LISTen, Remind Me…

“What is something for which you constantly need reminding? ”

That never used to be a problem for me.

Oh, I could go on about memory in general, but I will try to make it brief.

I was the one who did the reminding; I still do. I never forgot a thing,  even as a  young child  and everyone relied on me to remember and remind them.

I was a walking day planner.

I was an A student because I remembered almost everything,
but not anymore.

ONE thing for which I now need  to be reminded?
I have to remind myself about nearly everything.

No one is going to remind me.

I never made a grocery list until later in life, and boy, I need one now. I can walk right past the bananas at times and forget to get them. Seriously, bananas, milk, and bread, of all the staple and always-bought things.  If they aren’t on the list, I might very well forget them, (and have).

If I lose my list or forget it, I am lost. If I mention it to anyone, inevitably they will say to me, “Can’t you remember what you wrote down?”   I write things down so that I don’t have to try to remember!

I have an errand list sometimes.

I certainly never needed a menu list for the holidays or for other times with guests, but I make one now, even for things which are traditional and are family must-haves. (Turkey breast [check], regular dressing  [check], quinoa dressing [check].Pies: Pecan [check], Pumpkin [check], Apple,[check], Cookies: Spice[check],Bandy[check],Lemon-pecan [check] :dough made[check], cut & baked [check], iced[check]. It goes on long, but you can get the idea.)

As much as the one grandchild who has needed my (at times) constant attention or, in the last few years, needed nearly daily attention, I have to set alarms on my phone to call him. Yes, I do, because I will remember too early or too late.


It isn’t just age; I have probably brought up the fact that the phenomenal memory took a hit early on after  I woke up in the middle of my second C-section, (35 years ago this month). I was told that it was the anesthesia. I bounced back a bit, but I could tell that I was not the same. 18 years ago I had several procedures within a few months and I really lost a lot of short–term memory capability. In the following years, I lost more with every time I was ‘put under’. As I was speaking to one anesthesiologist, she told me that it was Versed, which they used in conjunction with anesthesia. “It’s an amnesia drug”, she said “so that the patient has no recall.”  When I told her that I had been through a great deal of trauma and that I would rather have my memory intact, she said, “Tonette, most people don’t want to remember a thing from when they walk in the front door until they walk out”.
Many hospitals have stopped using Versed all the time and I make sure that I always speak to all of the anesthesiologists before a procedure. The worst part was that I was told by a nurse years ago that it was anesthesia that caused me to be violently ill when I would wake up, (I found out they were giving me pain meds while I was under), so I think that one nurse anesthetist probably double-loaded me with Versed before I knew what the problem was. For two weeks, I could not even complete sentences. Unlike most people, my short-term memory never fully returns. after that medication, it was four steps backwards, three steps forward, every time.

I also know that physical discomfort is distracting and plays on one’s nerves, as well,and well, life has gotten harder that way, as well.

Of course, now there are more family members and I have more people and concerns bouncing around in my head. Nearly 30 years ago a woman I knew called me panicking and asked,
“Can a person get Alzheimer’s at 38?”
I said, “Yes, they can. June, but if you are concerned about yourself, you have too much on your mind.” Her husband had been seriously ill and had just bounced back, but the problems would remain chronic. They had four children between the ages of 10-4. They homeschooled (brilliantly); they were active in church, Sunday school,  AWANA, clubs, 4H, Scouting and sports, ALL OF THE TIME, (baseball, basketball, soccer). I honestly don’t know how she did it. I told her so.

I can’t ‘get used’ to not remembering everything. It’s like a runner losing a foot, I can tell you. I don’t get as upset anymore, but I have to make an effort.

Where I would be able to tell everything about a person to themselves when they would forget that they had previously met me, (and that happens a lot; I have never understood it), I now have real trouble with names and sometimes, faces.

Life changes.

However, every single day 2-4 family members will say to me, “Remind me to…”

And so, I make a list.


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
This entry was posted in decisions, disability, experiences, Family, food, goals, holidays, inspiration, Life, Lists, memories, shopping, sports, Tonette Joyce. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to LISTen, Remind Me…

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    “Like a runner losing a foot.”
    Yes, it’s that sense of loss, for those of us whose memories used to be clear and constant.
    One of the things I did in my library administrative job was interview prospective applicants. I believe I conducted some 1200 interviews before I stopped counting. Anyway, I recall — as merely one example — a young male who said he’d been in the Army. I asked “when did you enlist?”
    He replied, “I don’t remember.”
    I said, “how could you not remember that?”
    At that point — and, still, in fact — I know that I pre-enlisted in the summer of 1970 and took the actual oath on 1-25-71 (which was also the day we were flown from New Orleans to San Antonio for basic training).
    My point here is that I was appalled this young male could not remember his enlistment date… when all it really said was, “his enlistment was not as important to him as mine was to me.” OR “his time in the military was not as enriching as mine was to me.”
    Once I considered that particular memory (or lack of it) from different angles, it was easier to understand why he couldn’t answer.


    • Oh, my LONG-term memory is in good shape; I can remember tin gs from the age of 3, much of it from 4-on.
      The man could not remember when he enlisted in the military? As much as my pets are members of the family,I have lost track on when exactly each of the cats we now have entered the house,(loads of family drama), but a life-changing experience like going in to the Army, of all things…I would not have hired him.


  2. [Once again, my answer did not post.] Count your blessings but it really wasn’t the anesthesia, but the pre-op meds “to help relax you” that attacked my memory. In most people, it just wears off completely.I am not that lucky.
    When they ask’ How many surgeries have you had” it is worded badly; they want to know how many time you have been put under anesthesia. Procedures such as colonoscopies, endoscopies , etc., count as ‘surgeries’ in that case.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I hate that the anesthesia affected you that way. My memory was much like yours in your younger days, but life does happen. I guess we’ll just keep writing things down.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. trishafaye says:

    Thank goodness for lists!!! And post-it notes! I don’t think I could survive without those lovely sticky beauties LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting about the Versed meds. Good to share that info, yes. The body remember trauma that the we can’t recall, but I know several people that had illnesses or surgeries that changed their brains and thus traits and personalities etc. The older I get, the more medicine is like other shopping… gotta ask questions, check the prices and do comparing. It sounds like you’re coping well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Charlotte.Among the important things that I have learned it is that 1) you must be your own medical advocate because only YOU know how you are feeling and if anything is affecting you adversely and 2) you must speak with others, because too many medical people just go literally ‘by-the-book’, and individuals can be affected differently. For instance, many people take ibuprofen for headaches, yet it always gave me terrible headaches.I found out later that it can badly affect people with lupus and has been suspected of causing meningitis is in them.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment.I truly appreciate it.


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