My memory is going.  Or rather, parts of it have already gone.  Anyone who knows me In Real Life will have already noticed the phenomenon – and I suspect, Dear Reader, I may have bored you with the same story more than once, too.  But I can’t remember.

My long term memory still seems to be mostly okay.  My short term memory is… ummm, what was I saying again?  And I feel like the transition between short term and long term memory just isn’t happening very effectively.

I don’t know if the loss is due to general anaesthetics (four in one year is NOT a good thing) – I asked my darling SIL (a super smart nurse, now cardio sonographer and probably going back for yet more study) about it and she said there is certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence for the link, but hadn’t read any peer reviewed studies about it.

(I also have to fight any tendency to think “Well this is it, the brain tumor”…. because there is NO evidence that my sister’s illness and death were caused by anything but a random rogue cell gone berserk. Still, I worry…)

Of course, there’s always the “major depressive disorder” diagnosis to account for memory loss as well.

Internet induced hypochondria is always a fun game to play.  I love this list of “some of the earliest signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease” from the Mayo Clinic: (My typical responses in this funny green colour)

  • Asking the same questions repeatedly (What are we having for dinner? Was there any mail today? Did you go to the shops already?)
  • Difficulty remembering common words when speaking (You KNOW, the WHOSAMATHINGER!!  The WHATSIT!! THE DOOVERLACKEY!! Damnit, what’s it called? Oh yeah – the CAR.)
  • Mixing words up — saying “bed” instead of “table,” for example (I’ll just put this on the trouser, then, shall I? And mop the kitchen …. thingummyjig.)
  • Being unable to complete familiar tasks, such as following a recipe (Muffins need FLOUR? Oops!)
  • Misplacing items in inappropriate places, such as putting a wallet in the refrigerator (Isn’t that the first place everyone looks?)
  • Getting lost while driving on familiar streets (La la la I’m sticking my fingers in my ears, I only had to drive around the big block once…)
  • Undergoing sudden changes in mood or behavior for no apparent reason (I’M NOT GRUMPY! Oh. Is there any tea left in the pot then?)
  • Becoming less able to follow directions (“No, truly, the sewing pattern companies JUST DON’T MAKE SENSE.  And I’ve ALWAYS been left/right dyslexic. That’s not new. Hang on, this says do WHAT?)

alz-signI finally  – FINALLY!! After months of trying to remember – got a friend’s surname last night at about 2 am. The annoying thing was that his surname is also his nickname (as is the way with many Aussie nicknames – shorten and add an “ee” or an “oh”) and it was just… GONE from my memory.  I could see his face, hear his voice, remember his first name – but the surname? Nope.  I even sent an email to my Mum back on April 14: “What was the surname of S, that Nif used to share a house with?” – and that was a last resort, after wracking my brain for weeks.  ARRRGH!! (she didn’t know either.  But I’ve stayed at his house, had him stay at mine, written letters back and forth, etc!)

I recently bought a book that we already owned – a Bad Thing when our book buying is so limited – because I didn’t remember it AT ALL.  And I used to be the one that people were awed by, since I could remember whole slabs of reading.   I could cite names and arguments for academic debates and essays.  Now I get to re-read books over and over – because the plots and characters disappear between one reading and the next

There are patterns and fabrics in my sewing stash that I have absolutely no recall of buying.

And I often get things wrong because I JUST DON’T REMEMBER.  And sometimes my mind tries to fill in the blanks anyway – which means that sometimes my version of events is significantly different from what others remember.  I know that happens anyway – no one’s perception of events is the same as anyone else’s, right? I mean, we can’t even be sure that we’re all seeing the same colour when we label something as “red”.  Let alone more subjective and emotionally coloured experiences.

Old age? Sleep deprivation? Drug interaction? Just plain getting DUMBER? I don’t know.

Or maybe I just don’t remember. Am I alone in all this? And why am I writing this anyway? Who are you, I’ve never seen you before in my life!!

More on memory in another post…

(and now, I must go and play with the poor neglected Pfaff machine that only gets dragged out for classes or when the Goddess Pfaffalina is busy embroidering.  Got a class to go to with Sue tomorrow and I need to remember how to sew on the baby Pfaff!)

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5 comments

  1. Sherril Miller’s avatar

    The same thing started happening to me as I entered peri-menopause. Now that I’m a few months into Menopause, it hasn’t gotten any better. I was so hoping it would.

    1. Caitlin’s avatar

      D’OH! do you know, I didn’t even remember (hah!) to add menopause to the list of possible causes… and I wonder if not taking hormones this week (ran out and they’re $80 for 3 months without a Dr’s letter – I get half of that back from the health fund if I wait for the letter!) has made it worse.

      When I went with a group of girlfriends last year to see “Menopause: The Musical” we all nearly peed our pants (another symptom!) in the whole “Memory loss” song….

    2. Sue’s avatar

      Well, this has been going on in my life for a while! Just ask my nearest & dearest… whatever their names are (BTW names are totally interchangeable when the surname is the same… isn’t that a rule!) The kids have even been called by the dog’s name… yep, I assumed this was just a normal part of life , at least I just hoped so…

      1. Caitlin’s avatar

        Mr Beloved’s father always rattle off all the girl’s names: VerlyElizabethTanyaWhIcheverOneYouAre!! Maybe the scattergun approach is the best policy after all! The dog often gets called “Puss”, the cat is often “Pup”… they seem to answer anyway!

      2. catsmum’s avatar

        you just described me – I was always the one with the eidetic memory and the phenomenal vocab – now I’m not even sure if I’ve spelled it correctly LOL
        Having lost Mum to a brain tumour, I’m right with you in trying to avoid playing that particular game.
        So I just blame 20 years of chronic sleep deprivation … and menopause

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