HIKING THE HALLWAYS OF MEMORY

HIKE | THE DAILY POST

Every night, I fill up my cup, grab my bag o’ medications, pet the puppies, and hike the hallway to the bedroom at the other end of the house.

After arriving, I put the bag where it belongs. Adjust the bed to its TV viewing angle. Turn on the television for Garry. He watches with headphones while I read or listen to an audiobook. I fire up my blue-tooth speaker.

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I divide up the nighttime medications into two cups, his and mine. The cups are actually lids from medicine bottles, but I they are convenient. I put Garry’s  antihistamines in one, all my stuff in the other. My stuff includes the rest of my blood pressure meds plus whatever I’m taking to keep my arthritis from solidifying.

I never remember everything. I forget to turn off the fans in the living room pretty much every night. I sit on the edge of the bed trying to remember what I should have done but didn’t. “Ah,” I think. “Fans.” I hike to the living room. Turn off the fans. Pet the dogs. Assure them they are not getting another biscuit no matter how cute they are.

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Back down the hall. Brush teeth. Sit on the edge of the bed. Oh, right. I have to refill the antihistamine bottle. It’s empty. Back to the kitchen where the huge bottle is stored. Fending off the dogs, I amble back to the bedroom. I put the various medications in the little cups and get the nagging feeling I’ve forgotten something else. Like … I didn’t close the kitchen door. It’s a dutch door and we leave the top of it open during the day to catch the breeze. Tonight, it’s supposed to rain so I should close it.

Up the hall to the kitchen. Close door. Pet dogs. Back to bedroom.

Garry shows up, having done whatever it is he does for however long he does it in the bathroom. I hand him his two pills. He takes them and settles into watching highlights of the Sox game, followed by a movie or something. I turn on my book.

Forty-five minutes later, I’ve got a headache. I’m not sleepy and everything hurts. Why are my medications not working? There’s nothing more I can take. Panic is setting in.

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Which is when I realize all the pills are still in the cup. What with all the hiking up and down the hall, I never took them. Probably explains why they aren’t working.

I laughed. Continued laughing for a while. Garry took off his headphones long enough for me to explain why. I got to the punchline, he looked at me and said: “You hadn’t taken it, right? Yup, that’s classic.” He smiled. Nodded. Put the headphones back in place.

As our memory — collectively and individually — gets less dependable, we have substituted routines and calendars. I take one of my medications only once a week, so I have a calendar reminder. All appointments are on that calendar, Garry’s and mine, because otherwise, we will forget. No maybe. Forgetting has become normal.

If we do everything the same way at the same time every day, we’re much less likely to forget. Still, it can be pretty funny.

Yesterday, we were watching a show that included a dog. Garry assumes I know every dog breed at a glance. He’s right. I know the breeds, but these days, I may not remember its name. I will usually remember the group — guarding, herding, hunting, hound, terrier, non-sporting (“other”), toy. If I can remember that, I can go to the AKC site, find the group, scroll the list and find the dog. But they’ve changed the AKC website, so it’s not as easy as it used to be. I wish they’d stop fixing stuff that isn’t broken.

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I knew the dog that Garry was asking about was the same as the dog Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) had on his show. The dog’s name was Eddy. I remembered that. No problem. The breed name was on the edge of my brain, but not coming into focus. I gave up and Googled it.

Search for: “Breed of dog on Frasier TV show.”

Except I couldn’t remember the name of the TV show, either. So I first had to find the name of the show.

Search for: “long-running comedy on TV about psychiatrist.”

Up popped Frasier. Phew. I could have also found it by looking up that other long-running comedy, “Cheers,” in which Frasier first showed up as a character, but I couldn’t remember its name either.

One of these days, I’m going to have to Google my own name. I hope I find it.

39 thoughts on “HIKING THE HALLWAYS OF MEMORY

  1. Oh the pleasures of becoming a golden oldie, but you learn to live with it. What the partner forgets, you remember, and what he remembers you forget. Mr. Swiss has connected his phone appointments with mine to see what I have, but I have not connected mine to his, because his is too complicated. Since the neurologist doc found what is wrong with me, all my medicines have been dropped, because they were nothing to do with my problems. I was not giddy because of some sort of malfunction in the inner ear. The only tablet I have to take in the evening is the cholesterine tablet, and Mr. Swiss also takes one of those, but he takes his in the morning. He is on all sorts of stuff that I cannot keep up with, but we have the same doc, so I can always ask her if I have to know. Life does get complicated, luckily we live on one floor and I have a cane to hobble around with.

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    • What’s weird is that Garry and I tend to forget the same stuff and remember the same stuff — at the same time. And I know the information is in there … I can feel it tickling the edge of my brain, but I can’t quite grab it. Having the same doctor is a big help. Even more important, suggest you both have lists (on your computer is fine, as long as you can each find the information) about what each of your conditions is and what medications each of you takes. You never know when you need that information and getting it quickly is really important. Garry and I each carry a printout of our current meds in our bags … just in case.

