By Sunny Glessner
Isn’t everyone challenged somehow today? My challenge is my memory. I can remember my name but maybe not yours. Seriously. And I do mean seriously. We all know about using lists. Well, I’ve done that for years including my bucket list, but now I forget to take the list with me or can’t decipher what I’ve written. So much for lists.
It’s quite embarrassing to talk to friends after time has passed and not remember whether their mom is still alive. If she is, I want to know how she’s doing, but not be reminded that she passed away two years ago. It’s also embarrassing when Los Angeles friends call from the restaurant in Malibu where you’ve agreed to meet and you’re still at home. Just a couple of examples of how we lose our personal dignity.
Although dementia is seldom genetic, our odds increase as we get older. Trust me, we aren’t like cheeses and don’t get better as we age. About 35 out of 100 people have some form of dementia by age 85. Small comfort while we’re still compos mentis but are aware we’re on a downward spiral. And why don’t we forget the bad things that have happened and remember only the good? Instead, we can end up in a fugue.
I’m sure glad I did my memoirs while I still had some recall. I only wished I’d started earlier when both my parents and I had better recollections. Now I don’t trust what my dad says on the rare occasion when he does reminisce while I consider sodium pentothal for myself to get the truth. What do you think?
After whining for two or more years (I forget how many), my doctor finally referred me to a research study for a drug meant to arrest memory loss. The first step was to fill out a questionnaire six pages long, and it was hopeless from the start. If I remembered all that stuff, I wouldn’t need the drug. Then, after an EEG and MRI came the CDG (coup de gras)—I didn’t qualify because my memory was too good. Guess I shouldn’t have tried so hard on the two-hour oral exam, but I do get competitive. The doctor was happy to give me the good news and I guess it was. I return next year for more tests.
One benefit to admitting this weakness is that it gives others permission to admit theirs. And it’s also comforting to know I have so much company. I’ve also shrunk over two inches in height. Wait, that’s a different rant.
One of the weird things happening to me is that, although I can’t remember a particular word, sometimes I come up with words I haven’t used in years, if ever. Like the other day, I used the word “inadvertently.” I mean, how many times have you used that word in conversation?
There’s no way to know how quickly the condition will progress. Consequently, I’m taking no chances. I just have to find that bucket list so I can remember to complete everything on it!
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