I was born left-handed. No matter how many times my parents tried to get me to reach for a toy with my right hand, I put out my left hand. Early crayon experiences were with my left hand. I might have had a choice, but I doubt it. Raised in a family of righties, I learned to do most sports right-handed, am ambi when it comes to sewing and scissors, and decidedly left when it comes to writing and eating. I’d have to use voice to text and hog trough my food if I couldn’t use my left hand.
The odds average 10% that I’d have exactly the right enzyme bonding to my DNA to cause my hand preference. Dutch and South African biopsychologists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum have found that hand preference shows up at 8 weeks gestation and originates in the spinal cord, not the brain. The probability of being left handed is influenced by parents’ handedness. I have two right-handed parents so the odds of my being left-handed are 9%.
- Two right-handed parents, 9%
- Left handed father, 12%
- Left handed mother, 16%
- Two left-handed parents, 20%
Left-handers are taking over the world. Slowly. Very, very slowly. My favorite source for left-handed supplies, http://www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk, has an article on its site that says we lefties have gone from 10% of the population to 11.2% of the population over the past 100 years. Can’t wait for you righties to have to use right-sided spiral notebooks.
I am not sure what the probability of my being an alcoholic is. In AA we say 10% of the population is alcoholic. The CDC says it’s closer to 7%. National Institute of Health (NIH) doesn’t even call it alcoholism, preferring to designate it as “alcohol use disorder.” It nearly disordered me out of a job and family but, thankfully, didn’t shove me through the gates of insanity and death.
According to multiple sources, lefties are 3 times more likely than righties to be an alcoholic. I’d call that fake news, but only 1 out of 30 articles I read suggested otherwise. So the odds of me being both an alcoholic and a lefty were pretty good.
My dad died from Alzheimer’s disease on May 3, 1986. Little was known about the disease besides the frightening progression of it. We mourned the loss of him long before his death. Although he never lost the spark of love that brightened his blue eyes when we walked into his room, he wasn’t sure who we were or why we’d come to see him.
The fear of Alzheimer’s disease clung to me. For years, I wouldn’t dump the 3 pack a day cig habit and affinity for drinking whatever would get me to oblivion. Hell. Better to get lung cancer or have a heart attack than ALZHEIMER’S. Ahh. The joys of self-destructive living.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes. It is not normal senility.
The origin of the term Alzheimer’s disease dates back to 1906 when Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German physician, presented a case history before a medical meeting of a 51-year-old woman who suffered from a rare brain disorder. A brain autopsy identified the plaques and tangles that today characterize Alzheimer’s disease.
That’s the only way it can be diagnosed. Autopsy. There is no test that can accurately diagnose the disease. There’s also no cure. There are drugs that may delay the inevitable, but the prognosis for suspected Alzheimer’s is death.
What are the odds that I’ll get Alzheimer’s disease? At my age, it’s about 5%. That’s according to a recent report prepared by the Government Accounting Office and the National Center for Health Statistics. The risk goes up as I get older until I have about a 50/50 chance of developing it by 95. Of course, if I live that long, I’ll have 100% chance of outliving my retirement funds.
I still have twinges of fear about Alzheimer’s disease and do a memory check every time I forget a name, but today my sisters and I participate in the annual Travis County Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We started a team 3 years ago and named it Dave’s Girls.
They have memory walks to raise funds all over the country, but more of my family is near Austin than Corpus Christi so we celebrate there. It’s also the week of my belly button birthday so it’s a cheesy way to get presents and birthday cake.
Better than that, it’s a great way to connect with my sisters, nieces, and grandchildren. Sometimes we talk about old times, sometimes we don’t talk at all. There’s a feeling of victory when we are together. We raise a little money and we raise much less hell than we used to.
Our parents didn’t have much to bequeath us, but one thing that I have from them and that I treasure the most is friendship with my older and younger sisters. What are the odds of that?