Bill and Marisol Deutsch were interviewed by Harry Wiland.
I was working as a physician and I started having difficulty remembering patients' names, medications and things that I would not have had a problem with ever in the 26 years I was working. And I started to also lose my concentration - I would walk into a room and forget why I went in there at work and I went to a few doctors to try and find out what was going on because this was not normal for me.
Marisol: When he came home he would tell me about the things that he was forgetting at work and he was going to a doctor for another reason, so he brought it up to his doctor and he said, "Well, let's get this checked." And because he was on a different medication so he thought that it was the medicine. So, they tested him and the results came back that he had early onset Alzheimer's.
Basically I'm the caregiver. I take care of everything. I do the errands, the paying of the bills, scheduling of appointments. Everything ... I have to deal with everything, and it's hard. He's not the same person I used to know. He's not as outgoing and he's just basically not the same.
Bill: What makes it hard for Marisol is that she's not feeling well herself. And so it's a question of having to take care of herself as well as me. I don't have problems grooming myself or things like that, but when it comes time for making my appointments and I have a problem with the medication that I take. Sometimes I forget so I'm asking, "Did I take my medication?" and so she has to take care to make sure I took my medication and that she took her medication.
I get frustrated and she gets frustrated and sometimes the two of us, we get excited but then we calm down. She's been very supportive and understanding because when we got married, I did not know I had anything like this and she had no way of knowing. And I'm sure that this was as much as a surprise to her as it was to me.
How did you meet?
Marisol: I've known him 7 years, actually. I used to work for him. And I moved to Virginia and somehow we got in contact a year and a half ago.
Bill: And we started a long distance...
Marisol: A long distance relationship ... and he actually kidnapped me from Virginia and brought me down and proposed and we got married and it's like a roller coaster but we just get back on it and try to take things easy and not try to overwhelm yourself at times.
Bill: One thing that I noticed with this problem that I would choose to not engage myself because it's easy to withdraw with this kind of problem -- because sometimes the things that you want to say aren't there to say them and rather than just try to fight it out, it's easy just to sit back. And so, one of the most important things that I did for myself was to find Dr. Ryder and to see him because he has discussed this problem, he has talked about the different things that I might encounter, how to make greater use of the things that I can control - writing things down. Dr. Ryder has challenged me and he has helped me and Marisol because there can be friction.
When I was working as a doctor I would see that a lot of times illness brought people together - sometimes, not always. Sometimes it separates people. Especially if you have a situation where the illness could be over a long period of time. So, I'm lucky that I have Marisol, that Dr. Ryder has helped us to try to understand each other a little better so that we can be more effective.
We had a beautiful wedding and it's a question of trying to remember what it is you felt at the time that you did get married and that you have the respect and the love so that when things go bad, you just are able to help each other, to maintain that type of bond that it is that brought people together.
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