By Jeanne Charters
If you’ve read me before, you know that I have an extremely peculiar brain. I feel lucky in that because I believe a sense of ridiculousness is a life-long blessing that can make the intolerable sometimes funny—and if not funny, at least tolerable.
Matt—he of the infinite patience of living with me—has, believe it or not, a weirder brain than I do. That’s why I married him. Plus, I love him and he’s a Democrat.
But back to his weird brain. He’s the only man I’ve ever met who can take one of my wacky observations and carry it into a new realm, a planet I’ve never visited or knew existed. He’s also reliably vulgar, being the son of first-generation Sicilian and Bulgarian immigrants.
Example of vulgarity? If you want someone to clear your party of pretentious people in a flash, inviteMatt. He’s great at accents and dialects and if his “Egyptian boil sucker” joke doesn’t send the stuffed shirts scurrying to their B-mers, I’ll eat my dirty joke book.
Plus he’s smart. Knows more about most things than I do. A rare bird, right? However, with years and years and years of living with a man, however precious he is, his adorability quotient often wears thin. His peccadilloes, so delightful at first sight, become annoying as hell. His stories, once so vivid and amusing, become irritating the 78th time you hear them. That’s the underbelly of marriage and is in some cases the reason our divorce rate is approaching 60%.
Okay, so now you know how fun and frustrating Matt can be, right? And no, I’m not getting a divorce.
But here’s the problem. Of late, that fine mind of his has grown fuzzy. I’ve noticed it for nearly a year but didn’t want to say anything. Dementia? Alzheimer’s? Oh Lord, please no. The whole situation has presented me with an impossible quandary. How to suggest treatment while preserving his dignity and that all-important male ego.
Male ego? Funny, isn’t it? No, not really.
But life has a way of solving these problems for us. Some of the time. Thank you, Lord, for some of the time.
We were in New York last month having a reunion with my four daughters and his daughter. After one very confusing conversation, when he left the house, I cornered them. “Have you noticed a change in Matt’s mind?”
The five of them nodded their heads.
Okay, I’m not crazy.
In the motel during our long trip back, I approached the unapproachable. “Honey, the girls and I have noticed a change in your perception and memory. Can we talk about it?”
“Yes, let’s do, please.”
Turns out he was relieved. He had known for some time his mind was slipping but he was dancing around the issue as much as I was.
So, we agreed to contact Memory Care upon our return to Asheville. The place has a wonderful reputation, and I know several people who have benefited from their services.
Just before I called the number, I got an email from my doctor daughter in Colorado. She forwarded a study completed in May by a research group in Arizona. The study supported what apparently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and physicians have noticed for a long time. That some patients experience fuzzy thinking and memory loss while taking statin drugs to reduce cholesterol. This condition is reversible if statins are discontinued.
Matt’s been on a statin drug for years.
My daughter said to check with his doctor but that she would advise he go off the medication for one month. He will see his physician next week to discuss that. In the meantime, he decided to follow the recommendations of the research panel and to cut his pills to every other day instead of every day.
Here’s the unbelievable news—he’s back. Sharp and smart and vulgar as ever! It’s pretty miraculous. I wanted to share this story with you, dear reader, in case you or anyone you know seems to be entering early dementia. And they’re taking statins.
I’m not mentioning any drug names here because I don’t need a lawsuit, and I’m not a scientist—just a muchrelieved wife who sincerely hopes this helps someone out there.
Jeanne Charters, a transplant from New York, is a writer living in Asheville with her husband, Matt Restivo. Her collection of columns, “Funny, isn’t it?” is available at Malaprops, Mountain Made in the Grove Arcade, or at jeannecharters.com.
She has written three novels and has acquired an agent for her young adult novel, “Shanty Gold.” Jeanne is working on edits, per that agent, and hopes to have a publisher this year. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.