Alzheimer’s and Grey’s Anatomy

When I wrote the other day about last week’s Grey’s Anatomy episode that addressed chemo and toxicity from herbal remedies, I seem to have started something.  So many of you were interested in that question!

Not surprisingly, many are looking for more information, too, about Meredith Grey’s mother “waking up” from Alzheimer’s Disease.  And a few people wrote to ask if it’s possible.

This is a tough one for me, because my mother (and therefore my whole family) is a victim of Alzheimer’s disease.  We first noticed Mom’s problems almost 10 years ago. In early 2005 we moved her to a memory center in Sarasota, Florida.  Dad, who has health challenges of his own, spends time with her everyday.  She still recognizes him, and when we visited her in late December, she recognized my sisters and me, although she didn’t know our names.  It just absolutely breaks my heart.

And that’s actually the reason I didn’t/couldn’t/avoided writing about it.  In the story line, Meredith’s mother actually “comes to”. She remembers everything with great clarity prior to the past five years, including all the emotions and attitudes that went with her life ‘before.”  Her personality recovered along with her memories.  And in the case of Ellis Grey, that’s what was so off-putting.

I looked it up — the concept of recovery from Alzheimer’s….

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Also, learn more about “coming to” Alzheimer’s stories here.

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4 Responses to “Alzheimer’s and Grey’s Anatomy”


  1. 1 Gloria February 23, 2007 at 2:10 am

    Hi,

    My Mom also has dementia, so of course it affects her and everyone who loves her. It wasn’t important to me that “Grey’s Anatomy” was not completely factual about the way they portray Meredith’s mother and her dementia. In many ways, it is too painful to really watch it, and I’m not sure it would make for good TV to see the physical and mental deterioration that a person like our mothers experiences.

    Like you, I am happy if/when we get the occasional moment(s) when Mom is back with us. I miss turning to Mom for advice, I miss her support and love, I miss the little things she would to show that she cares, and most of all I miss Mom.

    Thanks for giving us an avenue to vent.

    Gloria

  2. 2 Trisha Torrey February 23, 2007 at 8:02 am

    Gloria,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom.

    My objection to the “carrot” on Grey’s Anatomy is that I think it subtracts from the horror of the disease, and therefore the understanding of it. Unfortunately, when misinformation is put out there, perceptions get skewed.

    Did you know that Bush’s proposed 2008 federal budget cuts funding for Alzheimer’s research? Is it possible that one of the budget developers/recommenders is a fan of Grey’s Anatomy? Can’t say for sure, of course, but again — perceptions can get skewed.

    Here’s more info about the budget cut:

    http://www.alz.org/join_the_cause_4730.asp

    Best of luck to your mother and your family, Gloria. I wish you all well.

    Trisha

  3. 3 michaelm March 8, 2007 at 8:10 am

    Trisha-

    I lost my mom almost 2 years ago to Alzheimer’s and read this post with interest.
    Knowing what I know about physiology, the vast wasteland of a brain riddled with tangles and plaques could never recover. Had I seen the episode of Grey’s Anatomy I probably would have thought , “Shame on you, Hollywood,” for giving people like us false hope. It’s not fair in the best interest of the scripted storyline.
    My mom love to sing as well. It’s been explained to me that AD doesn’t affect the part of the brain that supplies words and lyrics associated with a song. Ironic that my mother couldn’t remember my name but new every stinkin’ word of Jingle Bells.
    Maybe it’s just God’s way of letting us know they’re still ‘in there’.
    I found you through the WP tag ‘Alzheimer’s’. I will be back.
    Wonderful post.
    ~m


  1. 1 New Resource: Alzheimer’s Patient “Wakes Up” « Every Patient’s Advocate Trackback on September 24, 2007 at 9:08 am
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