Thursday, July 3, 2014

Forgetfulness (A Wee Bit Different than My Other Posts)

 May you never forget what is worth remembering,
or remember what is best forgotten.


Good morning on this glorious day before the 4th.  Well, actually, the weather is not so 'glorious'; it's hot, humid, and storms are on the way. I want so badly to go to the Center today for their 4th of July menu--hot dogs, hamburgers, macaroni salad, potato salad, baked beans, all topped off with a nice slice of watermelon.  Not bad for 50 cents.

This is the type of July 4th menu I grew up with,  and just the thought of it spurs so many memories. I always loved the cookouts. I don't have the opportunity anymore. My hubby might indulge in a hot dog and a hamburger, but none of the other foods are a part of his culture.  I understand. There are foods from his culture, such as blood pudding, I wouldn't think of touch. And,  there are plenty of foods I have introduced him to that he has enjoyed, but salads and Boston baked beans are just not part of that  list.   When the boys were around I'd make all those things, and a bit of gondulas and rice for hubby, but now that they are out on their own and rarely come for the 4th, it is just too much to make for one person.

Lately I have found myself forgetting little things.  Like the other morning, I was on the bus heading for the Center when it suddenly hit me that   that I hadn't taken anything out of the freezer for dinner. By the time I got home it would be too late, so I figured that takeout Chinese would be on the menu that night.  Then, when I got to the Center I discovered that I had forgotten my water, my yogurt, and my grapes (my mid-morning snack).  The next day I ended up bringing an expired yogurt which I had meant to throw away but forgot. And lately I find myself  going to bed and then remembering that I had forgotten my Hyland's Leg Cramp medication only when the cramps in my toes set in.  Sometimes I find myself  in the grocery store trying to remember what I had gone for in the first place, or  putting food in the microwave to refrigerate. Forget coming home with everything but what I needed. That happens all the time.

I can't remember being this forgetful, and my first reaction was to worry that it might be Alzheimer's.  I think many of us hold that fear in the back of our mind as we  grow older, but, in reality, most of us over the age of 65 are more forgetful than we were when we were younger and this doesn't mean we have dementia.  It's not uncommon to experience 'senior moments' such as not remembering where we put something or recalling someone's name on occasion.   Someone with early dementia, however, repeatedly forgets names or plans, and soon afterwards forgets all about the incident.

I found a wonderful video by Teepa Snow, one of the foremost experts on Alzheimer's. She uses a fictional character named Jenny to show the difference between age-related forgetfulness (1) and Alzheimer's (2). 

(1) Jenny is seated in her favorite chair reading a book when she suddenly feels like having  a cup of coffee. She leaves the chair and heads off into the kitchen to make the coffee, but on the way there, the phone rings. On the other end is Jenny's friend who has called to invite Jenny to go to the mall with her later that afternoon. Amongst other things, they talk about where they will meet and what restaurant they will eat in. By the time they finally hang up, Jenny has forgotten what she had come into the kitchen for.  She looks about, but can't remember so she she shrugs her shoulders and heads on back to her chair in the living room.  Once she sits down in the chair and picks up her book, a light bulb goes off in her head, and her memory returns.  She had gone to the kitchen to make coffee. The chair was a cue to her memory. 

This has happened to me many times , and as frustrating as it is, it is good to know it is  normal age-related memory forgetfulness.  The next little skit is an example of what might happen if Jenny had Alzheimer's. 

(2) Once again we find Jenny sitting in her favorite chair.  She decides that she would like a cup of coffee, so she gets up and heads towards the kitchen.  The phone rings.  It is her friend inviting her to go to the mall. They chat for a few, and then hang up.  However, this time when she hangs up the phone she not only has forgotten all about the coffee, but she now begins to have totally illogical thoughts. When she finds a bottle of water and a glass  on the kitchen counter she  decides this is exactly the proof she needs that there has been people who sneak upstairs from her basement and eat her food.  She puts the glass in the freezer so that her son will see it when he goes for some ice. The coffee is long forgotten now.  Later when her friend calls to find out why she didn't meet her at the mall, Jenny not only can't remember that they had spoken and made plans, but she also becomes agitated with her friend.  This lack of recall is not normal.

I have come to the conclusion that there is a logical explanation for my memory losses.  Yes, part of it is age-related, but in truth, I am tired.  I often thought that when I retired I wouldn't be so busy and would have plenty of time to do the things I always wanted to do, but the fact is, I am busier now than when I was still working.  Take cooking, for example.  I'm sure you must remember my cooking weekends.  Shopping and two weeks worth of cooking in one day.  Then, I had every day free until my next paycheck.   Now I cook everyday, and as I told hubby, it's not just cooking the food, it's washing the pots and putting them away, cleaning the stove and the counter, sweeping and mopping the floor...all time consuming.

And there is the Center, my classes, Church, shopping, essays for my Druid classes, housecleaning, reading, genealogy, nutrition studies, doctor's appointments, etc.  And caring for an aging pet is draining both emotionally and physically, but I wouldn't begrudge her for a moment.  Being in pain doesn't help either.  That, too, is draining. My mind is constantly active.  So many things going on.  So many thoughts.  Too many thoughts.  Might be time to slow down a bit. Haven't taken the time to meditate in quite awhile.  Even stopped attending Thursday meditation at the Center in lieu of another discussion group.  Time to set priorities in order.  That will be something to think about this weekend.

Hoping you all have a great day.


    1. Yes indeed, sounds like it's time for meditation again!

    2. Hope you got to the Center.
      CRS=Can't remember Shit, began crept in since I was in my 30's .
      Nothing to fear. :0)
      Enjoyed your post Mary. Sadly my SIL has all the signs
      of #2.
      Tried to leave a Comment yesterday, but Blogger froze up as it has been doing of late. Frustrating after you are almost ready to publish your comment.
      Best take my leave now.