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July 19, 2013 / Ang

Sometimes… I…

Crap. What was I saying?

Oh. Yeah. Sometimes I forget in the middle of doing or saying something what I meant to do or say. I first started noticing this fall semester, when I was told I might have “a touch of fibro.” And it made sense to me that my brain just poofed because I heard that wasn’t uncommon with fibro patients. I was still really frustrated with it, though. I was a gifted student who attended an honors college and I suddenly couldn’t retain ANYTHING I was learning. I had to study twice as hard as I was used to (at least) to try to do nearly as well. It was like I was learning how to learn. I wish I had known then what I had lying ahead.

The brain fog, believe it or not, got worse. I was staring at my computer for hours on end even with a “TO DO LIST” mapped out by timing and priority for student teaching trying to figure out what I was doing and getting NOWHERE at the beginning of this semester. I don’t think it’s quite as bad lately, but my brother-in-law was teasing me the other day about how I kept trailing off in  the middle of my sentences. As a girl who used to talk so quickly that her sister had to translate and was never at a loss of words it was a bizarre experience to realize that I was honestly trying to get my brain to remember what I was trying to say and get my body to cooperate with saying it. I honestly don’t know what the deal is, but I’ve decided to blame it on brain fog because the easiest way to explain it to him was, “Well I.. I couldn’t think of what I was trying to say anymore. I think.. I’m not sure what’s going on…”

I’ve decided this isn’t going to happen. I’m not allowed to forget things over the next few days – there’s too much important stuff that needs to be taken care of, so I made lists. It’s what I do best. Even before I started feeling as though I had lost my mind I used to make these elaborate color-coded lists so I knew what homework I had to do and when I was going to do it each day. I don’t have the energy (or the pens) for that right now – so I’m using this lovely green pen that I found in and stole from my stepdad’s box o pens. And now I seriously have PAGES of lists. And one that I had to adjust because I realized I had started a new to do list for this weekend and left off a huge task from the original list: CALL HEATHER. Heather being the lovely woman who has been dealing with my insurance, my compulsive calls going, “I just realized that my meds changed since I saw you. And the nih website about them says that you need to know I’m on them before surgery, sooooooooo….” I’m glad that she seems completely capable of dealing with me while I’m feeling neurotic. I’m also glad that I’m on a first name basis with her – the only other receptionists I can say that about are the ones I’ve known my entire life and are family friends at my family practice. (And they’re lovely, but some of them have left and that makes me sad.)

So here we are – my lists. Lists of things I’m afraid I forget to talk to Dr. Browning about because I get overwhelmed or confused or.. Something. A list of people I need to see tomorrow to sign releases. A list of things I need to do over the next three days (we’ll see how that works out). I have “HYDRATE” and “OVERHYDRATE” on there. Remember that warning at the top of the page? Go ahead, scroll up and read it if you need to. “Warning: I’m a terrible patient.” Well, that’s because I sometimes make what we like to call “BAD LIFE CHOICES” also known as “excellent life choices,” particularly when they’re influenced by my friends.

This week’s bad life choices: going dancing twice in a week and ignoring my limitations; going running (the heat and massive headaches prevented that choice from being implemented unfortunately – or is it fortunately?); going to the farmers’ market for a minimum of two hours when we’ve had 100F heat indexes all week; going to Kennywood (again – in the heat) for the entire day; potentially exhausting myself again.

I can justify ALL of those if I have to. And I just might convince everyone else that those are secretly excellent life choices too. But the trick to all of those is that if I’m dehydrated to begin with, and then I go out and make those choices, and I don’t hydrate or attempt to OVER hydrate (which I don’t think is possible honestly) I just might die. Okay, that was a little melodramatic. I’ll feel dizzy. I might have a near syncope episode. If I don’t sit, eat, drink – one, two, or all three of the above – I might not be lucky enough for it to be a “near syncope” episode. And I really don’t think my best friend would be appreciative of having to drive to UPMC to sit in the ER with me after an ambulance came to get me from Kennywood because I fainted and hit the concrete. I know I wouldn’t be appreciative, and I’m fairly certain Kennywood wouldn’t be either. And even if it does stay at a “near syncope episode” – THEY SUCK. I don’t know if you’ve ever had one, if you haven’t – take my word for it. It’s much more pleasant than experiencing it first hand.

Oh, remember how I said sometimes I forget what I’m doing in the middle of something? You can use this blog post as an example. I swear that there was more of a point to it originally – I think it was going to be to talk about how fantastic lists are and share pictures of the lists I’ve written for myself just in the past few hours. Instead I got distracted and went off on a tangent. But here – you can check out my lists anyway! And should you ever find yourself suddenly struggling to focus or remember things – I hope you can remember that lists are beautiful.

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PS. A list you won’t be seeing will have my ideas for clever and/or cute posts for the next few days. I think I’m going to write at least two either tomorrow or Saturday so that one can automatically post itself on Sunday. And maybe have some posts on emergency reserve so that I can keep up with this posting regularly thing even if I’m exhausted and don’t feel like writing.

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