Punky QB

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Happy Birthday to my most favorite QB! Most entertaining QB ever, famous for his sunglasses and headbands!  Made Chicago and people all over the country love the Bears again!  Jim, I hope you have a great birthday, I know you are suffering from Dementia and CTE.   He has been diagnosed with early onset dementia and still struggles with memory loss, severe headaches and depression.

What do I mean by that?  Well, Jim played in an era where the bigger the hit, the better!  he was a tough guy, and played injured all the time.  He suffered many concussions.  And thanks to Bennet Omalu, who was the first to discover CTE and bring it to awareness, things are getting better in the league.  (See the movie Concussion.  Seriously).

I mean, the Bears have a reputation for a fierce defense.  Many Hall of Fame players from that discipline.  And the Bears have also been known for weak offensive lines, leaving their QB exposed to sacks etc.  Better be a good scrambler!

I saw a documentary on TV a few years back about how Jim is doing post football. It was very depressing.

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But, as luck would have it, he has improved as of late.

Per the Chicago Tribune, “In ESPN’s forthcoming “30 for 30” documentary, “The ’85 Bears” — which was shown at a private advance screening Wednesday night at AMC River East with McMahon in attendance — McMahon’s union with Atlas Orthogonal chiropractor Scott Rosa is chronicled as he continues to deal with the probability of significant brain damage.

In the film, Rosa reveals his diagnosis of McMahon, which showed that some of the former quarterback’s pain and head problems stemmed from neck misalignment that was restricting the flow of spinal fluid and causing toxic proteins to pool in his brain.

McMahon subsequently has received treatment that adjusts his spinal cord and regulates the flow of spinal fluid. In the film, McMahon said the first time he had the procedure, “it was like the toilet flushed. I could feel this stuff actually leaving my brain.”
Suddenly, his vision and speech improved.”

I am so happy to hear this.  Nobody deserves to live the way he was, after dedicating his life to football.  Unfortunately, the Bears are known for the most players with CTE, with some ending their lives because of it.  As a result, we have learned a lot about CTE and the effects of concussions while playing.  Hopefully things will be better for players now.

I will always remember Jimbo, and especially the ’85 Bears.  I think this says it all…..

We are the Bears Shufflin’ Crew
Shufflin’ on down, doin’ it for you
We’re so bad, we know we’re good
Blowin’ your mind like we knew we would
You know we’re just struttin’ for fun
Struttin’ our stuff for everyone
We’re not here to start no trouble
We’re just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle

[Jim McMahon]
I’m the punky QB, known as McMahon
When I hit the turf, I’ve got no plan
I just throw my body all over the field
I can’t dance, but I can throw the pill
I motivate the cats, I like to tease
I play so cool, I aim to please
That’s why you all got here on the double
To catch me doin’ the Super Bowl Shuffle

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Still me?

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I saw Still Alice last night.  It was a very powerful, realistic story of a woman with early onset of Alzheimer’s, at age 50.  And not just any woman.  A woman who was extremely intelligent, and was a professor at Columbia.  Her whole persona was painted by her linguist skills, of which she was very proud.  Now, it would be taken away from her.

Obviously you can’t track the insidious path that Alzheimer’s takes in only two hours.  However, I thought the film did a great job of showing just enough snippets of how her life changed as the disease progressed.  Ironically, the disease progresses faster the more intelligent its victim.

Alice tries to plan for her future, but seems to be thwarted at every turn due to her increasing loss of memory.  Her family, while supportive, each has their own lives to live.  While I initially thought her husband was very supportive, upon further reflection I have decided he was very selfish.  He did still love her, but he was very ambitious, as she had been, and he continued on his career path at the expense of spending time with his wife, going so far as to move away from her for a new job.

The children were an eclectic mix.  There was a very self-centered over-achiever older daughter, a busy doctor son, and a starving actress youngest daughter living across the country.

The ending will surprise you, in several ways.  One in the way in which the actual movie ends, and secondly in what happens to Alice.  I do not want to spoil it for any future movie watchers, so we will leave it at that.

