered Adam, getting up from his chair. "By any chance, you didn't forget that tonight was family dinner night, did you?" asked Adam, sticking his head into the shop.

"Wednesday, already?" asked Mike, in surprise.

Shirley Garner, Adam's younger sister by one year, made a point to invite immediate family over to her house, for what she termed, "family dinner night." It was actually a well-planned excuse to get her brother to come eat at her house instead of remaining at home, alone.
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