An Aging Brain

Shit happens when you get older. Yes, really, it does.  I forget a lot more today than I did even five years ago. My wife and I are good-natured about this inevitable part of maturing. We joke about not remembering squatola as we enter our final phase together.  Hopefully, we will remember we are married and how to have hot and steamy sex!

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In my twenties, I was fortunate enough to have a photographic memory. That was an especially useful thing in college. I could read something once and could tell you the page of that particular passage. When adding footnotes to a term paper, I simply pulled the book from my shelf, went right to the page to double-check and bam, there it was. I did very little studying and a lot of partying in college because I only had to read the chapter once and because I was OCD, re-read my highlights before a test.

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I’ve been packing up a little of my apartment in Forks in preparation for retirement and my move back to Moses Lake when finally I get to live with my wife full-time.  I didn’t think I would need my hammer, so I brought both along to put into storage. My wife said, “We don’t need two hammers. Get rid of one.” I didn’t tell her there was a third hammer in the toolbox in our storage unit. See, here’s the thing…while I don’t remember purchasing the second or the third hammer, I probably bought them thinking we didn’t have any. That’s what I do. If I can’t remember where I put something, which is happening quite a lot lately, I simply buy a new one. Thus, the three hammer phenomenon.  There might even be four. I haven’t checked the RV….

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One of these days we will have to go to that damn storage unit and rid ourselves of the duplicates, which I have no doubt there are many. Combine an aging brain with packrat tendencies and one has an overflowing storage unit.

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The other thing that is mildly frustrating and often amusing is the way I forget words. Whenever medical professionals talk about aphasia, it is usually related to a medical condition. Sometimes it is linked with dementia or Alzheimer’s.  I honestly wish they would assure those of us who are maturing, that mild aphasia or dysnomia, which is basically forgetting words or having trouble expressing something in words, comes with age. It is normal. It happens to most of us. For a writer, this is more than frustrating but sometimes hilarious.

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Recently, I used a word that I knew was incorrect, yet slipped by every one of my betas, except one. During all of my OCD reviews of the manuscript, it jumped out at me as wrong, but I could not for the life of me think about an alternative, so I left it there. I must have used nozzle versus barrel (in reference to a specific part of a gun) because I always remember fondly the story of when I used the garden hose nozzle attachment like a gun against my father. We had epic water fights while growing up. One day, when he came home from work in his three-piece suit (it was the 70’s), I let him have it. Then my sisters and I locked him out and mocked him through the sliding glass door gesturing while taking bites of our dinner. Dad was always good-natured about the pranks we played on him.

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A thesaurus does not help when a writer can’t even recall one word for what they are trying to convey.  Writing will get incrementally interesting for me as my aging brain continues to play tricks on me. I hope I will continue to laugh and poke fun at this phenomenon and I am sure my wife will laugh right along with me as I ask, “Hey hon, what is the name of that wiggling toy we used….” She might answer, “My finger.” And then I would correct, “No, no, the rubber thing….” Okay, just kidding, but I am looking forward to those fun discussions and perhaps it would be prudent to begin recording everything so I can include those discussions in a future book. That will offset the frustration of my aphasia.

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Speaking of remembering important things, Pleasure Workers came out on September 1. So don’t forget to get your copy!

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Read 1st Chapter Here

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10 thoughts on “An Aging Brain

  1. I read this with great interest for two reasons; I’m of that age myself where I’m starting to forget. I haven’t started losing words or using the wrong words yet as with aphasia, but I know it’s coming. The second reason was because I’ve been reading a lot about aphasia, dementia and Alzheimer’s the last few days as those things potentially relate to a certain, high ranking American politician who shall remain nameless. He’s exhibiting all of the classic signs of age, yes, but from my own experiences with family members and family friends who suffered from either dementia or Alzheimer’s there’s a lot to be concerned about there too. I’m no medical professional, but people who are, are worried. Interesting topic.

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  2. I enjoyed your journal. I’m also at this point in my life. I’m asking my wife…”You know…that actor…she played in…what was that movie….Ohhh you know we saw it at that movie theater in…was it New Jersey? Yeah..thank God for our wife’s!🌼

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  3. Too funny and I hope that we both remember who we are married too! Alzheimer’s is a different issue, so please make sure ours friends help with assistance in my death!

    I think you will actually need 1 of the 3 hammers for dismantling your bed.

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  4. I have chemo-brain, very similar. Add in age and I too think the symptoms of Aphasia are affecting me…it’s annoying as hell. In my writing I usually put XYZ and come back to it in the 2nd reading…then the editor gets it and if I didn’t fix it then, she asks, lol. As my mother died of brain cancer and my father of alzheimers/dementia I genuinely worry about losing my brain…sigh, hopefully, I won’t even know.

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    1. Yes, Ali and I talked about treatment brain and decided it would be great to write a character with “chemo-brain”. This has probably been done before, but it seems like this would be a great thing to highlight and provide education on.

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