I forgot to write my blog for Tuesday morning. Completely slipped my mind on Monday, my usual blog-writing time, because I didn’t write it down in my Monday To-Do list. Usually, I organize myself in my bullet journal with a task list for the week, which I then break down for each day. But I’ve been busy with a lot of deadlines hitting at once, and I didn’t do the weekly task list, so I didn’t remember to write my blog.
Which is why, if you’re used to seeing this pop up in your in-box on Tuesday, it wasn’t there. Easy enough to “write it off” to aging, of course. But I had an interesting conversation with my Boston Medical rheumatologist on Tuesday that made me wonder. I was telling him how I feel that my memory just isn’t the same (this was before I realized I hadn’t written my blog, which gave me today’s theme . . . ).
Word-finding when I’m stressed has been hard ever since I hit menopause years ago, so I’m used to that. And we all know what it’s like to go into a room to get something and forget what it was. But now I’m finding that I can think of something I want to do and go to write it down (to remember), but the actual act of writing it makes the idea vanish for seconds or even minutes, sometimes. This is not only frustrating, but for someone who writes for a living and for my art, it’s upsetting. Fortunately, when I am thinking at the keyboard, the words continue to flow easily onto the screen.
Long-term memories are also getting harder to retrieve. Some of this is age, of course. But my maternal grandmother used to tell me stories from her twenties that were vivid with details. I had the same capacity for years, but now it just seems harder to recall long-ago details.
My rheumatologist tells me that brain fog is common with autoimmune disease. In the forty years I’ve had scleroderma, I never knew this. (Or if I did, I forgot!) Some of this has to do, in my case, with how my circulatory system is just not as efficient as it used to be due to the disease, so my brain isn’t as well-profused by blood. I also have Sjögren’s Syndrome as a secondary diagnosis, which causes dryness in my eyes, nose, and mouth, and apparently can also cause brain fog.
I haven’t changed medications in quite a while, other than eliminating a few that weren’t really helping me and cost way too much under Medicare. So this isn’t a reaction to drugs.
What to do? It comes back to the basics: get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet with foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidents, and exercise. I’m pretty good at the first two, and really need to improve at the latter. Over this past week, I barely got outside because of the cold. So on Tuesday afternoon, after my telemed call with my rheumatologist, I took a brisk walk.
A few hours later, when I finally wrote up my week’s To-Do’s, I remembered that I hadn’t written my blog. So, here I am, a day late. But at least I got here.
Image: Phillip Belena
Patricia Bizzell says
I do not share your medical conditions, as you know, Evie, but I do share your memory issues. I rely heavily on written lists can calendars to help me remember daily and weekly activities, but sometimes I still forget. Or the system breaks down: I forgot an important appointment in early December because when I made the appointment in November, I forgot to write it in the appropriate square on my December calendar. Turned to December and completely forgot until the party I was supposed to be meeting with called me at home to ask where I was–embarrassing!
My memory, and also my daily mood and even my physical balance, are all affected by how well I am sleeping, and my sleep has been disturbed for weeks, for various reasons, most of them trivial but with a cumulative effect. Sigh!
Evelyn Herwitz says
I share your sigh, Pat!