Monday, October 10, 2011

Walking, thinking

Reporting in: So far, so good. I've kept my commitments. Walked 10 minutes yesterday, the last minutes before dark. And today, in the rain this morning. Ate more veggies yesterday than I did fruit! That's because my friend gave me tomatoes from her garden. Big ones. I'll have to make a bigger effort today. I might have to break down and eat (shudder) chard.
Spent some time thinking. Thinking about memory. For years I was the memory keeper in my family and in my circle. I remembered everything, both short and long-term. Phone numbers, names, faces, events, trivia, lines, poems, you name it. Everything I read, sang, every argument, conversation, every movie I saw, every house I ever lived in since I was still in my crib. (This is true, ask my 94 year old mother, who hasn't lost her memory yet.) However, once I started on beta blockers in my early 40s, I started having trouble with my short-term memory. I started having to make notes. Before that, I didn't keep a calendar. Didn't need an organizer at work. I kept everything in my head. So once I started forgetting and keeping notes, there was a transition period. I'd turn over my daily planner calendar and find a note that said "lunch." Great. Lunch with whom, I wonder? What time? Where? I had to learn to fill in details like that. Now things are even worse, but I'm used to it. For example, I'm currently re-reading a book that I read in 1998 because the author has written a sequel. I knew I'd read it before because I've read everything she's written, but I also knew I would have forgotten it. So, I'm reading it, nearly finished with it and I call my friend and tell her that I'm re-reading it in preparation for the sequel. She says she's already started the sequel without realizing it's a sequel. I start trying to tell her about the book I'm reading and realize I've already forgotten what I've read. It's like living in the present, and only in the present! As I read the book I think: Oh yes, I remember this. But I don't know what's going to happen next. Then after I've read it, I forget it again. Oy. So, really. Do I need to read this book? I'm going to have forgotten it by the time I pick up the sequel anyway.
I don't have dementia. I don't have Alzheimer's. So, don't worry about me. I don't leave burners on. I remember what refrigerators are for. And I don't get lost. I sometimes get in the car and have to go back into the house to get my glasses though. But I always leave in plenty of time for things that could go wrong, so no worries. Just know this is something you might have to look forward to, if you ever have to take beta blockers, or get forgetful in later years.