Dr. Alice Howland Is A Thoroughly Modern Middle Aged Professional Woman

1540 WordsDec 13, 20157 Pages
Dr. Alice Howland is a thoroughly modern, middle-aged professional woman. A brilliant, psycholinguist, she is the William James Professor of Psychology at Harvard University where she studies the mechanism of languages. But she feels as if something isn 't right. For Alice it begins with forgotten words during lectures, a moment in Harvard Square where she has no idea where she is nor how to get home, a forgotten trip to the airport to catch a plane to a conference she 'd spent the day preparing for, and names on to-do lists that mean nothing to her. Suspecting that something is seriously wrong, and without the knowledge of her husband, John, Alice goes to see her doctor who refers her to a neurologist. After testing, Alice receives the stunning diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer 's. It is both numbing and terrifying for her. She is 50 years old. Alice struggles to tell John, who is a cancer cell biologist, because telling him will make it all "real". When she does, his reaction is almost cerebral and clinical. At first reluctant to believe her, John offers Alice no comfort. Instead he tells her he needs to find out more about Alzheimer 's. They decide to have Alice undergo genetic testing, which if positive, would support the clinical diagnosis, but if negative, would not necessarily rule it out. When genetic testing confirms her diagnosis, Alice and John must now come to terms with her disease, what this will mean to them as a couple and individually, and the implications
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