Sunday, September 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Standing In: How to ward off Alzheimer’s: A modest proposal

1McNurlinWeb

By
From page A2 | October 01, 2013 |

It seems to be common knowledge that the way to forestall dreaded memory loss is to exercise your brain. Articles tout the benefits of crossword puzzles, traveling, being social and exercising. Challenge your brain! That’s the ticket.

This summer I happened upon a sure-fire approach to vastly increase the neuron firings in my brain. It didn’t take arduous planning. In fact, I came upon it by accident. But I haven’t seen anyone else mention it. It’s like the elephant under the living room carpet that no one admits is there. My modest proposal? Become accident-prone. Why, because of just this one summer, I bet I’ve forestalled Alzheimer’s for at least 10 years.

It all started at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 8, at Emerson Junior High. Parents of recently graduated high school seniors may recognize that date as the morning after Grad Night 2013 — the alcohol-free, all-night party for Davis grads.

For years, I’ve wanted to decorate for Grad Night. So this year I did, in the sophomore area (because my granddaughter was a sophomore). We sophomore parents (and grandparents) had a great time, and did a bang-up job.

We also undecorated our area, starting at 5 a.m. that Saturday. By 8 a.m., the area was clean. Only a few empty, rolled-up trash bags lay on the cement bench by the bleachers in the stadium. The lighting guy had just taken down the last tall lighting pole and laid it on the ground near the bench.

For my final cleanup, I stepped over the light pole, picked up the bags, turned around, forgot about the light pole, took a step and bam! I was on the ground. My right wrist ached like the dickens. I ended up having surgery on my fractured wrist, and spent this summer with my right arm ensconced in an arm cast.

Did I mention I’m right-handed? All of a sudden, my “tag-along” left hand became my “it’s-up-to-you” hand. And I quickly discovered that it didn’t know how to do much at all. Write legibly? Nope. Type? Only on the left side of a keyboard. Cut with a knife? No, alas. And on and on.

My son Jeff gave me the bright news, “Mom, just think how many new neural connections your brain will be making!” Oh, yippee.

In fact, I think he was right. I could practically feel my brain cells buzzing every time I had to write. My printing looked like a kindergartner’s — large letters, shaky, unevenly spaced and not in a straight line. It was pathetic. Everyone who saw my scribbles laughed.

Hey, laugh away, I thought, at least I’m warding off Alzheimer’s because I’m learning how to do just about everything in a new way: Get dressed, eat, open letters, write checks. My mind found new ways to use my body: to open a bottle (squeeze it between my knees while sitting on a chair and twist off the cap with my left hand), close a door (use my hip), and cut iceberg lettuce (hold it in place with my cast, which didn’t always work).

Rather than make multiple trips to the car, my mind realized I could carry everything with my left hand: key ring on one finger, cloth bag for errands on another, plastic bag of food scraps for my daughter Tracia’s chickens on the third, and pull open the car door handle with the last two.

Which reminds me: about those so-called single-use bags, which “they” want to ban. Do you know how many times I used one generous-sized plastic bag from The Dollar Store this summer — to keep my entire right arm dry while taking a shower? 51! I counted. Yes, 51 times! Single-use? Ha!

I’ll tell you what was single-use: the Scotch tape to hold that bag in place around my arm. I had to replace it over and over. It wouldn’t stay sticky. “They” should ban that instead. I’m sure there are many pieces wafting to the Pacific Ocean. We just can’t see them because they’re transparent.

About halfway through the summer, after several other accidents, I noticed that my brain had become adept at conjuring up new ways to do everything. It was as if my mind had become unfrozen from my daily routines. It was having a pile of fun dreaming up schemes to make my changed way of living work.

Perhaps becoming accident-prone can stave off Alzheimer’s for you, too. That’s my modest proposal.

— Barbara McNurlin moved to Davis in 1998 to live near her first grandchild, Ashlyn. She loves being a grandma to Ashlyn and Kian.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

 
Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis Community Meals needs cooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Send kids to camp!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Wise words

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Awareness is key to this fight

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Where is this going?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A6

We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

 
Options for protection come with flu season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

 
Don’t sell city greenbelt

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Paso Fino project is flawed

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Archer will get my vote

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Mike Keefe cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
Building something at schools’ HQ

By Our View | From Page: A10

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Maybe David can beat Goliath again

By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery

.

Sports

DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

 
Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
.

Business

UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Styles on target for November debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

MBI hires VP of marketing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

By Rob White | From Page: A9

 
.

Obituaries

Carol L. Walsh

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8