Losing my mind, but only the useless bits

I did my regular check-in with the neurologist to see how I was doing and to get my prescription refilled.  The medication is great - holds off the mysathenia 95%, and that remaining 5% is way way over to the right, a part of my vision field I don't much use.

He did a cursory examination - had me Follow The Finger, poked at inflated cheeks to try to deflate them, tried to pry open squinched-shut eyes, had me press upwards against his hands, took his Maxwell's little silver hammer to my knees - and agreed that all was going well - no other muscle weakness.

So ... while I had the attention of a neurologist, I asked about possible impending Alzheimers.  "Why do you ask?"  Well, I am taking yoga lessons, but in a chair because I'm leery about twisting my artificial knee into a semi-lotus, and I thought I'd phone the orthopedic surgeon's office for an official opinion... and couldn't remember his name.  Only that it was Portuguese (he was from Brazil).  How many Portuguese names do I know?  (None at the moment.) (It's Pereira - I looked it up.)

Neurologist suggested that since the knee was a done deal (nearly a year now, and last time I saw the surgeon was six months ago) that it was natural not to have his name handy.  I said I had no trouble remember HIS name - South African, wasn't it.  Funny, you don't have a S.A. accent.  He responded that he had a very strong S.A. accent.  I heard a strong accent but, I said, not at all like a South African I used to work in the same office as - and I remembered his name, no prob.  [Also Afrikaans name.] [Come to think of it, the guide on one of my Euro tours was from S.A., also w. a Dutch name, and he had yet another accent... jeez.]

And then, with the surgeon's name a blank, I tried to recollect two place names that I keep forgetting, to see if they'd escaped again - places that I drove through many times, places of no significance beyond being bathroom/coffee stops and markers on my journeys.  But, maddeningly, the names kept losing themselves in the memory hole.  One then came back... Hawkesbury.  Fine, I said to myself, for the future I'll picture a hawk circling a town...  And then I remembered that I'd used that mnenomic before, and had forgotten IT.  (The other place is Kaladar, and I can't think of a mnenomic for it... maybe ka-ka, la-la, DAR.  If I can remember that.)

Of course these names are totally irrelevant to my life.  I'll never drive thru those towns again, and even if I did I know the way if not the name. But it's unsettling.  I'd read, I told the neurologist, that names were the first thing to go.

He asked if I had trouble remembering recent conversations.  We got into a bit of a discussion (or I got into a bit of a thing) about how it doesn't do, really, to look at some of this stuff too closely - like how by the middle of a book who can remember all the details at the beginning, and yet you keep on reading and it's all good.  A lot of life is like that - a lot of vanishing detail...  What did I have for breakfast three days ago, and what else did I do... 

So he said he'd give me a test.  Which only someone really far gone would have trouble with.  "Here's five words, repeat after me, now I'll ask you again in a couple of minutes."  I still remember them - face, church, velvet, daisy, red.  I'll probably remember them on my death bed (while still fretting because I've forgotten Hawkesbury and Kaladar again, and the Brazilian surgeon's name).  Neur. said he'd say some numbers and could I repeat them backwards.  Numbers have always been meaningless blips to me (I used to have a hard time taking down phone numbers at work, for instance - a meaningless sequence of abstract thingees) and that worried me, but these were 3-digit numbers, even I could do that.  Had me copy a drawing of a 3-D cube - no prob of course.  Identify these four animals - hah, African animals all, lion rhino camel giraffe. Good, he said - some people mistake the rhino for a hippo.  I said that would only indicate a lack of familiarity with African animals.

Anyway, he said I was okay, certain amount of forgetfulness normal as we age, not to worry.  I said, "Those white spots on the brain, I suppose."(I'd had some alarm when on a previous visit he'd discussed the [essentially nil] results of an MRI.)

Hopefully only coincidentally he said he was closing his office and I could get future prescription refills from my GP or some other neurologist.... (His excuse was that the hospital needed a full-time neurologist...)

