I thought I had Alzheimer’s Disease

My friend Dori got married a couple weeks ago. I’m not one to use phrases like “beautiful ceremony,” but it was a beautiful ceremony. Dori looked like a beaming beach dream, and so did her groom, and so did everyone there. The sun set and the blue moon rose, and we drank and danced and celebrated yung luv. It was wonderful.

You never would have known, not even an hour before that beautiful ceremony, I was crying. It happened while I was applying makeup, in front of my mom and Curtis.

See if you can guess what made me cry.

A. The wonder of yung luv.
B. The looks of pride/joy on Dori’s parents’ faces.
C. My mom disowned me and Curtis dumped me, simultaneously.
D. I thought I had Alzheimer’s.
E. I picked the wart on my nose and it hurt a lot.

If you chose D, congratulations! You’re clearly very bright/good at picking up on context clues (like the title of this post). If you chose B or E, you get partial credit. Parental pride/joy on wedding days and nose warts also make me cry.

Why did I think I had Alzheimer’s?

As I got ready for Dori’s beautiful ceremony, my mom, Curtis, and I started talking about the time my dog pooped in front of the trainer at obedience school. Excuse me—the two times he pooped in front of the trainer at obedience school. We talk about this more often than we should, and as a result, I have a fairly good grasp of how it went down. Also I was present for both occasions so, again, I grasp it fairly good.

The first time, Dizzy sneakily pooped next to a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy. I blamed it on the puppy. The second time, Dizzy pooped in the middle of the floor, in front of everyone, even though I’d stayed outside in the cold for 20 minutes before class trying to get him to go. For both poopcidents, I remember feeling ashamed and lonely. Ashamed because my dog’s a goddamn poop bandit sociopath, lonely because I was in dog school by myself and had no friends nor family to commiserate with.

Except, while putting on makeup for Dori’s wedding, I learned I wasn’t alone. My mom claimed she was also there when Dizzy pooped in class. 

Jackée, courtesy of essence.com.


“No way, Jackée. You never came to dog class with me.”

“Yes I did,” said my mom.

“I remember that. That she went,” said Curtis.

“Y’ALL TRIFLIN. If you was there, tell me about it. Where’d it happen?”

“In that room!” my mom said. “That big room, with walls. See. I remember it exactly.”

“HA! You just described every big room in America, YOU FOOL! Are you having another Janet Jackson moment?” 

My mom chuckled and shook her head. The chuckle and head-shake of someone who knows she’s right. “No, Allie. I really went with you. I saw my old horse friends, remember?”

“I don’t remember. You lying, you wrong. Momma, I love you, but you losing it. Go ahead, name a dog that was there.”

“That Bernese Mountain Dog! The puppy!”

That’s when I welled up. Your girl started crying real instantaneous-like. My mom proved it—she did go to class with me, and I didn’t remember. I decided then that I had Alzheimer’s.

I know, that’s terrible and kind of self-indulgent, and also annoying and ridiculous. I’m 26 and I forgot one thing—that doesn’t mean I have Alzheimer’s. But it wasn’t the only thing I’d forgotten. A couple weeks before the wedding, I’d also found a T-shirt in my bed and I didn’t know how it got there.

It was far more mysterious than it sounds, I promise. I had slept in the bed all night and the T-shirt wasn’t there, and it wasn’t there when I woke up, but it was there after I showered and went back to my room to change. And, beyond its mysterious appearance, I had a very clear memory of seeing it—and leaving it—in my dresser the day before.

So, there was dog training class and the T-shirt—two checks for Alzheimer’s. Plus, my paternal grandmother had Alzheimer’s and my maternal grandmother had dementia. I’m not entirely sure how genetics work, but I know it has something to do with getting what your momma (and poppa, and their mommas and poppas) give you.

My grandmothers were in their 80s when they were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia, but young people can get it, too. Anne Hathaway had early on-set Alzheimers in Love and Other Drugs, remember? You probably do remember, because you don’t have Alzheimer’s.*

Fortunately, it turns out I don’t have Alzheimer’s either. One of Dori’s other bridesmaids is a physician’s assistant—I asked her if I had Alzheimer’s, and she said no, so now I don’t have it. Also, my mom admitted that, while she did come to dog class with me once (and I can kind of remember it), she wasn’t present for Dizzy’s poopcidents. I’m also happy to report that nothing mysterious has shown up in my bed lately—just some some dog doo on my sheets yesterday morning, but that was from the poop stuck on the fur around Dizzy’s B-hole. MOM I KNOW YOU WASN’T THERE FOR THAT. I HAD TO DEAL WITH THAT SHIT ON MY OWN.

*I really hope you don’t have Alzheimer’s, and I hope one day soon that no one has Alzheimer’s. If you hope that too, and you feel like donating to the Alzheimer’s Association, you can do that here.

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