Thomas, a pediatric anesthesiologist from Ottawa who spent most of his career caring for patients at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is keenly aware of the unique perspective his medical training provides him when it comes to living with his cognitive condition. “What’s Alzheimer’s? I know exactly what it looks like in the brain. If you weren’t a physician or a nurse… I don’t think you could tolerate it like I do. I think you couldn’t believe what’s happening."
For Thomas, social engagement and spiritual connectedness are vital. Regular church visits and frequent prayers bring a sense of peace and safety. “I believe in prayer,” he says. “When there's something that's not going just right, you pray and the Lord answers me every time.” Thomas relishes the companionship of his wife and, more recently, of their dog Charlotte, whom he walks three times a day and describes as “our best friend.” Visiting the neighborhood Starbucks has become part of the family’s daily routine; as for their favorite treats, a salted caramel and a cherry oat bar hit the spot.
Thomas attends a weekly MCI support group at the Penn Memory Center, where he has connected with other patients to share their experiences. "Sometimes you hear solutions to things that you haven't thought of that Joe Blow thought about it,” he says. "It's good to know that other people are battling the same problem.”