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Supremely Poignant: Sandra Day O'Connor Blesses Alzheimer Hubby's Affair
NY Post ^ | 11/12/07 | Hasani Gittens

Posted on 11/14/2007 10:52:46 AM PST by dead

The retired Supreme Court justice's spouse, John O'Connor, has had Alzheimer's disease for 17 years, and after moving into an assisted-living center in Phoenix, he began a romance with a fellow patient also suffering from the mind-debilitating ailment.

But the justice isn't jealous - the O'Connor family believes the love has given John, 77, a new lease on life.

"Mom was thrilled that dad was relaxed and happy and comfortable living here and wasn't complaining," their son Scott O'Connor, 50, told Phoenix's KPNX-TV.

Scott said that when his father recently arrived at the Huger Mercy Living Center, he was depressed.

"He knew this was sort of the beginning of the end," said Scott O'Connor. "It was basically suicide talk."

Then John O'Connor was moved to another part of the center, where he met a lady simply known as Kay.

They are often together and hold hands, Scott told KPNX.

"Forty-eight hours after moving into that new cottage, he was a teenager in love. He was happy."

< snip >

(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: alzheimers; assistedliving; dementia; elderly; oconnor; sandradayoconnor
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1 posted on 11/14/2007 10:52:46 AM PST by dead
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To: dead

No one can know how much the man was in control of his faculties.

As much as I dislike Sandy, I think it’s a mature and rational reaction on her part.

Likely that he’s been a completely different person to her and toward her for a while now, which is why he’s in the retirement home.


2 posted on 11/14/2007 10:55:57 AM PST by American_Centurion (No, I don't trust the government to automatically do the right thing.)
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To: dead

Does Kay’s family know that their mother is being abused by this facility? She is not of sound mind. If there is sexual contact, it’s Rape.


3 posted on 11/14/2007 10:56:07 AM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: dead

This really is a very sweet story. Good for Justice O’Conner for sharing it.


4 posted on 11/14/2007 10:56:33 AM PST by Mercat (Waddle around and make new friends.)
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To: dead
It is sad that they forget their spouses.

This disease is truly devastating to all affected by it.

5 posted on 11/14/2007 10:56:38 AM PST by Jersey Republican Biker Chick (RIP Eric Medlen. You will be missed.../ Get well Soon John Force!!!)
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To: dead

Too much information, thank you.


6 posted on 11/14/2007 10:57:02 AM PST by rhombus
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To: dead

Very HEALTHY reaction Sandra!


7 posted on 11/14/2007 10:57:20 AM PST by mosaicwolf
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To: dead

Sandra Day O’Connor.

Ronald Reagan didn’t make many mistakes, but he sure did make one colossal mistake with her.


8 posted on 11/14/2007 10:57:31 AM PST by Responsibility2nd
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To: dead
And so why are they sharing this lovely situation with the whole wide world?!?
9 posted on 11/14/2007 10:57:34 AM PST by Yossarian (Everyday, somewhere on the globe, somebody is pushing the frontier of stupidity...)
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To: American_Centurion
I watched a special on this and they simply do not remember their spouse anymore.

Sandy is dealing with this in a very dignified manner.

10 posted on 11/14/2007 10:57:44 AM PST by Jersey Republican Biker Chick (RIP Eric Medlen. You will be missed.../ Get well Soon John Force!!!)
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To: dead

What an unenviable situation. The headline is a little silly. It’s not like they’re running off for a tryst in the broom closet.


11 posted on 11/14/2007 10:57:50 AM PST by Aggie Mama
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To: Jersey Republican Biker Chick

I know, I’ve had relatives with Alzheimer’s. It’s very tough if you don’t come to the understanding that they are no longer capable of being WHO you remember them to be.


12 posted on 11/14/2007 11:00:16 AM PST by American_Centurion (No, I don't trust the government to automatically do the right thing.)
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To: American_Centurion

It truely is among the cruelest of diseases.

Not a big fan of the meds they use, either -— violence is one of the side effects of some.


