December 22, 2005


I'm pretty sure I'm getting Alzheimer's. I went to pick up the Fabulous Susan at the airport, walked through the entrance and the little hub area with all the escalators and elevators to the various levels, parking and otherwise, checked out a bank of screens with various flight info on them, thought 'well this will be easy to remember, I didn't have to use any escalators to get here, I parked right on the main level!', and took the escalator up to baggage claim and waited for Susan to show up.

I sat down next to a woman who had a pug dog in a little black sweater with silver metallic specks in it and fake fur around the collar. It immediately decided that I was a crazed maniac dog killer, backed as far as it could on its leash and began to yap loudly at me. I didn't sit there voluntarily, mind you, I sat there because it was the only seat left and I had a rather complex piece of knitting to finish in time to felt for Christmas Eve. The owner of the dog informed me that her dog was Shy, and that she was waiting for her husband, who was coming with their *other* pug dog.


Luckily Susan showed before the second bug-eyed monster, so we gathered up her things and went back to the hub. Where I spent quite a bit of time wandering down all the side hallways, looking for one that ended in doors to the parking ramp, rather than in either an escalator or banks of elevators. Couldn't find one. Searched some more. Still couldn't find one. Went to the information desk to ask... and was informed that there was no such thing. ALL parking ramp exits were above the hub level. I looked at that bank of stupid screens that I had previously viewed. The kind (and slightly nervous-looking) information gal told me which escalator to take to the level I'd parked on. I took it, and sure enough, there was my car.

Yet I still would SWEAR that I never took an elevator or escalator on the way in to that hub.

So I either inadvertently tesseracted to that hub from the automatic doors of the parking ramp... or I have Alzheimer's. Or something else, and probably just as awful.

My great-aunt died of Alzheimer's, although she waited until she was in her late seventies before really showing any signs of problems. Early onset Alzheimer's would suck even more, I would think.

When I was in my early twenties I had a car accident and resulting neck injury that limited the oxygen getting to my brain for a while, and I lost the ability to read. Well, to be absolutely accurate, I could still read per se, but a second after reading something it wouldn't be there in my head anymore. I might have as well been reading Urdu phonetically. This went on to one degree or another for nearly two years, and although I did slowly regain my reading skill (although not the previous speed) - my short term memory never quite recovered. I've had to write things down ever since, just in case.

Losing your mental faculties is really scary and awful, especially when you are aware of it. Especially when the things you've always been good at are predicated on being able to think quickly and easily. The permanent back injury and the Familial/Benign tremors inherited from my maternal grandfather are much easier for me to deal with than the mental processing issues.

So this development is rather nasty - because I've noticed other problems this past year or so, with remembering words or remembering where I left things or what I was intending to do when I headed towards a particular room. I chalked those things up to approaching early menopause or some such, and figured it was normal even though I didn't like it much. Not only can't you rely on your own memory, but other people start doubting the things you *do* remember, which really gets on your nerves. Sort of like how once you've had PMS, every time you object to something or get ticked about something, your partner wonders aloud whether it's your hormones talking (my husband is smart enough not to do this - he knows that if it *is* my hormones talking, asking about it is just going to make them talk much, much more forcefully).

But that sort of absent-minded, lack-of-focus stuff is different from missing chunks of time so thoroughly that you're convinced they never existed in the first place. It helps me understand my sister (who has schizoaffective disorder) better. But I'd rather not.

I'll try to think of something positive to pull out of this tomorrow. But right now I'm just scared...


Blogger Chris said...

That would be scary to be worrying about... Could it be simple aging/perimenopause?? I know that the sort of things you mention (forgetting what you went into a room for, forgetting words, etc) are pretty commonly associated with normal aging... and I've definitely noticed them in myself.

6:08 AM  
Blogger mE said...

It felt different, but I can't be entirely certain.

Normally I at least have a feeling that I've forgotten whatever, a feeling of having been on autopilot or distracted or something and just not clearly remembering my actions - did I lock the door or not? Where did I park the car when I got to the Mall? This was as though my life got spliced, like someone edited me. I just got left in one spot and picked up in another, and the part in between didn't exist for me.

Very disconcerting. I seem to be okay today... hopefully it was a momentary lapse of some weird sort.


5:07 PM  

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