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ICE CREAM IN THE CUPBOARD by Pat Moffett

ICE CREAM IN THE CUPBOARD

By Pat Moffett


The poignant story of Moffett’s wife's Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The author’s wife, Carmen, began to exhibit disconcerting behavior when she reached her early 50s. The moments of forgetfulness were perplexing to both of them, but it was the mood swings that really caught the author off-guard. Carmen would turn on a dime, becoming rude and violent–behavior out of keeping with her character. With considerable polish and frankness, Moffett details the progress of the disease: the increasingly erratic behavior that could blossom with alarming speed into delusional rage (“You son of a bitch! You killed my girlfriend, Linda, and then you paid for the funeral!”); the loss of her short-term memory (she occasionally manages to laugh at her own forgetfulness–“So that’s it!” she says to her husband. “It’s your birthday. Damn.”); the respites when lucidity would return and teasingly raise hopes; the gradual dimming of her self-identity all the way to its vanishing point. Likewise, Moffett tracks his own diminishment; overwhelmed and exhausted, his life drained of color by this inexorable disappearance, he is a textbook case of the disease claiming two victims. The process of telling his story provides the author with the opportunity to relive the times before the disease. Equally as important, though, the author crystallizes the issues surrounding Early Onset Alzheimer’s, a disease that will become increasingly prevalent as baby boomers move through their 50s.

Cathartic and cautionary.