13 posted on 11/14/2007 11:02:36 AM PST by TheThirdRuffian
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To: massgopguy

And who would the rapist be, Kay or the male figure here?

If both are suffereing from the same ailment, I don’t see why Kay would be the innocent one. Do you?

I believe the toughest choice Sandra and the family of Kay had to make, was institutionalizing their family member. I would suspect both families are happy their loved ones have found a comfort that replaces the fatalistic nightmare each faced alone. And yes, when you’re institutionalized in those places for a majority of the time you’re just that, very very alone, isolated and cut off from all that came before.


14 posted on 11/14/2007 11:02:50 AM PST by DoughtyOne (Mrs Crinton have Pay Feava. There she go now. "Ah Hsu Ahhh Hsu Ah Hsu!" Crintons worth every penny.)
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To: dead

O’Connor is not one of my favorite SCOTUS Justices (then again, she’s not the worst either), but I must applaud her on this. She’s handling it in a very healthy way.


15 posted on 11/14/2007 11:02:55 AM PST by lesser_satan (READ MY LIPS: NO NEW RINOS | FRED THOMPSON/ DUNCAN HUNTER '08)
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To: dead

There was a movie based on a situation like this, that came out within the last year. Except it was a woman entering the nursing facility, and the husband went to visit her every day. I cannot remember the name of the movie, though.


16 posted on 11/14/2007 11:02:59 AM PST by marvlus
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To: American_Centurion

I agree. The very fact that they decided to put him in an assisted-living facility (esp given that I’m sure they have the means and wealth to take care of him at home). means that he has changed so much they can no longer recognize him or he can recognize them. It’s really awful.


17 posted on 11/14/2007 11:03:12 AM PST by Clock King (Bring the noise!)
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To: massgopguy
She is not of sound mind. If there is sexual contact, it’s Rape.

By whom? When two senile Alzheimer's patients start a romance, who is the "rapist?"

18 posted on 11/14/2007 11:04:06 AM PST by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind...)
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To: marvlus

The Notebook.


19 posted on 11/14/2007 11:04:26 AM PST by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
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To: Jersey Republican Biker Chick; SierraWasp

I have early onset Alzheimer’s and I’ll be danged if I can convince my girlfriend that the nurse I met at the doctor’s office who diagnosed me, has given me a new lease on life.


20 posted on 11/14/2007 11:04:32 AM PST by BOBTHENAILER (One by one, in small groups or in whole armies, we don't care how we do it, but we're gonna getcha)
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To: dead

Hmmm, I wonder how “Honey, Its not what you think, I have Alzheimer’s!” will work as an excuse?


21 posted on 11/14/2007 11:05:09 AM PST by Bob Buchholz
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To: dead

None of our business, in my opinion.


22 posted on 11/14/2007 11:05:31 AM PST by American Quilter (The urge to save humanity is nearly always a cover for the urge to rule. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: Jersey Republican Biker Chick

I’ve also heard of the heartbreak of Alzheimer’s patients who can’t remember that their spouse is deceased. When they are lucid enough to ask for their spouse and are reminded that this spouse has passed away, it is like hearing this devastating news for the first time. Over and over again.

Many recommend just saying that the spouse is busy or couldn’t make it that day.

Very sad. I admit this story seems a bit voyeuristic, but it is also educating people to the real challenges this horrible disease brings to the whole family.


23 posted on 11/14/2007 11:06:19 AM PST by YankeeGirl
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To: BOBTHENAILER

Are you serious?


24 posted on 11/14/2007 11:06:37 AM PST by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: massgopguy

Good grief.
Abuse? Rape?
It sounds like he is holding on to the best part of humanity that he remembers - love.
He is an old man who just wants someone to hold his hand.


25 posted on 11/14/2007 11:07:15 AM PST by Stark_GOP
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To: Alter Kaker
By whom? When two senile Alzheimer's patients start a romance, who is the "rapist?"

Neither.

