I have known it for a long time, in fact, many years if I am honest, that my memory, isn’t quite what it used to be. Twelve years ago, I was put through a full range of those annoying tests, where they read things to you, ask you to memorise list,then answer questions ten minutes later. Not to mention the flashcards with pictures you have to name, and that odd drawing of a picture you meant to draw a copy of, once they have hidden it. I in fact, had three spaced over a three-year period, that’s how I became very sure of that there was a real problem and not just one I was imagining. Even back then, the results weren’t good, not only was my short term memory lacking, but it confirmed the frontal lobe damage seen in my MRI that causes my tremors and speech problems and my inability to control tears from appearing in all the wrong places. Since the last test, there has been a marked downwards trail, on that I have learned to live with as on the whole, it is easy when you spend the majority of your time alone, to kid yourself nothing is really wrong. It’s only when you try interacting with others, that the truth is clear. Yesterday supplied me with the perfect example, one of which, I still have to apologise to Adam over. Bare in mind, that all of the below, happened within one hour.
It was just after 4:30, I had had my shower and the carer had just left, when I asked Adam if he was to coming home on Monday or Tuesday lunchtime. I had a vegetarian lasagna in the fridge, which either had to go in the oven or the microwave, meaning I couldn’t prepare it for myself. We had already agreed that when Adam came home from work on Monday evening, he was going to cook my Psyllium pancakes, so I suggested that it might be a good idea, if he came home on Tuesday lunchtime, making Monday slightly less cluttered. He didn’t appear to be bothered either way but decided to go along with my plan. That decided, I stood and picked up all my empty juice bottles, put them in the backpack on my wheelchair and was sat ready to head to the kitchen, to make my supper and put the bottle by the sink. Adam decided that he was coming with me. He has been wheeling me around whenever he is here now for several weeks, in an attempt to help my elbow heal, I haven’t had any say in it.
Once in the kitchen, he fetched a plate for me, then started talking about the tumble dryer. He had dried some of my clothes the night before, and he was going to put them on the bed, so once I had eaten, I could put them away, but they were still damp. We had to buy a new tumble dryer a couple of weeks ago, so he is still learning how to use the different settings. We made a plan as to which setting to use going forward, but put it on straight away, so that I could put my clothes away before bedtime. I put some cod’s roe, lumpfish, cream cheese and crackers on my plate, spread some jam on my Psyllium pancake and rolled it up in some kitchen towel and we returned to the living room. Adam left me alone to eat and went off to do something else in the kitchen. As soon as I finished, I headed through to the bedroom to put my washing away, it wasn’t on the bed and I couldn’t work out why.
Confused I headed to the kitchen, where I heard the tumble dryer and remembered what had happened earlier. Adam took me back to the living room, parked me in my chair, then took the juice bottles out my backpack and took them to the kitchen for me. Two small silly things within minutes of each other. The third was bigger and didn’t play out fully until today. The first part unfolded when we were once more in the kitchen sorting out my meds at 8pm. I started talking to Adam about when he was home at lunchtime on Monday, he tried his best to tell me that we had agreed to Tuesday, but I was adamant, as I always am in these situations when it is someone else’s memory verses mine, I’m always right. I am so good at it, that I have confused many many people in my time, and Adam even started to think that he had got it wrong and eventually agreed with me, we had said Monday not Tuesday. We talked about it on and off over the last hour of my day, but I was right and that was it, no matter how many times he said he was sure it was the other way around.
It wasn’t until I was actually eating the lasagna he had cooked before going back to work, that I remembered the missing part of the conversation we had the day before. We had agreed on Tuesday, my brain had quite simply blocked it out completely. Just as it had the fact that I had picked up the bottles to put them in the kitchen, or that my clothes were too wet to put away. This is my life, the one without a brain. I didn’t really need one, but it truly is a great example of the things my brain does to me, and those around me. As I said, when you are on your own, you can fob these things off, tell yourself that it doesn’t matter or it’s not important. I know without the slightest doubt, if I were out there in the normal world, I would have retreated long before it got this bad, I just happen to have retreated before it did. It’s not like I just forget what I went into a certain room for, or never remember to bring things back with me, I’m way past that point. They are more than daily occurrence, they are quarter daily ones. My short term memory long ago went past the conveniently selective stage, I’m not even sure if it knows what convenient or selective is anymore, it just gives up, then reappears, if and when it feels like it.
Am I worried about it, not really. I’m not sure if that is a good or a bad thing, it’s just the way it is. But I think it is time, that I am a lot more honest about it, not so much with Adam, I’m totally sure he is well aware of it, but with myself. The time has come when I have to stop believing that I am always right, as even I can see, that I’m not any longer, yet, I’m not sure how to do that. How do you tell yourself that what you remember, is totally wrong, when it’s what you remember? Our minds aren’t supposed to do these things to us, yes, to other people, but not to us.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 20/09/2014 – A new peace
It feels like this week has lasted forever and all I have been doing throughout all of it is a fight to make myself better. I already know that the antibiotics have failed in what they were supposed to do, they may have shown up other problems and saved me from a spell in hospital, but they haven’t managed to……