My father had Alzheimer’s disease. He knew he was losing his memory as early as his 65th birthday, and he took me aside to tell me that he was divesting of all trusts where he was the trustee and trying to “get out from under” all obligations, because he was losing his memory.
When I tried to pooh pooh his concerns, telling him that all older adults lose a step or two in terms of memory, he was insistent that this was more serious. “I can feel it inside my head, Con. I know it’s more than that.”
Not long after, he went to the post office in the family auto, went inside to get his mail and walked home, leaving his car running in the street outside, keys still in it. The postmaster called our house and said, “Uh…John. Your car is outside. You left it running and it ran out of gas. Maybe you can come get it?”
I remember when I drove my mother and my father to the Mayo Clinic to the emergency room, because my father’s colon cancer was getting worse and he had no pain pills nor any medication for sleeping through the night. He was getting up in the night and falling and he broke his ribs, a painful (and unnecessary) injury
When we got to the Mayo Clinic, I was told to drive my ailing father directly to the emergency room, which I did. The scenes with Glen Campbell being asked, “Who’s the president, Glen?” “What day is it, Glen?” and other such mundane questions, instantly took me back.
Alzheimer’s is a brutal disease. Ultimately, the patient no longer has the ability to understand things that are said to him or here. Language ability can become profoundly impaired. Patients can forget family members and not recognize them. Somehow, that musical skill if it’s activate can help the brain globally if it is activated in Glen Campbell’s case.
They’re giving Glen Campbell Arracept which is causing him to become horny, apparently. (My dad was given Arracept, and that was 1986.)
His wife says: Depending on how you look at it, perhaps there’s an “up” side to Alzheimers (she says he is after her 4x a day after they double his Arracept.)
(I remember that my dad took Arracept. He said it made him feel “fuzzy.” He didn’t like the feeling at all. He also tried to “joke” his way out of questions which he couldn’t answer, like, “Who was our first President, John?”
Statistic mentioned: 115 million Alzheimers patients around the globe.
Last year, $140 billion was spent on Alzheimers in the U.S.
$600 billion will be needed by the time all baby boomers retire. The (D) Senator from Massachusetts is championing the governmental effort to get more funds for Alzheimers research.
May 12, 2012, Campbell played at the Library of Congress. Bill Clinton is talking about his knowledge of Glen Campbell as being from Delight, Arkansas, which is near Hope, where Clinton grew up. Clinton urged more dollars for bio-medical research. “This tour of his may be more of his enduring legacy than all the music he made.”
The film shows him playing the Hollywood Bowl and Boston and the Ryman in Nashville.
Words of one song his daughter sings:
“Daddy don’t you worry: I’ll do the remembering.”
Cal, Shannon and Ashley are the 3 children he had with Wife #4.
“This was a man with a mind like a steel trap and he couldn’t remember my name,” says his longtime bus driver.
Bruce Springsteen talks about his grandfather dying of it.
Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers lost his father at 70 from Alzheimers.
Brad Paisley’s grandmother and great grandmother both had it.
Kathy Mattea (musician) said her mother regressed and thought she was a young girl again.
Glen’s wife, Kim: “I don’t want to see him stop being an individual. I don’t want to see him degenerating. I don’t want to see Glen in that condition. I think it’s better to die from something else.”
Brad Paisley would like someone to “find that gene and turn it off before I’m 70,” (he’s now 40) as he has a high probability of inheriting the gene.
Glen’s long-term memory is great, but his short-term memory is what is degenerating. He remembers things from way back, as did my own dear departed father.
Kelli Campbell is another daughter (old) and Debby Campbell-Cloyd is another (older). They look to be at least in their forties or fifties.
There is a scene where Glen has something wrong with his teeth. He won’t go to the dentist and is belligerent about it. “I’m telling you, Man.” He is acting very loud and belligerent about something stuck in his teeth and is using a large knife to try to pick it out.
Campbell is shown in bed before a show he is to do at Carnegie Hall. He looks absolutely exhausted (Concert #113).
The Art Institute of Chicago had him come perform. He had a really hard time performing anything at that dinner.
His wife, Kim: “This is not a fun illness. It’s a challenging illness to deal with every moment of their lives. He can’t find the bathroom in his own house.”
His wife says, “Every day is a challenge for me.” She describes it as “intensely sad. Generally, he clings to me. I’m his safety blanket. He wants me around all the time.” (This was like my mother and my dad).
They (patients) become paranoid and begin to think that people are stealing from them. Glen becomes convinced that his best friend is stealing his golf clubs. (My dad became convinced that he was being held prisoner against his will, Also, some become delusional and see things, which my dad also did, although he was on heavy-duty pain medication for colon cancer, so the pink snakes he saw on the baseboard of his bedroom might have been from pain medication.
(Nov., 2012): After Chicago, the frequency of bad shows began to increase. They wanted to go out on a high note. “We’ve reached a point where he’s not capable of doing it.”
His wife: “That tour was crazy when he was offstage because he didn’t want to stay in the hotel room. He went around the hotel pressing everybody’s doorbells because he thought they were elevator buttons.”
By the time they got to Napa (the last show) they knew they had to stop the tour (it was Show #151). His son said, “It’s too bad he doesn’t even know it’s his last show ever.”
His daughter (Ashley) testified before Congress to try to get more funds for Alzheimers’ research and more-or-less broke down while testifying.
This was a good documentary, but it hit very close to home, for me, as I watched Glen Campbell try to joke his way through questions he can’t answer.
James Keach, Stacey Keach’s brother, directed the documentary and Jane Seymour, his wife, is listed as a producer. Three of Campbell’s children (2 boys and his daughter) back him up onstage and mention of Campbell’s prominence as a member of the famous “Wrecking Crew” that played on records by almost all big groups (including the Beach Boys) is mentioned. Having just seen the Wrecking Crew represented in the film “Love & Mercy” about Brian Wilson, it was an interesting and important documentary that makes you hope you have Tony Bennett’s genes and not Glen Campbell’s.