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Jo Jo, Geography, and Dementia

July 21, 2011

Today’s report from the Caribbean: they have gone diving and I am home at the porch table. Ceiling fan whirring. Sea that non-Atlantic turquoise which is hard to believe in, rattling palm fronds. Yes, palm fronds. Yesterday, while I was up here writing, Jo Jo, a wild dolphin who is famous around here for being people friendly, paid the beach a visit. My friends leapt into the water and swam with him for an hour. Clearly I am missing out on life, or, at least on dolphins.

Before we left, I was on a long car drive with my mother, my son, and my two nieces and we played Geography, that game where you have to come up with a place that starts with the last letter of the place before you. So, if my mom said America, then I would have to say something that started with an A. ie. Africa. Anyways, here is what I noticed, my nieces have sharper minds than I do, like pencil points. My brain is sort of boggy feeling, sticky and slow, and this is a fairly new phenomenon. For most of my life, I have relied on my own pencil point memory without even knowing it, like breathing. If someone played a card, I remembered it. If someone lost a point, I certainly remembered that. Now, I have a hard time retrieving words and names. I can feel the word somewhere near, like someone standing behind you in the dark, but I can’t see it, can’t quite get at it. I tell myself that this is because I live partly in the 19th century, but I also think it is my age. Or oncoming dementia. I hope it is not dementia. Few things worry me more, although I do realize that it is fairly strange to worry about one’s brain while in paradise. For instance, the happy people on the beach — one person is lapping around in the water and a couple is playing frisbee — are probably not worrying about their brains.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tamsen Endicott permalink
    July 21, 2011 9:09 am

    As the parent of several whip-smart children with amazing memories, and as a person who has always been told that I have the memory of an elephant, I find I now struggle with the same retrieval issues you are describing. I used to worry more about this than I do now. For one thing, those young people have far fewer things to remember, or to be concerned about. You and I, on the other hand, are managing complex lives which also involve having to remember lots of things for other people, like children and life partners. Also, human beings are very good at compensating for deficiencies – no doubt, that is why writing was invented in the first place!

  2. July 21, 2011 10:44 am

    Words of wisdom, Tams, Thank you.

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