Friday, November 2, 2007

Short Term Worry?


I am just under 5 feet tall (according to the doctor, even though I believed until recently that I was 5 feet tall for the past 15 years or so). I have heard the term "short," but never applied to my memory.

I was known for my memory. I never had a "photograph memory" or anything like that, but I could recall every detail of specific situations, each word spoken, each gesture, each scent, each color. I could tell you what I did last Tuesday and what is on schedule for next Tuesday without trying.

At work, I could tell you every problem a specific project had, how it was fixed (or not fixed), who was in charge of each leftover issue, the current state of every element from animations to design.

I could tell you everything my husband did right or wrong since the day we met. I could describe that one look he gave me and exactly what was playing on the radio. That time we were at a Pizza Hut, what we ate, what he sang to me.

I could tell you what Bubba wore the day he lost his first tooth, exactly what happend when he threw a curvy piece of Thomas the train track toward his brother and the exact splatter of blood after it hit him.

I could tell you what someone said 2 minutes earlier.

People would say "Ask Ange. She'll remember."

The truth was, if it was important to me somehow in someway, no matter how insignificant it appeared to others, I remembered it. (Unfortunately I have large splinters missing from my childhood, but my guess is there is a reason. I hope it's not because it isn't important enough. Maybe in fact it is too important?)

Also truth be told, memory is the crux of my anxiety, depression, OCD. Things play over and over in my mind. The slightest trigger--and the details explode like a flash, taking over rational thinking. Each detail then has to be individually tucked back into its box, locked carefully, reshelved purposefully to try and avoid the one little crank of the handle that will again cause the anger, happiness, and desperation to pop out like an evil jack-in-the-box and fill me with confusion.

So now, I recognize my short term memory loss, and it frightens me. Because although in some ways I am happier because my memory skirts around the edges of necessity, but in other ways it feels as if I am losing control. Spurts of forgetting and not being able to recall mean I am not in control all of the time. This also feeds my anxiety.

Two days ago, I was working downstairs. The phone rang. I looked up to see the words "Incoming Call" flash on the small screen. (I am very aware that we are too cheap to pay for caller ID, and even though we have never had the service, it is a strong reflex to look at the screen.) I remember thinking "Hubby will get it."

Less than 20 minutes later, back upstairs, I have a memory jolt. The phone rang. I wonder who it was? Then I recall having the same memory jolt two or more times before, chide myself for not remembering to ask Hubby who it was, and quickly go to ask him before it eludes me again.

He stared at me. "You answered it."

"No I didn't I thought about it. But I didn't." I described in great detail what had happened, what I thought, and why I didn't answer it.

"Yes, when I answered it, you were talking to someone."

"No." I was adamant. There was no recollection. Nothing. I could see myself looking at the phone. Hear mysef thinking that Hubby would get it. I saw the words flash, felt the cozy crevice in the chair, the exact screen of what I was looking at on the monitor. Then nothing. I could retrieve absolutely nothing.

"Maybe they were talking to someone as they were hanging up. I'll do a *69 to see who called."

I picked up the phone, dialed *69, and only heard the area code when the flash exploded, the jack-in-the box claimed its prize.

In 1 second everything rushed in at once and engulfed me. My heart quickened, my face went hot.

Vision therapist thinking I would just go ahead and get it picking up the phone appointment speaking filing away the appointment time 'is that on the calendar?' vision exercises hanging up the phone woman's voice image of the receptionist saturday is coming where is the binder 'is Hubby working this weekend?'

Hubby just laughed. This is his way of life. This is him, has always been him.

But this is not me. I have never had the experience of being told something that happened and not be able to recall any of it--not even a tiny thread that I could pull slowly to unravel the entire memory--until recently.

There was nothing. And then there was everything.

As I hear more stories about bits of my childhood, in some cases, there is nothing to grasp. And it scares me when the "everything" will come.

I don't like not being able to trust myself. Then again I understand why Hubby is always so dang happy. Hard to obsess about something you don't [won't?] remember happening.

During my follow up with the doctor this week, I confessed to my not following the Low Glycemic Index diet recently. I later confided about my short-term memory issues.

"A lot of my patients with ADHD bring up short term memory issues increasing when they eat a high glycemic diet heavy in refined sugar and wheat."

Huh? Was she saying I have ADHD? Not possible. I am OCD thank you very much. Hubby is ADHD. I am not him! Must be just an example of the "what you eat affecting how your brain works" theory.

Of course my eyes were darting from side to side, I only heard part of the sentences she was saying, and I suddenly remembered to ask her about root vegetables, which I forgot again a second later until just now.

What was I talking about again? I guess I won't worry about it.


Anonymous said...


How ironic as I am about to ask if you remember me??? I am K. C. (Karen) on SN. I remember trading stories of nursing woes. I asked Paige how you are doing & she gave me this link, and have been reading your blog here and there. Wow! The boys are so much FUN! Glad to read all the tales of your family, and all sounds well!

Ange said...

Of course I remember you! Moosie weaned this past spring. Can you believe it? I sent you the e-mail addy I had from about 2 years ago....