On his bad days, he might watch a Western movie. Or maybe an episode of the “Andy Griffith Show.” He could have sworn he had seen them all, but it feels like they've made new episodes.
Some of the things he says to the students feel practiced. He has said them to so many different groups — but for a moment, his composure cracks.
It's when he explains how he knew something was wrong, the day his daughter was telling him a story, and he told her that he was confused. He couldn't remember the events she described even though he was a part of the story.
His memories can feel like a broken mirror, with pieces missing that will never return.
“You don't understand what it's like to have abnormal forgetting,” he says, beginning to cry. “With us, it's gone. It's not there any more. That's not normal. That's not normal. And we can mask a lot of things and we can still function at levels — so everything must be OK? No, it's not. And just because you don't know what's going on within us doesn't mean there's not something that's not working right. I'm very grateful and appreciative that I am able to do as well as I am, but I know I'm not who I used to be.”
When Grant read “Alzheimer's” on his brain scan results, his image of Alzheimer's was of an old man in a rocking chair, drooling on himself.
That could still happen, he says, but Grant has given up on the thought that he can control the disease. Grant lets God handle that. Meanwhile, he focuses on the things he loves.
He does chores around the house and tries to show his wife, Vicky, how much he appreciates her. And he tries to spend time with his daughters and grandchildren, like on Thanksgiving when he had a blast with his grandsons.
“Alzheimer's is not going to kill me tomorrow,” Grant said. “ ... The pathology is going to do what it's going to do. Plain and simple. I can't change that, but as I get to where I can't read and can't do certain things and I get to talking and I search for a word and I say the wrong word or I can't remember the proper word I want to use, I just can't let myself get too rattled over that.
“If I focus on things I can't do, I miss what I can do. And there's still a lot of things I can do.”