Ice Cream in the Cupboard is a moving Alzheimer's memoir that tells the powerful story of Pat Moffett and his wife, Carmen, who developed Alzheimer' at the age of 53 -- dispelling the commonly held belief that Alzheimer's strikes only the elderly.
In the author's note, Moffett writes, "My real mission in writing this book was to bring a renewed awareness to the category of this disease called Early Onset Alzheimer's." This book achieves that mission and more.
Moffett was a successful business executive when his vibrant, witty and intelligent wife, Carmen, began exhibiting signs of forgetfulness, hostility and violence. Not long after, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
The book shows Moffett progressing through some of the stages Alzheimer's caregivers normally experience, namely denial, dealing with difficult behaviors, feeling joy at the patient's moments of total lucidity and placing the loved one in a long-term care facility.
The author's story begins with him in total denial, which he finally overcame and realized his lovely wife, the love of his life did, in fact, have dementia. He also accepted the fact that there was nothing he could do about it except make sure she had the best care available.
He started by getting Carmen a superb doctor, Gisele Wolf-Klein, MD. He then dedicated himself to caring for her, sacrificing his commitment to his career by trimming his 60 hours a week work schedule down to 30 hours.
Moffett developed an uncanny ability to deal with Carmen's angry outbursts and defuse difficult situations. For example, once when they arrived home after an outing Carmen didn't recognize the house and yelled, "That's not my house! I'm not going in there!
Moffett responded by saying, "Hon. I know that's not our house, but I promised the people who live here that I would walk their dog while they're out of town."
Carmen got out of the car and went into the house, where she found her own dog and took her out for a walk.
Finally, Moffett shares his agony as it becomes apparent that Carmen will have to be admitted to a long-term care facility. Those of us who have had to institutionalize our loved ones with dementia can identify with his pain.
Ice Cream in the Cupboard engages the reader from the beginning. It compels one to keep turning the pages if for no other reason than to find out what troublesome behavior Carmen will exhibit next and how Moffett will deal with it.
As the book ends, Carmen has been in a skilled nursing facility for three years. And though she didn't always know who Moffett was, she often told him, "I love you." She lost her battle with Alzheimer's in 2010.
The book has two appendices. The first is a short essay by Dr. Wolf-Klein, entitled "The Future of Alzheimer's." Appendix II is a brief article by Moffett with advice about how to select an in-home caregiver. There is also a short list of Alzheimer's disease organizations, resources, and books.
About the Author: Pat Moffett has been a world-renowned internal logistics executive for 40 years. A decorated Vietnam War veteran, he is also the author of the critically acclaimed book, Fortunate Soldier. You can visit him on his website.
About the Book: Pat Moffett. Ice Cream in the Cupboard. 2008. Garrison-Savanna Publishing. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all major booksellers. Also available in a Spanish edition.