– Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;But O heart! heart! heart!O the bleeding drops of red,Where on the deck my Captain lies,Fallen cold and dead.O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;Here Captain! dear father!This arm beneath your head!It is some dream that on the deck,You’ve fallen cold and dead.My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;Exult O shores, and ring O bells!But I with mournful tread,Walk the deck my Captain lies,Fallen cold and dead.
– Walt Whitman, O Captain! My Captain!
I wonder whether the lower rates of Black Americans with dental insurance could be, at least, part of the reason for this. Our previous post, We may finally know what causes Alzheimer’s – and how to stop it | New Scientist, if you aren’t sure what I’m talking about.
Just spitballing for now.
This is most welcome news. Coming later than I wish but heading our way, nonetheless. I don’t pretend to understand all of the science involved because I am not a scientist. I do know enough to understand that the logic behind the hypothesis is sound: Porphyromonas gingivalis, the key bacteria in chronic gum disease may be the cause of Alzheimer’s.
If this does turn out to be true we will have a serious case for the universal inclusion (mandated, if necessary) of dental benefits in public and private health insurance. The dollar savings from being able to eliminate Alzheimer’s and/or dementia would be staggering. The population bubble coming behind the Baby Boomers will only make that even greater.
The relative amounts of prevention and cure come to mind.
Ounce or pound?
This will be the choice we’ll need to make should this all come to pass. I, for one, prefer ounce.
Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease.
Like a much loved jumper.
One that you have had forever, a security blanket.
Then one day, you notice that it’s beginning to get holes, that the buttons are falling off.
It doesn’t worry you at first because you expect it.
Then the loose threads appear, slowly at first, then gradually faster.
And even if you try and re-stitch them, you realise that your beloved jumper is Actually unravelling faster than you can repair it, that it is losing its shape, its form and eventually its purpose.
That all you have left is a pile of yarn – and you can’t find the beginning or the end.
Yet you know it is in there, somewhere…
Together, but apart.
This is the sort of information that we should have had years ago but it was sacrificed on the altar of prohibition. Seasoned with a bit of good old fashioned racism and don’t forget our old friend xenophobia.
But, hopefully, we are on our way to changing this. Sure, it’s because the politicians see an advantage in being on the side of repealing prohibition but you knew that was going to be the case anyway. Right?