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Heart Better Than Head

As Memories Slip Away, A Grandfather Reflects
by NPR Staff
August 27, 2010

Bob Patterson worked as an aerospace engineer for three decades. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2008. His wife, Karen, has been by his side all along. Recently, Bob told her how living with the disease has affected him....

"Well, I think one thing that I experience with Alzheimer's is, I live in the moment — because I can't remember what happened yesterday. I can't remember what happened 10 minutes ago. But I'm much more present, I think."

"Do you think about the future?" Karen asks her husband.

"I know that there's probably a bad time that comes in the future," says Bob. "This disease gets more wicked — but I don't obsess on it, and I just do a nice job of ignoring it."

"With this disease, you moved from somebody that lived in your head a lot to somebody that lives in their heart," Karen says.

"The head is an overstated organ," Bob says, drawing a laugh from Karen.

He continues: "The heart is where all the action is. And I can remember things that occur in my heart much better than things that occur in my head: having fun with the kids; laughing; our new grandchild."