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9. Cognitive Hell

The date is April 9, 2008. I’ve just been through and am still experiencing my worst cognitive day. Maybe a lesion is growing on my frontal lobes. Jesus, I hope this book doesn’t turn into the second half of Flowers for Algernon. But if it does, you’ll be able to tell and can stop reading when and if it gets disjointed or simple-minded.

Aside from multiple room to room mental dislocations, for the first time ever I lost track of what I was doing in the middle of doing it.

That’s not supposed to happen to even partially impaired folks, I think. I emailed my doctor and hope to hear from her tomorrow. I found an adult ADD info page online and sent it to her. Oh, by the way, my doctor is a Jewish Black Lesbian.

Let’s hear it for Santa Cruz! I really love this town.

After the “watch on too tight” debacle, I pleaded with my father and got his help to hire a personal physician. Three thousand up front buys me the right to her help whenever I need it for whatever my insurance will pay her. Not that bad a deal when you consider the co-pays that I would end up spending, given my condition.

For those of you who have never experienced it, this is what cognitive decline feels like;

That’s right. It “feels” like nothing at all. Think about it. How can one “feel” the absence of something? The only way he “feels” it is by knowing that he knows something even though he can’t actually access the information. So when I walk purposefully into a room, I’m clued in that there’s something I meant to do there. Even though I don’t know what it is, I can usually reconstruct it by retracing my steps.

But what about the times I don’t know that I know? In those cases there’s no “feeling” at all. Life feels completely normal. It’s only afterwards that the effects of my forgetting are felt by others and I am made aware of my memory loss.

When reminded like this, sometimes I completely remember, sometimes I “kinda” remember, as from a dream, and sometimes I am taken totally by surprise. “Huh? I said/did that? I don’t remember. Why would I say/do that?”

But losing track of what you are doing while you are doing it, now that’s scary.

What if it happens to me when I’m driving my son to school or fixing a shingle on the roof?

There is an old Jewish saying that I will transliterate for the tribe before translating.

Im lo ani li, me li?

“If I’m not for myself, who will be for me?”

It’s getting harder and harder to be for myself.  I am seriously losing self-confidence.  At the moment the one thing I’m hanging onto is this book.  Until I manage to try the ayahuasca shaman cure, it’s like the only thing I can hang on to.  Maybe that’s because once I write it down, it stays.  There’s no way I can forget it if I chose to read it again.

I know that I promised to use humor and truth as my guides in writing this account.  I’m sorry to say that truth most definitely has the ascendancy over humor this evening.  I hope to make it up to you in later chapters.  In general what I’m going through though,  is ironic, and funny if also a bit painful.

Not this though.  It feels like the Buddhist “void” coming to roost.

It feels like I’m looking in the mirror and watching myself dissolve, bit by bit, before my eyes.

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April 18, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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