Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Fear Facto

According to Hubby, I’m lucky my head and arms are attached to my body because my multi-tasking ability “‘taint what it used to be.” As I dash from one “play date” to the next—with doctor’s appointments and marketing my book squeezed in-between—I’m constantly misplacing my glasses, my keys, my cell phone, or whatever I am suppose to bring or take with me.

Supposedly, I’ve been told, forgetting where you placed things, like car keys, doesn’t mean you’re becoming demented. Begin to fear the illnesses if you don’t remember what the keys are for. To that I say, “Bull.” My mother’s illness started with her not being able to find things, but she knew what they were for—right up until the end. Recently I had a 24-hour period of losing track of almost everything that wasn’t attached to me.

My living nightmare began after I played Mah Jongg at a friend’s house. Once home, I realized my Mah Jongg card was missing. For those who do not know the game, playing without this is akin to playing Bridge without cards. A phone call to my hostess let me know it was on her counter. I picked it up the next morning before heading 45-minutes south for lunch and more Mah Jongg. When the afternoon of joviality and games was over, I rushed out because I had a business appointment—I do have a life besides Mah Jongg!

One block before the entrance to the expressway, my cell phone rang. “You left your glasses here,” my friend said.

As I made my u-turn, my head pounded with the fear the dreaded dementia was nibbling my brain. Twenty minutes later, glasses safely tucked in my bag, I was on the highway heading home. I reached into my pocket for my cell so I could call my husband to let him know I was late. The phone wasn’t there. Panic set in, and at 65 mph, this is dangerous. Did I drop it when I had gotten out of the car to get the glasses? With one hand on the steering wheel, I dumped my bag’s contents onto the passenger’s seat. No phone. Tears filled my eyes.

How could I not have heard it crash to the ground when I got out of the car? I felt my ear to double check my hearing aides weren’t MIA also. I’m always in such a hurry I don’t concentrate. I’M NOT DEMENTED, JUST RUSHING TOO MUCH. I guess I didn’t believe my own repeated reassuring thoughts because tears streamed down my cheeks. I also stopped focusing on the road and didn’t notice the sign warning me that my lane was becoming an exit lane that lead me off the highway.

Two long traffic lights and one u-turn later, I was once again on the expressway. The constant pounding inside my head from my fear of the imminent death of my brain halted suddenly at the sound of the melodic music box tune that emanates from my cell phone. Relief was brief. The sound was nearby, but the phone was nowhere in sight. It took two calls—thankfully the caller was persistent—to discover the hiding place.

Okay dear readers. What’s worse? Dementia or having a butt so thick I couldn’t feel the hard phone underneath it? I know the answer. The only upside of my mother’s illness is she no longer cared about her weight.

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