      We don’t have the same doctor, but we have the same medical plan, so the information for both of us can be accessed through the same websites. That helps a little, but nothing helps you to remember the name of that movie you both saw but can’t remember who was in it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • We are continuously consulting Internet IMDB for movie stars, names and whatever. It is almost becoming a competition to see who gets there first. I have a complete medical calendar in my iPhone of all my medicines, but you are right. I will put Mr. Swiss details in mine as well. It is no good writing anything, because I mislay documents and cannot read my handwriting or Mr. Swiss.

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        • As long as you can lay your hands on your spouse’s info quickly. Paper does get mislaid, which is why I have an electronic copy of my stuff and I make Garry keep a copy and I keep a copy of his stuff. He is more a paper guy than I am, but he has bowed to the convenience and readability of shared data across all our devices … which is why I like the google stuff. I get it on the computer, the phone, the kindle … every device. As well as a “to do” list, contacts, and reminders, etc. The phone meaks me crazy. If I leave it on, it’s always beeping and whirring and chirping and buzzing with some notification. Even stupid weather alerts. I can still look out the window and realize it’s raining!

          The good thing is I don’t have to update each device. They all update themselves … whether I want them to or not 🙂

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  2. I’m only fifty and I forget to take my meds on a regular basis, even after the hubs hands them to me. 🙂 I have the same reaction, “Why aren’t the meds working?” Oh, because they’re still sitting on the table next to me. hahahahaha! >_<

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    • I think I may have lost the front door key. But we don’t go in and out through the front. We go in and out through the side. The dogs, now they use the front door 🙂

      It’s not so much exhausting as confusing. I forget what I’ve done and what I’ve just thought about doing. If I think hard enough about something, I’m sure I’ve done it … and that’s not a function of age. That’s been true my whole life! Just true-er now 🙂

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  3. I now keep my meds in one of those little snap lid trays with the days of the week on it, seven little cups. Reminds me of the days when little girls’ “gift underwear from aunt” was often colored underpants with days of the week on them. The trick is to remember to TAKE the meds in the first place, and when I trot downstairs the next morning, and the Tuesday slot is empty and the Wednesday slot is full, and this is Thursday…well… I think I’ve found the initial flaw in the system.

    I spent an entire drive-to-work (30 minutes) trying to remember the name of the wicked witch in oh. um. wait a minute. Anyway, it was Margaret Hamilton, pedalling her way across the heavens Wizard of Oz, yeah, that’s it…=)

    Usually the mister sees the whatsit Im searching for, (new eyes sometimes help) and I can fill in the blanks for him. It’s a great life, if you don’t weaken.

    Liked by 1 person

        • I thought it would from early on simply because it was so much better than any of the search engines which preceded it. And to this day — more than 20 years later — no one has a better engine. They’ve built everything on their engine … the best, fastest, most complete database in the world. Knowledge is power and they have continued to add to that base and use it in different ways. Does Google spy on us? You betcha. But ALL the DBs everywhere spy on everyone. Google just does it better and more thoroughly.

          It helps if you know MY history, which is that I was seriously into databasing and worked on the development team for DB-1, the FIRST relaional database in Rehovot, Israel. IBM bought it and used it as the foundation for everything that came afterwards. Now all modern databases are both relational and object-linked, so they are faster … and information gathering, sorting, and database updating is a million times faster than it was back in the early 1980s. Where it goes from here, i don’t know. The ability to accumulate information has far exceeded anyone’s — Google or the governments of the world — ability to analyze and make sense of the data. Piles of raw data are not helping anyone. I always laugh at the idea the the government is tracking each of us. They are so buried in their own data, they are barely keeping their collective and individual heads above water. By trying to monitor everything, they effectively wind up monitoring nothing.

          In the end, it’s agents on the ground using the same old detecting techniques “as seen on TV” that get the job done. Because all those information gathering engines gather absolutely everything … and everything is, practically speaking, the same as nothing.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I kind of thought that would be the case, Marilyn. When you think about it there is so much mundane information out there it would be hard to make much out of it. I find your early experience fascinating. It helps in understanding what’s going on today.
            Leslie

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  4. I’m on my 6th night off…. I’m lucky I even know what day it is. I know it ends in a Y… Monday? It doesn’t feel like a Monday. At least I haven’t forgotten my medicine yet, but there’s still three days to go. Without my routine of taking it before I leave for work, it’s a given I’ll forget it at some point…

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    • The first time I totally lost track of time was when Garry and I were on vacation. It was an island. A beach. By the third day, I lost my watch. By the following day, I gave up undergarments. By the time we went home, I had forgotten what I did for a living, much less what day it is.

      The difference is that in retirement, this is a permanent condition. And I’m not bragging, not really. Okay, a little.

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  5. Oh I enjoyed this so much. It made me laugh and I was comforted to know memory OR loss of can be talked and laughed about. Mine is going!

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    • I forget the names of things. i forget the names of people I see every day, but I remember the name of the jerk I dated in college who really pissed me off — 50 years ago. What I remember or forget seems almost random. I google EVERYTHING. Absolutely everything. But the fun thing is, if I have to do something, if I don’t do it immediately, I may forget to do it at all, but THINK I did it because I thought about it hard. Which is almost like doing it 🙂

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