One of the things that caught my attention while reading Turn of Mind, about a woman with dementia, was Dr. White’s clarity regarding medical terms and concepts. Get her talking clinically, and she’s 100%. I am very fortunate to have no experience with Alzheimer’s and its effects in my own personal life, so I know relatively little. I found it really interesting what parts of her life were easily and consistently accessed (work-related) and what regularly escaped her (family and friends). At any rate, Dr. White taught me some new medical terms:
hemangioma: an abnormal buildup of blood vessels in the skin or internal organs. In this case, she’s talking about a birthmark that helps her recognize one of the caregivers in her new “home.”
And also gave me some artists to look up. She says of her husband, “our eclectic tastes in art amused the people around us,” which immediately had me looking up the artists named:
Gorky (google images here),
Rauschenberg (which of course had me erroneously thinking of Rorschach tests – does anyone else think the inkblots always look like ovaries?? what does that say about me?) (google images here), and finally
Dubuffet (google images here). And here is where I was surprised and excited: I know this guy’s work! The sculpture in downtown Houston that I grew up climbing all over is immediately recognizable as a Dubuffet, and sure enough, there he is. (Images here.) I feel certain my parents have a picture somewhere of toddler-sized me climbing into its upper nooks after a Jingle Bell Run in the 1980′s or some such. Isn’t it interesting where we find connections?