While not quite my fav author, Terry Pratchett undoubtly deserves more acclaim and applause than most.
Not the least his brave fight against Alzheimer, as described in this interview.
After having told the world last December about his condition, he has been struggling to improve. And has discovered the usual silly obstacles which show that also National Health Service has symptoms.
He was genuinely angered, however, to find that he and others of his age are too young to get the Alzheimer’s drug Aricept on the NHS.However, his daily life has become somewhat better.
“If I ate myself into obesity I could get pills for that for nothing. If I wanted Viagra I could get that for nothing. But I can’t get a drug that gives me that little bit of extra edge. I can afford £90 a month, of course, but there may be someone who can’t in his fifties with early-onset Alzheimer’s with dependants - anything that gives an extra edge must be worth it.”
Last week’s Sunday Times story that patients who paid for their own cancer drugs would be denied NHS treatment enraged him. “In the early days of the NHS, if someone had a bit of spare cash they would hand it over to their doctor and he’d say thank you very much. I cannot see how paying for their own drugs undermines the NHS.”
Feeling that the disease is ignored, he has given more than £500,000 to Alzheimer’s research.
Anger aside, Aricept and/or turmeric seems to be working for him. His condition has improved since December. In the car, he no longer has to keep stabbing away with the seatbelt; he can fasten it in one. Dressing, he’s no longer baffled by his clothes; he just puts them on.His condition (or perhaps something else) has also led to more intriguing effects.
And here’s a thing: Pratchett may have found God. He says he is an atheist; but after his diagnosis, something happened. At the time, he was busy with all the new demands on his time and feeling that, perhaps, he ought to be writing.Not much to go on really, however experiences always need to be interpreted. And Pratchett seems to believe this has something to do with God. Even if his God is rather detached.
“I’m certainly not a man of faith, but as I was rushing down the stairs one day . . . it was very strange. And I say this reluctantly, because I am trying to deal with this situation in as hardheaded a way as I can. I suddenly knew that everything was okay, that what I was doing was right and I didn’t know why.
It was his first such experience. Did it make him rethink his lack of faith?So, like Antony Flew, Terry Pratchett may be closing up on God. Or perhaps God on him.
“Faith in what? If I get pushed in this corner, I believe in the same God that Einstein did. Einstein was a clever bloke . . . And it is just possible that once you have got past all the gods that we have created with big beards and many human traits, just beyond all that on the other side of physics, there just may be the ordered structure from which everything flows.
“That is both a kind of philosophy and totally useless - it doesn’t take you anywhere. But it fills a hole.”
Of course, this will lead to juvenile jokes about belief in God indicating Alzheimer. Lovers of parodic fantasy sometimes are rather more into parody than fantasy. Still, I think most will show proper tact and courtesy.
Like the best wizards of Discworld.