I was initially conflicted about seeing this movie.  My own mother died from Alzheimer’s at the age of 75.  Her sister currently has it.  Looking back, I can see her decline over about 10 years.  To me, she seemed to change the most after knee replacement surgery.  When she woke up from anesthesia, she was VERY disoriented and confused.  She really had no idea what was going on for several months.  She did get better, but she was never the same.  I firmly blame the anesthesia, for uncovering or bringing on her Alzheimer’s.  Many scientific/medical journals have debated this question for years.  Anesthesia has been linked to cognitive problems, and also postoperative delirium, that can last from days to years.

I can say this, because I am living proof.  My mother had multiple medical problems and had many surgeries in her life.  I am her clone, and unfortunately have followed her same path in many ways.  I too have had many surgeries in my life.  Recently, the past two years, I have had 9 surgical procedures in regards to my hip.  Which each one, I felt my brain getting fuzzier and fuzzier.  I grasp at words sometimes.  I forget names.  I just don’t feel like I am as “smart” as I used to be.

Could it be coincidence?  Sure.  I am getting older, every year.  But I do think it has affected me to some degree.  I am so sure of it that I refused to have general anesthesia, and opted for a local for my last hip aspiration.  Did it hurt?  Yes.  Am I glad it hurt?  Yes.  At least I knew my brain was still functioning.

Do I worry about Alzheimer’s?  Yes.  Every day.  The stats are staggering.  I have a lot of factors against me.  I wish they would SOMETHING to help with this disease.  The Baby Boomers are a huge segment of population that tends to gets things done.  Elderly care has become a main issue because of their demands.  Many are of the Alzheimer’s age now.  I pray that the sheer number will spur more research and development of better drugs, or find a cure.

I still have guilt about my mom.  I should have been there for her more.  I tried.  I really did.  I worked full time, and there were many times I had to jump in my car and drive to her senior living apartment because she didn’t answer the phone.  Most times it was because she didn’t hang up right.  Then I found her on the floor.  Twice.  That was enough.  Her doctor recommended a nursing home, as she required 24/7 monitoring.  I knew she would hate it.  I remember checking her in, and in a moment of clarity, she looked right at me with her cloudy blue eyes and said, is this what my life has come to?  I cried all the way home, and for many days after that.  She did acclimate, and at least had more social interaction there than alone in her apartment, but I still felt guilt every time I went to visit her.  As the disease progressed, she didn’t know there was anything wrong with her, and I actually felt grateful for that.  I would like to think she died peacefully.  She did remember my name every time I saw her, and was always happy to see me.  She thought my dad, who had died more than 20 years previously, was there in the room with her, as a Scottie dog sitting in the corner.  I always said hi to him too.  I may have petted him on the way out.  It gave me comfort to think that my dad was watching over her.

Anyway, Still Alice is a GREAT movie, Julianna Moore gave an absolutely wonderful performance, and I am glad I saw it, despite my earlier conflict about it.  5 stars all the way.

Do you have any experience with Alzheimer’s?  Have you seen the movie?  I would love to hear your comments.

The Punky QB

mcmahonJim McMahon. Acclaimed leader of the ’85 Bears. Truly a team to be reckoned with. Best ever, in my opinion.

Jim McMahon was indeed a punky QB, as he says in the infamous Super Bowl Shuffle.  Everyone thought he wore his ever-present sunglasses to be cool, but truth be told, he wore them because of an eye injury (fork to the eye back in his youth).  He was the epitome of cool, nonetheless.

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He led the Bears to the Super Bowl, in a season full of excitement such as the Bears hadn’t seen in many years.  He rallied the troops and made super stars out of many of them.  He added pizzazz to an old fuddy duddy team.  His antics with Coach Ditka were legendary.  The world will never forget the 1985 Bears.

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But Jim McMahon just might.  He has early onset dementia, mostly likely caused by the many hits he took on the football field.  Back in 1985, many idolized him.  If they saw Jim McMahon today, many would not recognize him, and many would pity him.  He is a broken man, both physically and mentally.  He sacrificed a lot for his notoriety and party days.  I saw a documentary on him last year.  It made me sad, thinking that this is what happens after your fifteen minutes of fame.  So many football players suffering the same fate.  He was so good.  So very, very good.  His play both on and off the field are the stuff dreams are made of, for many men.  I hope he still remembers, in his dreams.

I don’t think he will ever be forgotten, even if he forgets us.  Rock on, Jimmy Mac, rock on.