I was thinking the other day how strange it is to be able to remember things and people, including their names from long ago, when I have difficulty remembering what I did yesterday or why I got up and went into the other room. I know there was a reason but for what, is gone. I usually retrace my footsteps and then it all comes back to me. Then on a different day, everything is crystal clear and I can recall people’s names that I met yesterday and what I had for breakfast.
I know it’s old age and the forgetfulness that seems to go along with it but at the same time, it is very frustrating. I coach Youth Select soccer and have done for over 20 years. Each time I get a new team, I have this routine that I use that enables me to put a name to a face. I have a picture of each kid with their names on a single sheet of paper and with lots of referring to it, I am eventually able to learn who they are. There are times when I forget and there is a rising moment of panic trying to recall them so as not to insult them. I have a set of twins that are on the team and are almost identical. Their Mother, understanding the difficulties, makes them dress out differently for training but that doesn’t help much in a game when every kid is nattily attired in the standard uniform. Then I resort to the often used, “Hey You” or talk into space in the hope that the kid whose attention I am trying to attract happens to look my way.
My Mother, lived until she was 94 years old and of course I am hoping that I have her DNA. Towards the end, she was very forgetful especially of people including me. She could remember my 2 brothers and sister but for some reason, not me. Maybe it was because I came 10 years after the other 3 and she never forgave me for that and purposely put me out of her mind. Hell, it wasn’t my fault she got herself knocked up at a later age. There was some talk of a guy named Basil which is not my fathers name. Or maybe it is. Would account for the 10 years difference in me and the rest of the family and hopefully a different gene pool.
My oldest brother took this whole forgetfulness thing a step further. When he reached his 70’s he would wander far afield and could not remember how to get home. He lived in a small village in Upper New York State so many people knew him and would bring him home if they came across him in his wandering.
Turns out, in his case he had Alzheimers which eventually led to his death. I wondered how one could die of Alzheimers assuming that one didn’t get into an accident or fall off a cliff until it was explained to me that not only did the disease lead to strange and forgetful behaviour, it also is responsible for sending messagesfor the body to work it’s normal functions. So things we take for granted like breathing, or the heart beating which we think happens automatically, still require brain messages to make them happen. If that message doesn’t arrive…
One of the recomended exercises for the brain is to keep it busy. Reading or learning another language or working on the computer are all things that are supposed to help. My Brother read all of the time. That is, in between taking those long walks to places unknown and it didn’t help him that much. Or maybe it did and bought him a few extra years. We will never know.
I tried learning another language which is pretty stupid when you think of it as sometimes, I can’t remember English and I have spoken that all my life. So, how the hell would I recall strange words that have no meaning to me. I gave up that idea and went back to the thing that I do know very well and that is the computer. So far, that is working out just fine (except I have this printer that I can’t get to work). Oh well.
I have outlived my father and both of my brothers. My sister, who is 10 years older than me, is still doing well so she must definately take after my mother. Either that or this Basil guy has some connections to her life. My sister shows little signs of the disease other than the normal old age forgetfulness so there is hope for me yet.
Now where did I put my keys…