Memorize… what?


Image: Pixabay – Giralt

So, in 1996 I had a stroke (brought on by taking too much Ultram) and was dead for about somewhere between 20 minutes and two hours… my six-year-old daughter found me, and after the EMT’s showed up and worked on me for nearly 30 minutes, I regained a pulse. I also gained some brain damage. After a week long hospital stay and two weeks of grueling occupational therapy, I was sent to live with my mother because I couldn’t be trusted to take care of my children.

Everone was afraid I’d start dinner and burn the house down because I forgot the stove was on or even worse, have the baby in the bathtub, get distracted by the phone or my reflection and let my baby drown because, ‘what baby?’ Or maybe I’d drive to the store with the kids, forget I went there with kids, leave the kids there and then think I lived in Oklahoma on a llama farm or something.

My short term memory was shattered. People have compared me to Drew Barry’s character in Fifty First Dates which was cute until I actually saw the movie and I wasn’t as amused as most people.

“Jesus Christ, I’m not that f**king bad,” I’d snap in annoyance. I was finally able to watch the whole movie about a year ago and laugh at most of it.

My long term memory was fine. My memory about grade school, getting picked on, and my abusive cheating husband at the time were all grooved in my brain like a brand new tire tread. I still remembered I was married (miserably), that I had four kids and amazingly every word to any song I ever heard prior to 1996. But it ended there.

I couldn’t remember anything new. I couldn’t remember that I told my mom a story (from my long term memory) every twenty minutes. I couldn’t remember that I just ate or just drank coffee or just smoked a cigarette. I couldn’t remember that the bedroom I occupied at my parents’ house was mine; my old bedroom – my childhood bedroom – was the back bedroom and now my little brother had that one. How the hell did I get downgraded to the oversized closet with a bed?

Oh right… I hadn’t lived at home since 1990. I had no clout there. I was the dysfunctional eldest daughter; the oldest sibling who could never quite get her shit together… ever. And now I was back like the beer stain everyone thought was permanently scrubbed from the carpet.

I moved out of my parents and got my kids back in 1999, and while I had great intentions and did my best, it all fell apart in two years and then I was back in a new level of hell with less kids and more drama.

Fast forward to 2017, twenty-one years later, and I can honestly say while keeping weird lists, writing down directions to a place less than five miles away, writing down on my hand where I parked the car and other things that I should remember, it is a little less daunting, but still embarrassing.

“No, it isn’t a tattoo. It is directions to my car in the parking lot.”


There are even times I am talking to someone and the thoughts I have in my head are disappearing as I am trying to convey them. I’ll be mid-sentence and just wrap it up because I literally forgot what I wanted to say.

:(I have tried Ginko Biloba, changing my diet, more sleep, and lots and lots of brain puzzles.  Every day I do word searches and even play my own ‘memory games’ in an effort to make my brain stronger, but honestly, all I can really ever do is memorize lyrics to songs.


That’s it. I mean, yes, I remember other things. But I have to work really hard at it. But I don’t have to work so hard to remember music. Never music.

Maybe I should sing everything I want to remember.

Take nothing for granted my friends.

Do you have any tricks to remember stuff or are you like an elephant?

Peace and love to you all.

Author: D. A. M. Steelman

I could get through life just fine quoting heavy metal lyrics.

18 thoughts on “Memorize… what?”

  1. Did you ever see the movie “Momento”? Reading this post reminded me of what the main character in that movie went through. I was reading this post hoping that you were writing flash fiction and that this really didn’t happen to you. I hope that’s the case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have to check that one out… l’ll put it in my phone so I get a reminder!
      This post is real life… it really happened.
      I am writing a memoir about it, but this incident along with everything else is so painful, it’s tough to get it out on paper.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow 😳!!!

    It must be so frustrating for you..

    But you have found ways to make it work for you..

    Just thank god you are alive to tell the tale.. and blogging will definitely help you..

    You are doing great.. keep moving forward

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow, I’m so sorry to learn of this – the human brain works in mysterious ways. Sounds like your recovery is going well – I cannot start to appreciate how difficult or frustrating it must be.
    Gosh the only small piece of advice on memory is something my father told me when I was little. It has stuck with me ever since. It works wonderfully well… until I don’t follow it!!!
    He said: ‘Always put things back in exactly the same place and you’ll always know where to find them’.
    I do this as much as possible. The same pocked in my bag for my phone and keys (people are forever losing their car keys… not me!). Always keeping my earrings in the same drawer. You know, stuff like that.
    Given your short term memory loss and lack of neurological understanding, I’m unsure if this tip will serve you.
    All the best, big hugs ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good advice! I try to do that but sometimes I don’t remember what the original spot was! My keys I always hang up because I know if I don’t, I will waste an hour looking for them. Thank you so much for commenting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes I hate it when someone says tragedy and adversity bring out the best in us. Who are you kidding? It’s frustrating pure and simple. Having said that, I’m completely humbled by how you have managed to cope, endure, survive. Sounds as though you are doing a wonderful job of living! under difficult and to some, insurmountable obstacles. You are indeed a marvel as well as an example of how profoundly the human spirit can survive. Your wonderful in every way!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have the same memory problems brought about by a fatal for 17 minutes heart attack. Just long enough for short term memory to be totally shot. I label everything. My purse even has label inside the pockets so i know what goes there. My dresser drawers have labels….i keep written lists of everything. It helps me. It’s been ten years now and things are easier to remember. Nerves that were damaged have rerouted a bit. at least, that’s what the neurologist says. I only know I can find my truck when I have to now. Of course I always park in the same numbered aisle regardless of which store I am going to. And I’ll wait forever for a parking space in aisle S…for Suze.


    1. Suze, bless you… I feel sad that you have to endure such a daunting day to day, but I am grateful that someone else gets what I am saying!
      Do you ever do puzzles? I read and was told puzzles are supposed to help us, but I can never tell.
      I also have methods to remember things… I now have a memo app in my phone to put details like where I parked, how to get back to start if I am on a hiking trail, etc.
      Thank you so much for commenting today and have an Wonderful Thanksgiving.


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