Tag Archives: short-term memory

Need-To-Know Basis

flumpMy short-term memory is playing havoc with my life.

I now seem to exist in a permanent state of wonder.

Wonder at why I am standing at the fridge, peering in at the contents. Wondering why I’m holding a bottle glass cleaner in one hand and an unopened sachet of cat food in the other.

The Teenager was diligently typing up study notes for his looming exams the other day:

‘Mum! Oi, mum. When you finally stop watching Mad Men, could you have a look at my notes?’

‘Of course my little cherub.’

Ten minutes later, I put the rubbish and recycling out, placed the to-be-returned library books in a prominent position and vacuumed up stray cat biscuits. Then sat back down and un-paused Jon Hamm.

‘Muuuuuuuuum. My notes, like, d’ur?’

Gah. I completely, utterly, totally forgot. It’s got to the point that if I’m planning to cook dinner, a seismic IQ challenge in itself (any recipe longer than four steps is consigned to the ‘yeah right’ pile), I have to constantly remind myself what I’m doing. Which can be a little bit tricky, especially living with a Teenager.

‘Mum. Muuum! Why are you saying ‘mince’ all the time? It’s, like, a bit weird.’

‘Must get mince out of fridge, must get mince out of fridge, must get … must, oh, um, what was I doing?’

The Teenager looks at me and sighs. As does the kitten, as I’m still holding her cat food in one hand.

Right now, I’m living on a need-to-know basis. Which I guess is a bit like mindfulness without the, well, mindful part. Every day is a brand new awakening, as I stumble downstairs, trip over the kitten and am confronted with reminders – notes, lists, information I completely forgot overnight.

My diary is my new best friend. Everything, and I mean everything, is logged. Not just the appointments, but the ‘buy milk’, ‘put washing on’, ‘order cat litter’.

I had a chat with my mum this morning about it. She completely agreed, it’s hard. Then she said, ‘mind you, I’m 64, hee hee. You’re only 41. 42 this August!’ Is it MS? Or is it ageing? I know it’s MS. Before, I prided myself on my memory, almost photographic. I was highly organised, everything at my fingertips.

It’s been a wake-up call, but in a way it’s a teeny bit liberating. Friends confide in me, safe in the knowledge I’ll forget what they said within a week. I live more in the moment. My brain is uncluttered with insignificant stuff.

I’m trying to see the upside in this. Can you imagine my delight when I opened a kitchen cupboard and found an unopened packet of popcorn I’d forgotten about, left over from book club? It makes it all worthwhile. Kind of.

Photograph of The Kitten, Brontë, a couple of months before we adopted her.

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