I Remember Nothing

We were online the other evening, purchasing airline tickets for our trip here to Florida this week.  When it came time to enter the credit card number, my husband turned to me and said, “Okay, let’s have it.”  I rattled off the 16 digit number, complete with expiration date and security code.

“Amazing,” he said, shaking his head as he always does when I come up with arcane bits of information out of my head.  “How do you remember that?”

Time was, I would smile with smug satisfaction, proud of the mind that was like a steel trap, keeping track of everything from passwords to birthdays, drug classifications to recipes.  In recent months, however, my smug smile has faded.  Clearly, the days of my ability to reliably classify and organize information in my head are coming to an end.  In spite of recalling that credit card number upon request, I have been forgetting more and more things.  In fact, sometimes it feels as if I  remember nothing.

I know that women of a certain age have fuzzy memories.  Apparently, the gradual loss of estrogen from a woman’s body directly coincides with losses in her memory bank as well.  I try not to panic when I can’t remember where I’ve left my cell phone, my watch, my purse…it’s common at your age, I tell myself reassuringly as I dash madly from room to room.

It’s harder to remain unconcerned when my fuzzy thinking has more dire consequences.  Last weekend, I was filling my husband’s weekly pill container.  He has a new medication, a tiny pink pill, which is fine except for the fact that two of his other medications are (practically identical) tiny pink pills.  He takes two of one of these pills, one of the other, and one-half of the third.  Well, I got them all mixed up and placed two of the one he was only supposed to take one-half of!  Frantic, I tried to reach him on his cell phone before he took the medication, already  imagining the headline -“Menopausal Woman Kills Husband in Medication Misdemeanor.”  The text I got in reply was less than comforting –
“Too late on those pills.  Already took them.”

Don’t worry, I’m not a widow.  In fact, he didn’t seem any the worse for wear other than some extra neuropathy pain because I shortchanged him on the pain medication.

But these are the kinds of muddle headed snafus to which I’ve become more and more prone.

In addition to age, I blame some of my frazzled thinking on the internet.  I know I spend too much time on the internet, or texting on my phone.  The constant barrage of information makes my brain feel as if the synapses are overloaded.  Sometimes I can almost feel the sparks flying around up there, as my heart literally palpitates in agitation, flipping from Facebook to blogs to Twitter and back.  So much to read, so much to think about, so much to say!

Oh my.

But mostly this increasing loss of memory makes me feel less capable, and that’s a feeling I’m not familiar with.  I’ve always prided myself on having a good grip on life in general.  Paying bills on time, keeping up with appointments and errands, maintaining a regular schedule.  Orderly and neat, everything taken care of the way its supposed to be  -that’s how I like to operate.  Lately,  I’ve begun to worry about what I may be missing, what I might have forgotten to do, what addle brained mistake is out there waiting to snag my progress through the world.

The world is definitely more complicated than it was in our parent’s generation.  It seems my life is continually crowded with things that must be done, all vying for my attention with varying degrees of intensity.  And sometimes I wonder if all the things that have been invented during the past 50 years ostensibly designed to make life easier don’t in fact make it more complicated.   My yearning for a simple life is rooted in a need to have less to process, less minutiae to worry about.

Less to remember.

Because I’m definitely remembering less and less.







8 thoughts on “I Remember Nothing

  1. At 36, I’m not dealing with menopause… so I wonder, what’s my excuse? I’ve been a scatterbrain most of my life. In fact, I’ve committed my drivers license number to memory, just in case I take off for a spin and forget my purse. I guess part of it has to do with lack of focus. And now, sleep deprivation and general fatigue. Just last night, I had to get a bag of trash out of the outside trash can… and dig through it in search of my birth control pills. And there they were. 🙂

    The moral of my comment is to remember to take my bc pills because kids are killing my brain cells. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

    • That’s a great story, my dear. I would have left no stone unturned looking for that particular prescription either!

      Good to see you ~ I’ve been thinking about you. Wishing good times and good health to you and your brain cells!

      • I’ve missed you! We are in the middle of moving, but I’m coming back to the blog. In the new house, I’ll have an office. I’m wondering if the extra space will offer the illusion of more time?

  2. I know I sound like a broken record, but I’m the great apostle of “it’s not loss of memory, it’s an overful mind”. Well, that and lack of focus.

    My constant battle has been keeping track of my cell phone. I don’t text and I don’t receive scores of calls, but have to keep it with me in case Mom needs to get in touch with me. I’m always tucking it somewhere “safe” on the dock or on a boat, and then walking off. I’ve spent way too much time driving back to marinas to reclaim the darned thing.

    Finally, I got a bright yellow, watertight container just larger than the phone, with a lanyard. I put the phone in that, and it’s much easier to spot – and hence remember – and much easier to find in the depths of a purse.
    That problem seems to be solved. Instead of trying harder to remember, I just made it easier to remember!

    As for information overload – a real problem – I’ve been cutting back in a big way. When I get up, I check three or four headline sources on the internet to get the big picture. If there’s something I want to know more about, I go look. No tv, no radio in the background. I do listen to NPR, but I check their broadcast schedule and often listen to podcasts.

    With no tv watching, no texting, no IM-ing and no Facebooking, I have a little extra space in my mind for the important things – like remembering where I put my cell phone!

    And Angie’s right about fatigue. I see that in Mom a lot. Sometimes she doesn’t sleep for a couple of days, and you’d think she has Alzheimer’s. When she gets caught up on her sleep, she’s coherent again. Amazing.

  3. You make a great point about fatigue. I haven’t been sleeping all that well lately, so I’m sure there’s a corollary. I also like your idea of finding ways to make it easier to remember…I’ve been making an effort to put things (cell phone, purse, etc) in the same place at all times when I’m home, so at least I have a fighting chance of finding them!

    However, I do have a cell phone story to tell coming up in a day or two 😉

  4. I’m so happy to hear that Angie is coming back to her blog.

    I remember when I first started forgetting simple things. It was a little scary, and it seemed to increase a little each year. Then it leveled off. Thankfully!

    I remember being concerned. Then I read that we actually lose only a small percentage of our recall, but it feels like more because we focus on what we CAN’T remember. Of course, we do. It’s so annoying.

    You’ll adjust to the new normal and learn to compensate by streamlining your life a bit. That will bring other benefits that you may not have imagined.

    • Hmm, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.. I do need to streamline my life, and these memory faults are definitely telling me so.

      And yes, what good news Angie -looking forward to seeing you around more often 🙂

  5. I think you make an excellent point about the internet. I recently stopped keeping my laptop in the living room, where I found I constantly opened it up and checked my email, blogs, comments, Twitter… only to discover it had been 45 minutes and the water was boiling over on the stove in the other room. Now it’s up in the office, firmly plugged into the wall, and I only go fetch it when I need it. It’s been a week, and I already feel more focused.

    We’re living in a highly distracting world these days, with communication coming at us from all angles and at all times. I’m only in my 20s and find myself forgetting things all the time (including my own prescriptions), making sloppy mistakes because I’m not paying attention and/or can’t focus.

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