Did You Turn Off The Stove?

Alzheimer’s, dementia, senior moments. We start to hear of friends and neighbors suffering from the first two, and joke nervously about the third. Mine started with notes to myself between my bedroom and the computer, detailed grocery lists, and now a fancy sign framed and sitting on my counter next to the stove.

Several years ago, my son-in-law installed fire alarms in every room of my apartment, but the slightest whiff of burnt toast set them off and, after a period of false alarms, he dismantled most of them. When I moved into my new digs, he only installed one. However, it was a pricey style that needed no batteries, so it would always function.

I discovered that enduring a few sleepless nights, rather than taking any kind of sleep aid, improved my cognition dramatically—especially in terms of recalling words or names. My migraines affect my frontal lobe and short-term memory, but I handle this problem with meds that I take the instant the light show starts, which signals an oncoming headache. I still remember a trip to the hospital when, during the questioning (name, DOB, address, etc.), I was asked who William was. “My father,” I replied truculently, tired of all the questions and my inability to answer them. “Not your grandson?” my daughter asked. “What grandson?” I replied.

For all those of a certain age, I recommend getting a job that involves data entry. That’s what I do at the health department when we are not out cajoling people to get their Covid-19 vaccination. I’m dyslexic on the best of days, so data entry really exercises my brain. I figure that, if exercise is good for the body, why not the brain?

Published by Carole J. Garrison

I’m a conversationalist, an observer, a passionate participant in life. And now, in my later years, I’m a recorder of the lessons of my life through essays, stories, and novels. I live in the fourth moment of life, just outside the normal distribution of most people and it is from this place that I write.

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