Saturday, January 7, 2017

Patti spent the majority of her life teaching in college. She had a Phd. so I like to call her Dr. Pat. I was so proud of her accomplishing such a difficult task while do all her research work  all over the South as she studied the linguistics of people in their specific geographical regions.

She taught here at South Plains College for over thirty years. She taught English Literature, World Literature, Spanish, Japanese, and Technical Writing during her long career. Patti was a strict professor who expected serious work from her students. She ran the Computer Lab in the Communications Building for several year. I remember many nights when I would take food up to her and sit in the lab with her until 8 pm. Monday -Thursday. Kathryn and Shelby spent lot of their night at the lab with us.

I was here with her for twenty-six years of her career. I even taught Developmental English Writing for nine years. I managed to teach for a couple of semesters after she became so ill, but finally quit to be her full-time care giver.  She played piano for Nurses' Pinning Ceremonies every semester.  She drove thirty miles from Levelland over to the Reese Campus at Lubbock for most of her years. She was one of two professors who attended every Registration at the Levelland, Reese, and Lubbock campuses each semester, including both semesters. Patti never took a sick day in all those years. She did not take days off. She worked both semesters every summer.

She was obsessed with preparing for all of her classes. She spent untold numbers of hours collecting research material for her classes. It took me an entire summer to empty her college office of all her books and files. Those materials are currently sitting in my business location down town on the square. I was so diligent about saving all her files thinking that she planned to use those materials for books that she wanted to write after she retired. I can not even guess how many hours I will need to go through her files. Every now and then, I come across a few scraps of her personal notes. Sometimes, those notes cause me to smile. Sometimes, those notes break my heart.

Her brain was filled with so much knowledge, but Alzheimer's Disease sneaked in and slowly took that knowledge from her. I watched her lose all that knowledge. Such a waste. She could have done so much more, if she had been spared. I watched her lose every ability that she had. At the end, she was reduced to the body of a little baby, but without any chance to grow, to learn, to be happy. She finally lost the knowledge of who I was and simply referred to me as "The Other One," Shelby being the one she did know. When she forgot how to swallow, I was forced to make the decision not to force feed her, not to let her be hospitalized with tubes and lines running in and out of her body, I respected her wishes and took care of her in every way possible.

The statistics are that more and more people are falling prey to Alzheimer's Disease.  The increase will be unbelievable within ten to twenty years.  Nothing substantial is being done about the disease. False information is constantly posted, new meds come out, new cures come out. The fact is nothing works to delay the thief which takes our loved one. The government has no motivation to truly seek cures. The pharmaceutical companies  only care about new meds that "promise to delay or cure." The companies only desire huge profits from meds that generally make the patient worse and therefore requiring other meds. Doctor know nothing more than to prescribe meds which they know fun well will not help. I tire of ads and false reports of new cures.

Dr. Patricia Elder Cearley could have offered so much more to this world.

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