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The Kind of September: A College Deans Race Against Time and Alzheimer's
     

The Kind of September: A College Deans Race Against Time and Alzheimer's

by Dr. William Donohue
 
Jim Johnson could be any man in Everytown, America. It happens that he is a 50 year old Dean of Students, a husband and parent of three children. Unfortunately, he is also one of the 5 million American's with Alzheimer's disease. His diagnosis comes very early in his life, when progress of the disease is most swift. This is his first person report, and the reflections

Overview

Jim Johnson could be any man in Everytown, America. It happens that he is a 50 year old Dean of Students, a husband and parent of three children. Unfortunately, he is also one of the 5 million American's with Alzheimer's disease. His diagnosis comes very early in his life, when progress of the disease is most swift. This is his first person report, and the reflections of his wife, Deanna.

"September" shares the nuanced transition from caring dean to care-giver dean, and from caring family members -- which include a techie son, college-bound daughter and younger daughter with Down syndrome -- to dedicated team of care-givers. Their syncopated grief and confusion mirror the Dean's own challenges with his parents a generation earlier.

Jim Johnson becomes the increasingly reluctant care recipient as he races against time and disease to capture his family and career memories.

Johnson's wife Deanna joins the long fight as a trained nurse and care-giver-in-conflict, trying to care for the dean, chronicle the best in her husband, and manage her family during his merciless slide.

The Kind of September is authentic and tender, instructive and alarming. Within the tragedy of so many family "speed bumps," as Johnson calls them, the reader will find humor and irony. As he captures the raucous student stories of his past, they bring back the poignant parallels in his own family history. Or so he thinks, as he ... tries to remember.

The Johnson story is a reminder that the unexpected can happen at any time to all of us. If not disease or old age, then life-altering incident.

Is simply caring for each other enough, or is there a formula, an intentional path we might walk to nuance our eventual roles as care-givers? William Donohue's first novel crosses three generations to share one families world of speed bumps to help you decide.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A vivid, touching account of Alzheimer's ravaging a bright, capable man. What happens when someone shifts from being a caregiver to needing care himself or herself? In his debut novel, Donohue masterfully examines this delicate, complicated transition, featuring Jim Johnson, a dean of students who, at only 50, discovers he has Alzheimer's. As the father of three children, one of whom has Down syndrome, Jim had always been the one administering care and attention at work and at home. As his descent into helplessness begins, he reflects back to his own parents, whose feebleness he could not understand or tolerate. Struggling for control while he still can, Jim fights desperately to maintain his dignity as well as his memories. Much falls on the shoulders of his wife, Deanna, who, as a trained nurse, is more than equipped to handle the medical issues, but as his loving wife, she now balances what is essentially single-parenthood with caring for her husband as if he's another child. Jim's family rallies around him, eager to cherish the disappearing moments of the man they know and the wisdom he has to impart. Together, they face the uncertain future. Told with honesty and sensitivity, this tale of demise takes on the deep, complex issues related to the emotions behind a devastating diagnosis. As the novel explores Jim's and his parents' and children's generations, the different roles and dynamics are brought to life through the prism of suffering. Yet this isn't merely a story of disease; it's one of hope amid resignation, triumph despite inevitable defeat. A beautifully told story of how a family finds strength when their bedrock weakens.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781478214045
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
01/28/2013
Pages:
276
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

William R. Donohue, is a retired college administrator, special needs advocate, and first time novelist. Dr. Donohue was born and raised in Iowa, attended Michigan State for his graduate education, and served as Dean/Vice Chancellor for student life for thirty-three years across six states. He capped his formal work life as Executive Director of The Special Children's School in Winston Salem, North Carolina. In retirement he plays golf, raises popcorn and shares a wonderful life with his wife Deborah, and three children: Carrie, Jeremy, and Lindsay.

Donohue's family history includes members with Down syndrome, Polio, ALS, Muscular Dystrophy, and Alzheimer's Disease, which engage his passion for state-wide special needs policies, networked fund raising, and local research.

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