Sutton battling hard against Alzheimer’s

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An Atmore man is fighting against the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease, and wants others to know that he believes it can be fought.

Adolph “Doc” Sutton Jr. said he was recently diagnosed with the disease, which has symptoms that include a steady loss of memory and intuition. Sutton said he has taken some medicine to counteract the disease, but believes that his positive attitude and mental stimulation are just as successful in fighting it.

“The people who know me real close, because they’re with me all the time, they admit that they think I’m getting better,” Sutton said. “Doctors have said that it’s eventually going to get me, but that was a couple of years ago when I first heard that.

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“I’m not saying this to make myself look good, or anything like that,” he said. “I just want people to know that I think you can actually fight this thing.”

Sutton said two ways that he tries to fight the disease are by reading books, and also doing mental exercises. For example, when Sutton is watching TV, if a commercial comes on with a phone number, he will try to rearrange the digits in order in his head. So if the number is “251-368-2123,” he will put the digits in sequential order like this: “1122233568.”

“I’ve had doctors tell me that reading is hard when you have dementia, but I still think that I can read,” he said. “I still enjoy reading, and I’ve learned a lot.”

Sutton is especially anxious to battle Alzheimer’s for as long as he can, because he watched his mother suffer and eventually die from the disease. He said it was terrible to watch what the disease did to her, as she changed from a kind lady to someone who would regularly curse and swear at her son.

“It was awful,” he said. “I would have to say, ‘No, mama, that’s not right mama…you mustn’t say that, mama,’ until eventually she gave up. I know that wasn’t the kind of woman that my mama was, but that was what the disease did to her.

“It’s the worst feeling in the world to be around someone with Alzheimer’s, because you’re literally there watching them slowly die.”

Sutton also provided a letter to the editor to The Advance, further detailing his struggle with the disease. It is printed, as follows:

“Alzheimer’s disease was first identified by a German neurologist, Alois Alzheimer, in 1906. His subject, a 57-year-old woman who exhibited problems with memory and disorientation. Later, Dr. Alzheimer identified depression and hallucinations as additional symptoms. The woman continued to deteriorate. Severe dementia was evident … she eventually died.
“My mother was described as above … died at home, 81 years of age. I was there.

“Now … I have been told that I am, have been, infected by the Devil himself … Alzheimer’s. Well, maybe I am … my infection may be true and I can accept it … but can I not fight it?

“Now … I accept damage to my brain … football, boxing. At the present time my memory hides from me and I may forget where my keys are, etc. Or I forget a word that I know, but … I can’t get it from the tip of my tongue … but five or so minutes or less, it comes to me.

“At present my memory is improving, not getting worse … and my medicine is helping. My friends and loved ones concede that I am improving, too.”