Several years ago my therapist gave me a memory test. This took place when I was in the midst of despair and my pdoc and I were working together to find the medicinal cocktail that was right for me. Naturally my test results were abysmal.
One part of the test involved my therapist listing 10 words out loud and I was to repeat back as many of the words I could recall. At no time was I able to repeat back more than 2 words. During this same period it was next to impossible for me to carry on a conversation. I would get halfway through a sentence and have no idea what I was talking about. I would struggle to recall what I was going to say. Rarely was I successful. As a result I became more withdrawn and either avoided personal contact or would join a conversation which did not require much of a response from me. Heaven forbid I join a conversation that required me to actively listen.
I was excited, a few months ago, when my therapist said it was time to do the memory tests again. I knew I was going to do much better, and I was right. Not only did my scores improve, but I surpassed the national average for men in my age group. This was such exciting news that I stood before the congregation at church and announced my success. I received much applause and a few even gave me a standing ovation. There is just one problem – I still struggled with my memory. I can’t deny there hasn’t been vast improvement. Stopping mid-sentence and forgetting what I was talking about does not happen as much. I am able to be an active participant in conversations. But there is still a black hole where a large amount of memory is falling never to be seen again.
When I expressed my concern with my therapist, he told me that in all likelihood the memories that had been lost were likely to remain lost. That made some sense to me. I decided I’d adapt and went on my merry way. I began to feel less merry when it became obvious that I still am forgetting more than I should. Sure, as the test results showed, my short term memory is doing well, but beyond that my memory is shot to hell. I brought this concern up with my pdoc. I told him about all the recent movies I never heard of, but learned I had recently seen. I brought up recent conversations, places and activities that I could not recall even after Maurice would explain them to me. My pdoc’s response was that it’s a normal part of getting older. I wasn’t buying it. Sure we do lose some memory as we get older, but the problems I am having are above and beyond normal in my opinion. Hell, I won’t even be 50 for another couple of weeks. I love my pdoc, but the man is older than God. No wonder he thinks this is normal.
Well, I have my agenda item for my next therapist appointment as well as my next pdoc appointment. I want to find out what is going on and how it can prevent it. If I’m told it’s a natural reaction to my medication, I can live with that. I can accept that answer, adapt, and get on with my life. What I’m not willing to accept is being told is huge gaps in memory loss are normal for a 50 year old man.