I wish I could remember things. I used to have a memory like a steel trap. What went in, stayed in and could be retrieved with precision and speed. Now, my memory banks lie fallow and only partially functioning. Needing a good dust, they do their best but need a serious upgrade. Not remembering things is frustrating and embarrassing. At the risk of repeating myself, I have recently met at least 2 people who knew me well enough to ask about my health in more than a general, passing way and about whom I have no recollection. I met them at Maggie’s, I assume. If I’ve already told you this, please understand it’s the chemotherapy and radiotherapy that has robbed me of my brain cells. They have gone on a little holiday and I am assured they will return at some point. When you realise I used to hold the collective family memory, you may begin to understand what a loss this is. I joke about it but I really don’t remember all sorts of things. People tell me things and as soon as they are out of sight (and sometimes before), I have forgotten what it was. I don’t remember events or things I have planned to do. I keep diaries as meticulously as someone with memory problems can. One in hard copy, one on my phone and one on my laptop. Just in case. I lose things. I am not only the Keeper of Family Memories but also the Finder of Things. Someone has lost something – I will know where it is or where it is likely to be found. These days it is more likely to be me wondering where my socks/book/pen/letter is which leaves us with the situation that no-one in the house knows where anything is.
Mark has lost 1 slipper. They were new at Christmas and he wore them until one day, there was only 1 by the bed. He looked under the bed. He checked in the wardrobe. He pulled Dog’s bed apart in case he had removed it for extra loving. No, it is gone. How can you lose 1 slipper? This is frustrating but not quite as bad as the friend who reported his wife phoned him at work because she had lost the toilet brush. I can’t even begin to imagine that scenario.
Loss of mental faculties make trying to do any work interesting. In meetings, I refer to things as doo-dahs, thingies, whatsits and people smile indulgently because they know it’s not my normal way. I can’t think of words – I have sometimes a visual image in my mind but can’t find the correct word for it. It is strange how memory works and which pathways are clearer than others. I can’t keep track of payments, either. Given that I am doing the smallest amount of work, I can’t work out who owes me what and whether I have received payment or not. I just don’t have the mental capacity at present to work things out and I dither over making decisions. It has made me doubt myself in some ways. In others, I feel clearer. I am not worrying about the cancer returning. I can do nothing about that and I really am trying to live each day fully as it comes. Today was a sofa day. A bit of admin and some time spent on the internet was what was needed so that was what I did – guilt free. So, yes, I am learning and I am beginning to understand the new me. The physical stuff is challenging – and I’m back on antibiotics for the wound again – but it’s do-able if I don’t rush or give myself a hard time. That seems to be the hardest lesson of all.