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.