I'm not joking or making light about those with this condition. I really believed it, accepted it, and went on with my days; always being sure to have a little church pew pencil and mini notebook in my back pocket to write things down; important things, like who was at soccer until what time and at what park. Things that matter, like that.
I knew it was early onset dementia, my kids knew I had it, and my husband shared the diagnosis along with me. Just a fact of life, we learned to deal with it.
Until last week Sunday afternoon, when my oldest son was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal, and he happily cried out as if he just saw winning lottery numbers, Mom! Dad! You guys don't have Alzheimer's!
My husband opened his eyes from his spot on the floor in front of the fireplace where he'd been taking his 2 o'clock nap, I looked up from my new book Cooking Light and Feelin' Good, and together we shouted We don't?
No! You don't! He filled us in. It says here, you're normal! If you forget your keys, that's normal. If you forget your car, and walk home, that's not. More good stuff like this follows. If you can't remember your friend's name from high school, that's normal; if you can't remember your kid's name, that's not.
My husband and I looked at each other and grinned. We're normal!
Turns out we are just over worked, under rested, maxed out, life engulfed, sleep deprived, inadequately exercised, middle aged working parents. The clinical term is Normal Aged Forgetfulness.
Isn't that great?
I want to share this sense of relief with you. The article gave some more examples of what's normal versus what needs to be examined. Here, for you, nuggets of reassuring good news:
To lose car keys, normal. To lose a car, not.
To forget your childhood address, normal. To forget current address, not.
Forgetting names or appointments, normal. Forgetting your spouse's name, not.
Forgetting why you walked into a room, normal. Forgetting where your room is in your house, not.
Forgetting the names of things occasionally, normal. Forgetting the name of a toothbrush while you hold it in your hand, not.
Forgetting where you're going while you're driving, normal. Forgetting where your house is on your block, not.
Wearing clothes for days in a row without changing, not normal. Yoga pants Monday till Wednesday, totally fine.
Unable to manage household finances any longer, not normal. Kind of putting a dent in the credit card during Anthropologie's Winter Clearance Sweater Sale, clearly normal.
Wearing your black cardigan inside out for a full day, normal. Wearing your bra backwards for even one minute, not normal.
Talking to yourself, so normal. Yelling at yourself to answer back, not.
Occasionally blanking out on what your phone number is, normal. Forgetting what a number is, not.
Putting potatoes in the freezer, normal. Putting your watch in the sugarbowl, not. (Okay, I made that one up.)
Getting upset that Jim Halpert let that temp-tress Kathy in his room with only her underwear on, normal. Actually writing a letter to Jim Halpert reminding him of what it took to get Pam, still normal.
Good news, people. We're all going to be okay.