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Allison’s Gambit

By Dr. Chris Price - Coming October 2021

Allison’s Gambit is a very relatable story about the breakdown of a caregiver when faced with the burden of taking care of her mother with dementia.   This novel asks the reader if they might similarly try and change their own fate if they would have a similar disease.

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About Allisons Gambit

Allison’s Gambit forces the reader to a conclusion that seems inevitable once we let our mind fully explore an issue we never wish to imagine—our own death.  Though Allison’s decision to start smoking may not be the most popular choice, there is one thing that will become universal.  A better understanding that we need to focus on enjoying the most of what we can from each and every day. 
Caring for her mother who is progressing through the stages of dementia upends what seemed to be a perfectly good life. However, there is a startling difference compared to the sudden death of her father the year before.  In the case of her mother, caregiving results in a mental and physical toll.  A toll which results in an increasingly large burden on Allison and her family.  A burden heightened by the fact that it doesn’t appear that her mother even understands the sacrifices that are being made for her.  
This book will challenge the reader to imagine how they would choose to live under these progressively difficult circumstances.   Circumstances that most likely will be affecting all of us at some point in our lives.  Difficulties that will likely create choices many will find overwhelming.  If you knew you might suffer a similar fate, what decision might you make to change the outcome of your own life?

Why did I write this book?

One day I was confronted with a radical point of view by a patient, I wished to explore this idea with readers.  I asked her “when will you stop smoking?”  She not only replied ‘never!’ she gave me a reason that I found compelled to philosophically explore.  “I recently buried my mother whom I took care of for six years with Alzheimer’s dementia.  I never want to live like that.  I never want to ask someone to care for me like that.  So, I’m going to smoke so I die of something else…before I lose my mind.”
She asserted that she would never stop smoking.   Caring for her mother was so difficult that she wanted to ensure she wouldn’t live long enough to similarly succumb to Alzheimer’s Dementia.  She presumed that if she continued to smoke, she would die young, enjoy the time she had and…never be a burden for others. 
Trying to complete her thought, recognizing she was going to die in any case, I began to wonder, are there better ways to die?   Reflecting upon my time as a Family physician, I had subconsciously thought about this a great deal.   My goal didn’t become to create an instruction manual upon how to live.  But I do strongly feel that if we don’t spend time thinking about our inevitable future, we will suffer far more than we should.   I also feel that considering the idea of being cared for will do ourselves and our family great benefit.  Thus, inevitably, everyone who will eventually die from something should consider reading this book.

Stack of Books

Key Takeaways 

--it’s not depressing, despite it’s subject matter

--they will learn interesting facts about what it’s like to be a patient

--it will challenge them to question how they will confront caregiving

What are the key themes from your book that you really want to share with your audience?

--Focus upon truly living every day.  Don’t take days for granted. 

--Acknowledge the difficulties of caregiving; recognizing help is often required. 

--Don’t wait too late to call hospice.  My experience is that people look at death as a failure.  They pursue every avenue, every treatment until they suddenly realize how much their loved one has been suffering.  Thus, I hope that readers will be more amenable to calling hospice when they can receive comfort for the final several months instead of the typical call with just a few days to weeks remaining.

--We all will die, striving for every possible day is unlikely the best choice. 

Reading Books in Library

Questions to Ponder

  1. If you knew that dementia was in your future, would it change how you lived now?

  2.  As nursing homes seem not to be desired by anyone, can you imagine a better way to care for the elderly.

  3. Why do families take so long to choose hospice when overwhelmingly they feel more at peace once they do?

Woman Holding a Book

Playlist for my book

I was pretty disappointed that due to the costs of rights for songs I couldn’t include lyrics in my novel.  Why I wished to include them is that people who suffer from dementia often remember music more than about anything else.  I feel it must transport their mind and re-center them.  Music has the ability to create a mood.  This is a list of the songs that would have been included if possible.

Jack and Diane from John Cougar

The Fire Inside by Bob Seger

I Am a Rock by Simon and Garfunkel

You Light Up My Life by Debby Boone

Killing Me Softly With His Song by Roberta Flack

Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross

Mercy Mercy Me by Marvin Gaye

Landslide by Fleetwood Mac

I’m Still Standing by Elton John

Rocky Mountain High by John Denver

Time of Your Life by Green Day

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