Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Coffee does a body good. If you remember to drink it.

A few days ago, my sister sent me a link to an article about a research project which claims that daily consumption of three large cups of coffee may slow the progress of Alzheimer's Disease and possibly even reverse it.

Now, if there was ever a human subject to support this conclusion, it should be my own mother. The woman loves coffee. Black - no sugar and no milk. And in quantities large enough to water ski in. The only reason Columbia still exists as an independent country today is because my mom purchased at least 50% of their exported coffee in the 60's and 70's.

She's not picky about coffee, either. When I was a kid, you could count on there being a jar of those Sanka instant coffee crystals in our kitchen. I always thought that the contents looked like that gravel at the bottom of a fish tank, but my mom loved it. I think she might have sprinkled it on her toast in the morning in lieu of cinnamon and sugar. Sometimes even in lieu of the bread.

Not me. I like to dress my coffee with flavored syrups. I studied the differences between coffee presses and drip coffee makers. I grind my own beans. When I shop for coffee, I have to squeeze the bags and smell the aroma that's expelled through the little hole near the top. Other people in the coffee aisle probably think I was a scratch-and-sniff sticker addict as a kid.

But my mom's method of coffee buying works like this: 1. Look through your plastic box of coupons and use one.

Anyway. If coffee really does prevent Alzheimer's, she shouldn't be in the mid-late stages of the disease. In thinking about this, though, I did realize something. Over the last few years, I think she's actually drinking less coffee. In fact, I'm not sure she's drinking coffee at all. It just looks that way.

A couple of years ago, I'd go to her house and open the microwave to thaw hamburger for dinner, and there would be a cup of java sitting on the turntable, stone cold. She'd say, "Oh, that's my coffee from this morning! I guess I forgot it was in there."

Now, I go to her house and open the linen closet, and there's a cup of java sitting next to the pillowcases, stone cold. And she says, "Oh, that's my coffee from this morning! I guess I forgot it was in there."

Apparently, she's been reheating the same cup of coffee for nearly a decade. No wonder the Columbians have turned to marijuana as their primary export crop.

In other semi-related family news, my sister accompanied my parents to do their funeral planning this week. After all the decisions were made, she called me to let me know what kind of caskets they had chosen. Mom is opting for a simple pine design, at a relatively low price of $1800. It's a good thing my sister was there instead of me. I'd have suggested that we have Mom cremated and buried in a Bunn coffee brewer.

1 comment:

lyn said...

Mmmmm. I love to smell coffee in the store too. My mother had Alzeimer's as well and lived alone for a time in our old two storey homestead, until we moved her to a nursing home. I was told to keep a sense of humor (as you obviously are). We found everything from her underwear to tools in her microwave. (We unplugged the stove and microwave and delivered her meals, and disabled her car while we were at it). It got a little scary, especially when we entered her house and smelled something HORRIBLE. My nose traced the smell to a box of 'frozen' fish in the front hall closet that she had purchased from a 'travelling meat salesman'. We originally hoped she simply had dementia, so when she passed away we had an autopsy done (the only true test), to assure us it wasn't Alzheimer's. Alas, it was. Every time I forget something I wonder about inheriting it! Not to minimize the terrible parts of Alzheimer's, but if I do inherit it, perhaps someone can create a blog of my antics and at least they will provide some chuckles!