Friday, December 01, 2006


Salvador Dalí: Persistence of Memory

I just saw this headline: “Studies say chemotherapy causes brain damage.”
I immediately thought of Adam.

Adam was diagnosed with a brain tumour in December of 2001. The doctors did everything they could, but Adam died 2½ years later. He was 32.

At different times during his treatment, Adam had brain surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and I don’t know what else. I don’t know which of those things, or what combination, caused the brain damage, but he had brain damage. He found it difficult to read, he couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes, and his balance and coordination were damaged. And he lost his memory.

One day, I don’t remember exactly when, or even whether I was in Prague or Guildford at the time, Adam called me.

Max, it’s Adam.

And he told me how he had lost his memory and how he was piecing it back together person by person and that Dan had just talked about me and Adam had remembered me. Now Adam wanted help remembering Prague and the places and the people that we had in common. Adam was completely unashamed and honest.

I don’t remember much, Max. But I remember that we worked together and I remember that you were a lot of fun to be out with.

I think we talked for about 45 minutes. Adam asked me questions about our office and the people and who sat where. He asked me how we had met, and he remembered that we had stayed out till 4 a.m. the night before his first day at work. We talked about the places he knew in Prague, where he had lived for only 3 or 4 months before his diagnosis, and the people that he had just been getting to know. It was a beautiful conversation because I could hear the joy in Adam’s voice as more and more pieces fell into place and he got a bit of his past back.

I don’t think about Adam that often anymore. It’s nice to get a bit of my past back too.


Cookie said...

You brought to mind my days of all of us in support group (a necessary evil) suffered from "chemo brain"... the chemicals kill cancer but they kill brain cells as well ... you know it is happening and you only hope when the treatment which cures you doesn't make mush of all your functioning brain cells.

still you'd rather have your life than not.

EuropeanTop said...

Hello and thanks for the opportunity to read and post on your blog.

I’ve just posted an article related to travel tips for seniors on my blog and I thought maybe you’d be interested in reading it. Here is short preview of some of the areas I covered:

- Prefer a backpack on wheels instead of a suitcase, you could pull it behind you when your back hurts or you are exhausted.
- Consider checking your bag in with the airlines, because it would become an unnecessary burden to be dragged all over the airport or the city if you are going to have a short visit.
- You could stay outside the city, in a hostel maybe, because it is cheaper, less crowded and the air is much fresher, but you have to walk or use the transport more, to get in the city or to the station.
- Most museums, some concert halls, railways, airlines, bus lines, ferry and shipping lines have a discount policy for seniors.
- Electronic devices are useful but sometimes they can give you a lot of headaches. You could help yourself with a micro-tape recorder to record your notes. It would be easier than to write and you would put them down on paper later, to share your notes with your family.
- If you bring a camera with you to keep the beautiful images alive along the time then make sure you know how to handle it or you might fail to record them not only on that camera but also in your eyes.

For more resources on visiting Europe you are welcome to visit my blog, where you can also get acces to some excellent maps of Stockholm and maps of London, together with information on hotels and restaurants.

Best regards,

Michael R.