26 posted on 11/14/2007 11:07:49 AM PST by Prokopton
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To: Oberon

That’s not the name of the movie I saw. The Notebook had James Garner in it, correct? If so, that’s not the one. It was something like “It’s time to go” or something like that.


27 posted on 11/14/2007 11:08:30 AM PST by marvlus
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To: American_Centurion
I have not dealt with it personally, but I have a few on-line friends who have.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to have a loved one afflicted by this.

28 posted on 11/14/2007 11:08:48 AM PST by Jersey Republican Biker Chick (RIP Eric Medlen. You will be missed.../ Get well Soon John Force!!!)
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To: dead

Ugh.


29 posted on 11/14/2007 11:09:37 AM PST by Age of Reason
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To: massgopguy

>>Does Kay’s family know that their mother is being abused by this facility? She is not of sound mind. If there is sexual contact, it’s Rape.<<

If two people with Alzheimer’s have sex why would it automatically be rape.

And why would it be the man that is charged?


30 posted on 11/14/2007 11:09:49 AM PST by gondramB (Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.)
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To: Jersey Republican Biker Chick
Much better than coming downstairs to investigate an argument and be accused by your Father of being a bouncer in a speak-easy gin mill and watch him pack his saltines, Tobasco sauce and slippers and sit on the porch to wait for the train to come by to take him to his house.
31 posted on 11/14/2007 11:09:53 AM PST by N. Theknow (Kennedys: Can't drive, can't fly, can't ski, can't skipper a boat; but they know what's best for us)
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To: N. Theknow

I am truly sorry you had to witness those things.

<P.I pray that they find a cure for this terrible disease.


32 posted on 11/14/2007 11:11:18 AM PST by Jersey Republican Biker Chick (RIP Eric Medlen. You will be missed.../ Get well Soon John Force!!!)
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To: dead
This just in... Kent Brockman reporting--

Former President Clinton says... "I keep telling Hill I've got Alzheimer's, but she wants a note from my doctor."

Film... at 11!

33 posted on 11/14/2007 11:12:51 AM PST by Bender2 ("I've got a twisted sense of humor, and everything amuses me." RAH Beyond this Horizon)
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To: AppyPappy
Are you serious?

Series as a moose attack, ap.

Nah, jest havin' a little fun on a very serious topic. No disrespect meant to anybody with family members or friends so afflicted.

I know, I have a couple of relatives who had it, and the pain it creates is real. In our family, humor was the only relief.

34 posted on 11/14/2007 11:13:38 AM PST by BOBTHENAILER (One by one, in small groups or in whole armies, we don't care how we do it, but we're gonna getcha)
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To: marvlus
Yes, I was thinking of the James Garner film The Notebook, which is based on a Nick Sparks novel. In that story, Garner and his wife both live in the nursing home, though Garner's character is fit and doesn't need to be there. He's there for his wife, whom he loves dearly, though she no longer remembers who he is.

I haven't heard of the film you mention.

35 posted on 11/14/2007 11:13:48 AM PST by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
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To: marvlus; Oberon
It was something like “It’s time to go” or something like that.

Boy, was I way off. It was called "Away from her" I hope I'm destined for this situation, just yet! :-)

36 posted on 11/14/2007 11:14:40 AM PST by marvlus
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To: marvlus
Away From Her
37 posted on 11/14/2007 11:15:05 AM PST by kanawa (Don't go where you're looking, look where you're going.)
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To: marvlus

LOL...little too slow


38 posted on 11/14/2007 11:15:35 AM PST by kanawa (Don't go where you're looking, look where you're going.)
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To: marvlus; Oberon
I hope I'm not destined for this situation, just yet! :-)
39 posted on 11/14/2007 11:16:42 AM PST by marvlus
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To: kanawa

Ha Ha!


40 posted on 11/14/2007 11:18:50 AM PST by marvlus
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To: Jersey Republican Biker Chick
Some of the stuff he did, you honestly would cry one minute and laugh your butt off the next.

What a blessing when "the train" did come by and took him home.

One time at the home we asked if he wanted to sit in the TV room.

He said, "No. There's dead people in there."

