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When Alzheimers Came to General Hospital

You may not know that I am a longtime General Hospital fan. I first watched GH with my grandmother when I was 5. Yes, I know who Dr. Steve Hardy and Nurse Jesse Brewer are and I watched those episodes first shown in black & white. My Grandmother Ward loved medical stories (maybe because she was always in the hospital due to her heart condition) and watching GH was a part of every day.

So, after watching for more than 50 years I have definite opinions about story lines (I will never be a Jasam and will be Liason forever). Currently the show has been running an excellent Alzheimers story involving main character Sonny Corinthos and his father currently played by actor Max Gail. Naturally this story line is close to me having lost so many family members to this disease. I can’t help but think of my mother as Gail’s character loses more and more of himself, retreats to childhood and even becomes violent at times. Almost every aspect of Alzheimers is being shown in its painful act. And while my heart hurts it is a reminder that we need to continue to spend on research to manage this disease and provide affordable services to people who are giving care to family members.

What I most like about this story line is the discussion about what to do with the father as he loses more and more of his facilities. Everyone at the hospital and hospice recommends a first rate facility. That is what I wanted for my mother, but my brother’s felt it was a waste of money and kept mom at home. They felt she was happier that way. I felt she would have benefitted from the specialized care. For my family, it came down to money. At some point, I believe there needs to be a storyline that is not the best case scenario to help people better understand the alternatives and prepare for this disease should it come to their door.

The money that should have been spent on my mom has now been inherited by me. I have placed it in a fund so my family can put me in a facility should ALZ take control (my likelihood is quite high). But know if I am there, I’ll still watch my favorite soap and its well-written stories on current events. t

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