Short Term Memory Loss: What’s this all about?

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If, as you are reading this, you get that feeling you have read this before, it is not likely a case of Deja vu. More likely, it is the result of my failing to remember having already written about this. To say my thoughts are hard to hang onto is an understatement. At 20, you blame it on being too busy having a good time to focus on your responsibilities. However, at 60, you begin to wonder if something is wrong with you.

Already, I have lost my train of thought and have no idea where I was going after my great opening paragraph. You see, I didn’t write down my next thought. Chances are, if I had, I would have forgotten where I placed it.

I think I have it now. Pills. I was going to write about them. You see, thanks to a pretty significant head injury eleven years ago, I now take some pills that have a way of messing with a person. One, Gabapentin, is for helping to stop the pain receptor nerve activity between the two sides of my brain to help prevent the horrible throbbing and pressure I get hit within the back of my head.

My dose has always been considered on the low side since the drug is also used for people affected by seizures. Still, last year, my doctor increased the dose as my headaches returned. A few months back, it was increased again. When I first began using the drug, it left me feeling tired and sluggish so I began using caffeine for energy. Now that I have been on a higher dose, it makes me unable to remember anything I have not written down on a pad of paper to refer to.

Why am I in the bathroom? I don’t have to pee. What did I come in here for? This happens to me about 900 times a day. Last week, I knew I needed to do some laundry for four days but kept forgetting why I was walking down the hall toward the laundry. I’d get side tracked and next thing you know, another day of laundry has piled up.

Just an hour ago my wife said she was taking off and I asked her when she would be back. I saw her with a pile of books in hand and she saw the dumbfounded expression on my face and said, “You have no idea where I am going, do you?”

“You’re taking your mom to an appointment somewhere,” I guessed. I felt like a kid in school caught by the teacher day dreaming. I was partly right but not fully right because I could not guess what appointment she had even though I write that stuff down on a calendar by my desk, that is when I remember. I might have, but as I turned to look if I did, I noticed I forgot to turn the calendar over to August.

My computer is covered with post it notes with all kinds of stuff to help me remember things. I just began using a daily appointment book and hope I never forget where I set it down or I am screwed.

Now, you would think a guy having this kind of trouble would thrive on simplifying his life. I am retired, but if my life is too simple, those damn drugs make me want to nap for three hours in the middle of the day. I make up for it by often waking at two in the morning.

Instead, I have recently started working two new part time jobs and am hoping to land a third one. I may also need to hire a personal assistant to pay all my part time money to in order to think for me.

Why in the world would someone with my problem do this? All I can answer is if I had a clue why, I have long since forgotten what it is. I think it has something to do with wanting to earn extra money or perhaps I just forgot I landed the first two jobs before applying for the third.

It doesn’t matter because now I have another problem; remembering what clothes to wear. You see, each job came with snappy looking t-shirts to wear at work. The thing is, one job uses green tees and the other has its staff wearing blue. Green means I work in town, blue means I drive to Ventura, or is it the other way around? Now, it will either be Greenday, Blueday, or WhateverIwantday on the calendar. What happens if I get that third job and it comes with a third color? My calendar gets screwed up. Worse, what if it is a green or blue tee shirt job? How will I remember where to go to work?

If I share my anxiety about this with my doctor, I am sure she will give me another pill to take. My morning pills are in the blue labeled pill holder and my evening ones in the purple holder, or is it green?

Of course, knowing both my parents ended up with dementia does not calm me down. I still remember what that was like and hope to never put my loved ones through it.

Wait a minute, I forgot, I was not finished with the new job angle. One of my new jobs has me teaching small group fitness classes at the YMCA. The 6 pm class I took over tends to be attended by just a few dedicated women. The first session had two in class and for the life of me I could not remember their names when they showed up the next time. Worse, they brought a third person with them. Not remembering two names is like farting in church, pretty damn embarrassing. Now here is the kicker, the class is titled FOCUS.

Oh crap, I think I finally remembered where I was originally going with this horrific excuse of an article. I was going to tie in my short term memory issues with my just as bad hearing loss and nearly as bad vision issues. I give up. Maybe it is time for my nap. I can write about those things another time, that is, if I remember.