Wondering if he had developed a sixth sense or something similar we looked in the TV room and there were about a half dozen residents sleeping in chairs.

Took him for a ride in the car and passed the Shrine Temple and he recited his initiation perfectly.

Knew hymns. Knew scripture.

Go figure.

41 posted on 11/14/2007 11:20:14 AM PST by N. Theknow (Kennedys: Can't drive, can't fly, can't ski, can't skipper a boat; but they know what's best for us)
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To: dead

Don’t most Alzheimer’s patients live in the waaaaay past.....my grandmother did. I took family pictures when I went to see her......she didn’t know who I was, but she knew who her parents were.....so it doesn’t surprise me that an Alzheimer’s patient would revert to teenage behavior.


42 posted on 11/14/2007 11:27:25 AM PST by goodnesswins (Being Challenged Builds Character! Being Coddled Destroys Character!)
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To: marvlus

Fittingly what slowed me up was then inability to remember Gordon Pinsett’s name.
Caught a glimpse of the movie as the lady of the house was watching it
and his presense caught my attention. He’s a bit of a Canadian treasure.

Whenever I have difficulty recalling like that I am reminded that
both my grandfather and father developed what I grew up knowing as senility.
I am somewhat resigned to the posssiblity that it will be my fate as well.


43 posted on 11/14/2007 11:34:46 AM PST by kanawa (Don't go where you're looking, look where you're going.)
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To: BOBTHENAILER

God Bless you, I wish you well in everything you do.


44 posted on 11/14/2007 11:37:35 AM PST by JerseyDvl (If You Support America - Thank a Soldier; If You Support Al-Qaeda - Thank a Democrat!)
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To: kanawa

Get as much fatty acids or DHA (think fish oil/flax seeds) into your diet as you can.


45 posted on 11/14/2007 11:40:48 AM PST by Aggie Mama
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To: dead
Justice O'Connor was not my fav, but she (along with her adult children) is handling this beautifully.

My mother in law has Alzheimers (as did her late sister) and the rapid progression is stunning. She can remember her sons, myself and my sister in law; and our older children. The younger ones (four boys all born in the last 14 years) she can't. Who are they? Are you going send these kids back to their parents? Its as though there is some 'line' in her brain and anything after that certain point is gone. She can't remember that her sister is gone; she will call her neice to ask how her mom is doing (she remembers how to dial the phone; but can't 'learn' to use a microwave or a remote control). It is heartbreaking.

46 posted on 11/14/2007 11:56:51 AM PST by PennsylvaniaMom (I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them. Jane Austen.)
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To: massgopguy

Abused? The article said the two senile old people sit next to each other and hold hands. Or do you know something we don’t know?

In my father’s dotage -— in the two years before he died —— he called all the CNA’s “Doll” and kissed their hands. I was grateful that they accepted his gestures in good humor. Even people who are losing their mental capacities need affection and love: God bless them all.


47 posted on 11/14/2007 12:08:00 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (Sorry: Tag-line presently at the dry cleaners. Please find suitable bumper-sticker instead.)
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To: YankeeGirl
My mother only asked once and never asked again. She thought I was a relative. I told her I was her son. She said Nooooooooo. You see she was only 27/84 and I was so old. It still brings up a small chuckle. It was better than her mother. She replied in French to my questions.
48 posted on 11/14/2007 12:40:03 PM PST by Domangart (editor and publisher)
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To: dead

I’m sorry but adulterous sex in a nursing home is disgusting


49 posted on 11/14/2007 12:48:24 PM PST by ari-freedom (I am for traditional moral values, a strong national defense, and free markets.)
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To: gondramB
If two people with Alzheimer’s have sex why would it automatically be rape. And why would it be the man that is charged?

for the same reason why having sex with a kid is rape. Doesn't mean the man should be thrown in jail, after all he is in the same condition. But the nursing home should not allow people to be violated in this manner.
50 posted on 11/14/2007 12:55:17 PM PST by ari-freedom (I am for traditional moral values, a strong national defense, and free markets.)
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