Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Foggy

26 Comments

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 local park, early this foggy morning.

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.

A sentinel stands strong in the fog.

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.

Trying to pick out the clarity amidst the fog.

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.

Sometimes it’s so hard to see.

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.

Trying to focus.

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.

Walking through the fog.

And I’m wondering when I turned into a senior anyway. Looking back, it’s all turning into a foggy blur.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

26 thoughts on “Foggy

  1. I know the feeling! I chalk it up to age and hearing loss, which of course go together.

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  2. Sadly I cannot like this, as a matter of fact I had to stop reading. Just too depressing and perhaps too real.

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  3. You may feel that you’re understanding and remembering less BUT your ability to write clearly here suggests you’ve still got it going on. I think you speak for all of us when you wonder when you turned into a senior. It sneaks up on you.

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  4. “. . .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.” Oh yeah – that’s my life. And if I don’t get up to do something I think of right now, I’ll forget it. My white board is my savior – if I remember to look at it and pay attention.

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    • My calendar is like that, but i have to look at it every day or I’ll still miss stuff. And it’s a paper calendar which apparently makes me old fashioned. LOL I don’t know how to use the calendar on my phone or laptop.

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  5. Dawn, do you think you might have some hearing loss? I’m sure I do. Plus, for me, right now there is grief. When the receptionist at the veterinarian’s office asked me, with what struck me as exaggerated patience, if I was “sure” about wanting to schedule the next two appointments, because I had seemed “confused” about my schedule at the start of our discussion, it took all MY patience not to scream! Confused? You bet I’m confused these days, and about a lot more than the calendar!

    HUGS!!!!!

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    • Yes I do need to get a hearing test done. I had one years ago when I couldn’t hear my husband, and he insisted it was me. Turns out I heard just fine. I still think he mumbles a lot. But who knows, could be me this time. I know you have a lot going on, you weren’t expecting to be in this position out there but I think you’re doing great. One day at a time. Sometimes one minute at a time. It’s a trite saying but it works. At least it did for me. Hugs back at you.

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  6. I spoke with my doctor about the effectiveness of that drug and she said there is no scientific evidence that it does anything except cost you money…..

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  7. Dawn, I can sympathize with you. I deal with cognitive issues, too. It can be scary and so disheartening at times. I hope you have a good doctor who can help determine the root of the problem.

    Thank goodness for Post-It notes, white boards, and pocket calendars. I use all 3 and still manage to miss appts or cross up dates. I can look at those notes repeatedly, but if it does not make it through the fog….I am SOL.

    Stress, grief, and our new “normal” does not help matters.

    Sending you a **hug** from a fellow “senior” and member of the foggy brain club.

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  8. I suffer from brain fog, a symptom of illness, and I know how frustrating it can be. You describe it well.

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  9. A neighbor of mine in the senior community where I own a home seems often to simply “go off”. Other times he’s right on track. I’ve always defended him to other folks here who “talk” about him, but now I will even more. At meetings, he sometimes has trouble understanding and gets angry. In our talks over the past three years, he always seems to trust me. From now on, at meetings, I’m going to sit next to him. We have to take care of each other. Another neighbor of mine has “brain fog” but the docs say it’s because of medication that he takes because of restless leg syndrome. What a crappy time of life.

    Wish there was a “mind sharpener” like there is a “pencil sharpener”…. why can’t they invent that?!

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  10. I’m in that same boat with you Dawn, out in the fog much of the time.
    I recently got Sanjay Gupta’ book ‘Keep Sharp’, and find that very interesting. He says, contrary to what I’ve always heard, we can keep making new brain cells, but we do need to work at it, and eat correctly, etc.
    the other thing I did recently was… oh boy…. I got a new puppy. Her name is Star Light and she’s 10 1/2 weeks old now. She does keep me on my toes…while also causing sleep deprivation:-))
    She does the same for her big brother Blue Sky, and she adds joy to our lives, much needed in our world right now.
    Hugs to you!

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  11. How courageous of you to share here, Dawn. ((Big hugs)) I think many of us are traveling similar territory these days. I go from foggy and pre-dementia fears to clear and in focus, and never know which will be coming. The stressful time in Georgia was the worst because it brought up so much fogginess. It’s been much better since getting back home.

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  12. It might be time for a check up with your Doctor, just to make sure nothing is out of balance in your bloodwork. I find myself double checking lots of things, part of the forgetfulness comes with age…I am not certain when I became old either:(

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