I don’t know if it started happening because I got the neuropsych evaluation that documented my “Brain Fog” or if it’s just a coincidence that it started happening around the same time, but either way I’ve noticed lately that my family is starting to help me out with my memory and processing problems.
My husband and I have always functioned differently at bed time. I’m the one that wants to lay down, read my book and use it to fall asleep (sometimes only a few pages, sometimes an hour). But for me it’s quiet time. I don’t want to talk, I don’t want my mind to be reeling thinking about things, I just want to lay there and read until I realize I’m not actually absorbing any of what I’m reading, put the kindle down and close my eyes.
My husband, on the other hand, uses that getting-ready-for-bed time as his primary time for communication. He wants to tell me things about the day we just had, he looks at the calendar for the upcoming day, talks about plans – what are we going to bring to the pot-luck dinner at his sister’s in 4 days, remind me of things I need to do (remember to pick up his prescription from the pharmacy, etc.). Basically it’s clearly his time of day that he processes things, organizes things, thinks about plans, etc.
These two styles of getting ready for bed are in direct conflict. And for years they’ve resulted in him asking me to do something, me agreeing and then me promptly forgetting. I’m trying not to listen because I’m trying to calm my mind and empty it. I also have this whole brain fog thing going on where I clearly can’t remember crap anymore!
Last week it happened again – I’m laying in bed reading, he’s doing his nightly routine in the bathroom and comes in with a couple of requests for me – could I pick something up on the way home, could I make a call for him to someone (he can’t make calls during business hours with his job). I can’t recall the exact details of what he was asking me (because that’s the point of the story – I can’t recall that stuff, so I’m really not going to remember it a week later!) but the details aren’t important for this story.
He stopped – almost mid-sentence and said “do you want me to just send you an email” and I said “yes!”
It’s not at all that I am not willing and happy to do those things – it’s that I simply don’t remember them. And instead of me having to go to the effort of stopping what I’m doing, getting my phone and entering the information into a calendar or send myself an email (I know that REALLY doesn’t sound like it takes a lot of effort, but remember the spoon theory? By the time I’m laying in bed trying to empty my mind to fall asleep I very often have ZERO spoons left! And grabbing my phone to enter in information literally is too much for me to handle!) By this point in the evening I’m usually mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted and just cannot do it.
So instead of me having to do it, or me having to even ask him to do it, he volunteered. He realized that this is an issue for me and took steps to help ease the burden (and yes, he benefits because the likelihood of me remembering to do whatever it was I was supposed to do is greatly increased!)
My son (almost 12) and my daughter (almost 10) have also started doing these types of things for me as well. I’ve noticed my son has started reminding me each time he has intramurals in the morning rather than relying on me to remember (which resulted in a few “oh no, get up, we have to leave now to get you to intramurals” and one time of me not even realizing it until I got home that afternoon and looked and him and realized I’d totally forgotten and he’d missed it entirely).
They’re helping me remember things – reminding me, leaving me notes, sending me emails, and so on.
These may seem like such small things to be doing, but to someone that used to be able to juggle all these things with very little need for reminders to suddenly forget everything (due both to the actual brain fog and the shear exhaustion of making it through a day), it means a ton.
And the best part is that I’m not having to ask them to do these things. I’m not having to put forth the energy to think about what accommodations might help (again, this seems like it wouldn’t take energy, but for a “spoonie” it absolutely does!), I don’t have to put forth the energy to actually ask them, and I don’t have to feel guilty about asking them to do something for me that I feel like I should be able to do myself. They’re offering it of their own thinking.
It’s wonderful. It’s kind. It means that they’re thinking about me and what I’m going through and that I’ve been able to begin to communicate what it’s like for me and they’re finding ways to make things easier for me without me having to ask them. It’s love and I love it!