Seriously. I just looked at my grandson Elijah as we were chatting and all of a sudden I forgot his name. Just…forgot. I was enjoying the company of someone I have loved since the first time I held him at approximately 45 minutes old, and here I was, fumbling for the right name (Zachary? Joshua?). Fortunately it took me less time to remember it than to tell the story, but it’s downright frightening to blank out on something as important as your grandchild’s name!
But that’s just another day in paradise for me and my (once-bright) mind. Ben is usually the one to catch my errors; he gives me shit about it all the time because he’s the only person in the house who A) knows what I USED to be like, and B), thinks it’s funny. I’ve always been a little unfocused and not as observant as I should be—except when I was working as a nurse—but I wasn’t outright dumb. And while there are those who would take issue with me saying that, may I remind you that there’s a big difference between dumb and stupid. Stupid is some idiot saying “Hold my beer and watch this!” and you can’t fix that. Dumb, on the other hand, is stumbling and bumbling through life, and everyone tolerates it because it’s kinda cute in its own way.
I don’t want to be cute. I want my brain back, the wonderful organ that once aced algebra courses and demanded to be stimulated and challenged every day. I don’t know what happened to its intellectual curiosity, either. I do know I don’t have dementia, but I sure act like it sometimes! I forget where the Delete key is on the computer. I forget I’ve spent money and get mad because I think it’s been stolen, which did happen in the past but hasn’t for quite some time. I’ve even been known to flub my words when out in public, which is embarrassing as hell for me and doubtless makes others uncomfortable.
I had a “telehealth” conversation this week with Dr. Goodenough, which consisted of an informal chat on the phone since I can’t figure out how to use Skype or Zoom. I don’t think he knows either. We talked about my tardive dyskinesia and of course about my bipolar brain-fade. I reiterated that I feel I would get at least SOME of my smarts back if I didn’t have to take so much medication, but I said it just for the record. I know there’s not going to be a reduction or discontinuation of any of them, not in this lifetime, because my current regimen is what works. We do not mess with this magic formula. There is room to go up as necessary, but right now that’s not an issue since I’m stable as can be. I feel like a regular person now, at least my version of what a regular person must be like, and I won’t give that up because I’m upset about being such a ditz.
But sometimes when I lie in bed at night, I remember what it was like to have intellectual conversations, to read books and talk about them, to be quick-witted and funny and full of piss and vinegar.