My first hint that something was wrong with my head happened in a meeting at work. I just blanked on a presentation to a roomful of clients, broke into a cold sweat, and excused myself, leaving my boss to handle the presentation that I’d been writing and developing for a couple of weeks.
Then I got lost going to visit my neurologist, a familiar place for me.
Then I wondered what that button on my dashboard was while commuting to work, and pushed it. It turned out to be the ignition, and my car stopped, on a crowded highway.
Then I slightly scalded myself, because I could not remember how to work the shower controls.
Then I would sit for a long time, watching the traffic signals, trying to remember how the system worked, what color meant what, exactly?
Then words wouldn’t come out of my mouth.
Then images wouldn’t stop flashing through my brain every time I shut my eyes.
Then I started falling down.
And on and on. Forgetting basic things. Forgetting much about my past. I work through my day like a person with early Alzheimer’s writing notes, and hoping I will run into them when I need them.
Rereading and rewriting things many, many times to get them right, like this blog post, which will take me eight times longer to write than it ever used to.
When you read a list of Lyme symptoms, you’ll find the phrase, “cognitive decline.” The phrase does not begin to describe the experience. When I tell friends I am having trouble with my memory, with word-finding, to go ahead and fill in the blanks for me, your friends (over 50 years old, anyway), will tell you not to worry, they are doing the same thing, leaving their car keys in the fridge, blanking on the name of their minister, etc.
I smile. I know it is not the same at all. Not at all. It’s frightening as hell, being so lost in my murky brain.