I was participating in a group of truck crash families and survivors a few weeks ago and one of the topics that came up was foggy brain. Many of those in the group that day were brand new to the reality of coping with life after a traumatic event.
A discussion about living in a never ending nightmare morphed into a discussion about foggy brains. How hard it was to concentrate. How the memory wasn’t as sharp as it once was.
I didn’t bring it up in the meeting, not to discourage any of the new families, but my dad died in a crash caused by a sleepy semi driver more than seventeen years ago, and my brain is more foggy today than it was way back then.
On the other hand, I doubt my fog is related to Dad’s death. It might be menopause. It might be covid. It might be something else, still to be diagnosed.
Whatever it is, it’s tiring. I know from months, maybe years, of experience that I can’t remember anything that I don’t write down. And that often, if too much time goes by, I won’t know what I meant by the scribbles I find on random pieces of paper.
I have never been able to remember people’s names. Now I can’t remember conversations, or finishing tasks, or whether or not I took the clothes out of the dryer.
For several days this week I couldn’t find the remote that moves our adjustable bed until it was found, out in the living room, on a table next to the sofa. I am constantly looking for my phone. And my shoes.
More scary, I don’t always understand what people are saying. Not just the concept, but the actual words. Sometimes it all sounds like noise, with only an occasional word I recognize. Other times there are words but their combination doesn’t make sense to me. Lots of times, after the fact, I’ll figure it out, and usually it’s just words that sound like other words confusing me. Ah, I think, that’s what they meant.
Most of the time my confusion happens while watching tv, often while doing something else, and not concentrating on one thing or the other, and, as it turns out, not hearing with context.
But other times it happens when people are speaking live and I try to slow my brain down and concentrate. That often works, but sometimes I have to ask questions, where I risk appearing dense. Other times I just let it go. Pick your battles, that’s my rule.
Foggy brain. Is it age, life experiences, past traumatic events, illness, stress, or just a lack of concentration? I don’t know, but I’m beginning wondering if the drugs they’re peddling on television to forgetful seniors really work.
And I’m wondering when I turned into a senior anyway. Looking back, it’s all turning into a foggy blur.