I discussed with my daughter, who'd been waiting in the car.  She is, of course, a generation younger.  She said she forgot names too.  Also, shared one of my other complaints, that sometimes there's just THE word I need, no substitutes need apply, but it's elusive, can almost grasp it and wrestle it into the sentence, but not quite...

So I guess all is well.

Then we went to a store and when it came time to pay for an instant I couldn't remember my PIN.

Views: 123

Comment by Ron Powell on February 25, 2017 at 8:12pm

"The mind is a terrible thing to waste."

Don't be concerned about what nature has begun to nibble at.

Do the best you can with what you've got. 

Exercise! Use it or lose it!!

Continue to show us what you're working with.

Continue to believe that the best is yet to come.

Comment by koshersalaami on February 25, 2017 at 8:45pm

If you don't remember the date, look it up in the Kaladar

Comment by Myriad on February 25, 2017 at 8:59pm

Ron - thanks for pep talk!

Kosh - good one, might work (which reminds me - doc also asked what the date was, I said I didn't know, sometime in Feb.  He asked what year and even tho it's still early in this one, I got it right.)

Comment by nanatehay on February 26, 2017 at 12:08am

All is well, Myriad, unless it's seriously abby, um, Abby ... ah, gnore Mull? ... lessee, abbie something, er, watwuzzit again -  Abby NORMAL, that's it! .. . all is well unless it's Abby Normal that, at the age of 52, I can remember (with precision) conversations I had a week or 9 months or 17 years ago but I couldn't tell you where my keys are right now if my very life literally depended on it. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I and/or you should be freaking out more about this stuff and the Afrikaner person's exact moniker and where my keys are and so forth, but I was pretty much the same way in kindergarten except I didn't have no keys in them days. 

Comment by moki ikom on February 26, 2017 at 1:35am

i go to work at a gated house.  i drive right up to gate to keyboard and reach out my window to key in my code and

wonder

thinking , omg, am i going to have to open my cellphone to do this,,, i hope 2 phukk "my master" (the owner of the 'abode') isn't watching from his breakfast table as fauxnews fills his cranial cavity with his addiction to trump$'hit.

re: pin numbers, i like 4 digits, five is over the top for times and circumstances such as for laborers at gates to private properties. my bank is satisfied with four digits worth of security, my employer should b as well.

Comment by Rosigami on February 26, 2017 at 1:46am

You sound just fine to me, Myriad. Glad to hear that your MG is being so well handled, too. 

Comment by JMac1949 Today on February 26, 2017 at 8:20am

LOL, I failed the five word test as well and asked my doctor about it.  He poo pooed it and said that a broad band diagnosis require much more info.  He suggested that I get off my butt and get the blood pumping to my brain before I started to worry about memory loss.  R&L

Comment by marilyn sands on February 26, 2017 at 11:48am

I sleep with my Keys!  ha ha

Comment by Myriad on February 26, 2017 at 1:32pm

Good idea, Marilyn.  (Nothing spoils an expedition like not knowing where keys are, also hearing aids, camera, driving classes, purse and shoes - and all the while the dogs are leaping and shouting at the door.)

JMac, I've have you know I passed the 5-word test with flying colors, forwards, backwards and random order.  (Thing about the test, wouldn't catch first intimations - looked only to be good for people who couldn't have found their way into his office on their own.)  ....face velvet church daisy red, Hawkesbury, Kaladar, paratha for breakfast...

Terry - like the old 'test' for insanity?  Not convinced.  (If there's anything people are really good at, it's fooling themselves.)

Thanks, Rosi - I try.  And I'm really grateful about the MG too.  MESTONIN, good for what ails you(well, me)

Moki - indeed, 4 digits are entirely sufficient.  (The problem w. ph. numbers is SEVEN digits... and nowadays you have to include the zip code too...) 

Nanatehay - Abby, that's where my neurologist is - how did you know?  Eerie.  Office in a little medical mull in Abby.  Christ.

Comment by greenheron on February 26, 2017 at 1:59pm

I keep two sets of keys for exactly this reason. I'm still able to find at least one of them. For now.

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