“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.
However, every single day 2-4 family members will say to me, “Remind me to…”
And so, I make a list.