My family thought it was funny at first, and I could hardly blame them.
I’d walk into a room and forget what I wanted. I’d go to the store and come back having forgotten at least one thing we needed. Sometimes it would take me three or four trips to remember a single item.
“You forget everything,” my 11-year-old daughter says with a smile. She’s not trying to be mean. It’s still amusing to her.
My memory has always been sharp as a tack. It was the same for my mother and grandmother. They were both of fully sound mind when they passed, their bodies giving out but their memories intact. I figured it would be the same for me.
Over the last few months, the episodes have become more frequent. Still, I didn’t think it was bad enough where I had to write things down or I‘d forget. No way was I that bad. I mean, I write every day and work a day job where I have to remember complicated medical terminology. Surely I could handle going to the grocery store without a list.
Part Of My Memory Works Just Fine
The brain is a strange organ. Not only can I tell you about a conversation I had ten or fifteen years ago, I can remember every word that was said. I’ve been writing a memoir that spans a decade of my life leaving nothing out. My memory must not be that much of a problem. Yet when it comes to the short term, things are not what they once were.
I found a stick of butter in our silverware drawer the other day among the cutlery. I put it back in the fridge without telling anybody. I knew it was me who put it there. Not that I remember doing it, but with everything else that’s been happening there could be no doubt. Things were definitely getting worse.
I used to laugh about my bad memory. It was a joke between me, my husband and our daughter. Silly Mommy can’t remember if she locked the door or put laundry in the dryer or if she put the gas cap back on after filling up. I’ve already had to replace one of them.
Today, it wasn’t funny anymore.
I missed my psychiatrist appointment about two weeks ago. When I realized it, I called the office and explained that I blanked out and could they reschedule me? They pushed the appointment forward one week, and I gratefully thanked them and promised nothing would stop me from getting there.
Something stopped me from getting there.
To my credit, I remembered the appointment first thing in the morning and planned my day around it, noting when I would have to stop working to make it there on time. However, by the time I thought of it again, the appointment had come and gone without me.
Crying by this time, I grabbed my cell phone. There was no way they would excuse me a second time. I called and spoke to the receptionist, who informed me that their policy was if you miss back-to-back appointments you could no longer receive services with them.
I tried to explain that I was having problems with my memory, but realized it probably sounded as stupid as I thought it did. Why would they believe me? It didn’t matter that I’d been punctual about my visits over the past two years. Policy was policy.
Trying To Remember My Options
It wasn’t like I could find another doctor. The office is especially for patients with low incomes who don’t have insurance. It was a godsend they accepted me into their program, and I screwed it all up because my brain wasn’t working right.
I have bipolar disorder and know what would happen to me without medication. I’d end up hospitalized or worse.
The girl on the phone promised to call me back when she spoke to her supervisor. I thanked her through my tears, then begged my husband to back me up if they said I couldn’t come back. Surely he could attest to the fact that my memory is not what it once was.
As I mentioned, I don’t have medical insurance. Seeing a neurologist for my problem is out of the question. It’s just not affordable. I feel like I’m stuck not knowing what’s happening to me. Maybe it’s as simple as stress, although I haven’t been feeling much of it these days until now, or maybe it’s as sinister as early dementia. Could it be all the drugs I did in the past? I really don‘t understand.
The Reason I’m Calling It Out
My psychiatrist’s office called me back a little while ago. They told me they were willing to give me one final appointment but if I missed it, I wouldn’t be welcome back. I thanked them and put the appointment on my phone calendar with an alarm. It’s the first time I’ve used that feature, but I have a feeling it won’t be the last.
It‘s scary to admit this is happening. I think that’s why I’m writing it out loud, not for pity but to acknowledge it’s real. I’ll do the best I can to adjust. There are so many blessings in my life it doesn’t seem right to complain. I’m just going to have to work around it and protect myself from screwing up so badly again. I can’t think of a more important wake-up call.
I just hope I remember.