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Monday, August 5, 2013

What it is like to have short-term memory problems.

I think I've accomplished a lot of things today. I just don't recall doing them. As I sit here typing, I realize I'm late to go shopping with my daughter to get a tie for her upcoming wedding. The time is 3:00 pm, but I feel as if I just got up and am still planning what I'm going to do today. According to notes I have already written today, I have ordered parts to fix a leaky faucet, I have fixed my daughter's network connection to my printer so she can print. I have missed two appointments, written notes to the people I stood up, apologizing. I have rescheduled an appointment, I have cancelled another appointment that conflicted when I rescheduled. I have sat here feeling bad because I know in the past I would not have tolerated my own incompetence from others. I certainly would not have understood what has become a fact of existence for me now.

Living with faulty short-term memory is sort of like having Alzheimer's syndrome, except that I have hope the decline will eventually stop and I may get better some day. I'm sure there are plenty of other differences. I remember my life prior to my accident, and I "sort of" remember my life after my accident, if you allow for the way I have clipped together notes I wrote along the way, and studied my own "history" to fill in the gaps. One of my biggest struggles is the recognition that I "make stuff up" when I don't remember. It is very humbling to not be able to depend on my own memory.

I try to be productive, but it is hard to be productive when I literally on live "in the moment." I try to plan, but side-tracks to my planning happen all the time. Meanwhile I get more and more tired until I have to stop everything and take a nap, because experience has shown that trying to continue once tired results in increasingly dangerous confusion.

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