Memory Loss

Memory loss is one of the first warning signs of Alzheimer’s so in this post I will give some examples of the memories I still have and what I struggle with.

I remember my high school, teachers, my first car, tying my sister to the upstairs banister and blaming my other sister (sorry sis). I remember my first kiss, thanks DC. If I go downstairs today to get three things, chances are I will forget one. It is hard to explain memory loss so I am going to give examples.

My long term memories are good, but getting fuzzy. If you were to ask me to list people I went to high school with. I could name a few. I remember my best friend G. If I look at one of my yearbooks, I recognize everyone because this memory is very visual. Can I remember interacting with everyone, not so much. I remember the pictures because I have looked at my yearbooks every few years. The memory is based on the pictures, not on personal interactions 40 years ago. I do remember getting pulled over for burning rubber out of Klepper’s with the Police Chief’s son B in the car with me!

If we watch a weekly TV series, I struggle remembering the previous weeks episode. I tend to binge watching TV series, because I can quickly relate to the transition from one episode to the next. When we watch a movie from several years ago, I sometimes enjoy it again like it was the first time. I usually realize at some point in the movie, I have seen it before.

My work life  at the end was a combination of multiple things I had to juggle on a daily basis and then the stress of wondering what I would forget to do, or do incorrectly. I worked through sticky notes, legal pads, binders, file folders, etc. In the end I realized that you had to remember to look at the legal pad or sticky note or you would still forget. Many years ago I tried a Franklin Planner but found it took too long to write down everything I had to do.  Thinking about it today, I am not sure how I did it, honestly I can’t remember, but everything seemed to get done probably because I worked with really great people.

One of the most telling incidents I recall was getting to work and walking to my office and realized that I was walking to the wrong office. My office was moved many years prior, I wasn’t even on the correct wing of our floor.

Many times I would be walking around the office talking to different people, return to my office and realize my coffee cup was no longer with me. It was found in odd locations like the rest room. Often I would leave it in someone else’s office. On many occasions I would leave my office to go talk to someone and get several offices away and stop because I couldn’t remember where I was going or who I was going to see.

Deadlines such as filing disability, COBRA, insurance paperwork would slip by if I didn’t write it down. I have become a list maker. I try to use technology when I can. I have a “ToDoList” in Microsoft OneNote. I have three categories that I list, things I need to do today, this week and this month. This works well when I remember to look at the list.

Scattered and forgetful thoughts. I was at a loss as to what to call this so here is an example. I can be typing on the computer as I am now and my mind will wander to different things. I remembered that I needed to pickup furnace filters and strapping tape at Lowe’s. I have a window of about 15 seconds to write it down or it’s gone. I will remember that I need these items later, but won’t remember that I thought about it while typing my blog.

As I have mentioned before, there is no cure or a way to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. There is medication that helps with the symptoms. One of these medications is called Aricept. I started taking Aricept in the spring of this year and it works well for me, I will talk more about Aricept in a later blog.