By Alan Schwarz
ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 9 — The night that Sylvia Mackey and Eleanor Perfetto first met, back in October at a Baltimore Ravens reception for former National Football League players and their families, their connection was immediate. As she sat on a couch with her husband, Mrs. Mackey watched Dr. Perfetto cradle the hand of her husband as he blankly shuffled across the floor toward the Mackeys.
“Your husband has dementia,” Mrs. Mackey said.
“Yours does, too,” Dr. Perfetto replied.
“We both just knew,” Dr. Perfetto recalled on Friday, when the two visited the assisted-living facility where Dr. Perfetto’s husband, Ralph Wenzel, resides. Mrs. Mackey quickly added, “You can see it in the wives’ faces just like the husbands’.”
Another feel good story from your friends at Tango. While this story is not 100% apropos to our subject matter, it does bring up questions about care for invalid spouses, particularly prematurely invalid ones. This is a solid move by the NFL; they make sure to avoid some culpability, but take care of their own. A comparison has often been made between football players and gladiators. Gladiators had the comfort of knowing that they would likely die in the arena and not suffer these problems. Gladiators also knew that if they didn’t watch it, some other gladiator might try to get frisky in the baths. So there are pros and cons of football and gladiatorial careers.