Saturday, March 8, 2014

My Partner, My Memory

I don't know if it's growing older, or New England winters, or the meds I take, or watching Homeland and Downton Abbey in the same week -- but my memory isn't as crisp as it used to be.

When I was doing my psych internships, I had to write up a  (wait a minute, I'll remember what it used to be called.... oh yeah..) progress notes on each session with my clients.  Progress notes were verbatim captures of what was said during the entire hour, by the client and by me.  These were then used in supervision to help me understand in deeper, more psychologically correct ways, what was going on for the client and for me.  Back then, I could remember just about everything I said and he or she said.

This activity even helped sharpen my memory for decades.  I could remember conversations, titles and the story lines of books and movies, shopping lists, and jokes.

Now, if I'm lucky, I can remember the punchline of a joke and work my way backwards to reconstruct the lead-in to the punchline.  This does not make me particularly funny.

It gets even trickier when medications enter the picture.  I take 6 different prescribed medications and a handful of vitamins and herbal supplements.  Some have to be taken with food, some without.  Some have to be taken in a particular sequence, not near others.  And I have to space the meds out evenly throughout the day so I get good pain coverage.

I used to scratch my head several times a day trying to remember if I'd taken the 1:00pm dose, or forgot it, and should I double up on the 4:00pm dose.

My partner, Richard, who is a scientist and engineer, must solve problems.  He has become part of my cerebral cortex.  He comes with me to appointments with new doctors and takes notes on his iPad.  He keeps track of how I'm doing (sometimes through his memory and sometimes through a spreadsheet) so we can provide doctors with an accurate accounting of my symptoms.

But the best solution he came up with was to program my cell phone so that I get a text message whenever it is time to take a medication.  He also suggested that once I take the medication on time, I delete the text message so I know I've indeed taken the med.

Now, I remember things for him too.  Particularly when it comes to the location of objects - like keys, cell phone, check book, passport, and runaway socks (this is what  we call single socks that mysteriously disappear).

It's actually a great comfort to be able to lean on each other in this way.  My partner, my memory.

Do you and your significant other remember things for each other?  What sorts of things?  Is this helpful, or annoying?


Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

We are each others' other half of the brain is how we describe it to others who don't have a significant other with whom to share this phenomenon. It almost always is a good thing and helpful; altho it can be annoying if what he remembers exposes me in a bad light-even if true. I will be lost if he predeceases me and I don't know that he will be so if I do him. He's much better equipped, in all areas, to be on his own and alone. I need someone close by and to live with or I forget how to tend to my own needs and drift into aimless reading and sleeping patterns which, altho not outright harmful, need to be watched so as not to become All I Do.

I still attend to my own dr appts altho he will drive if I need him to - he visits a nearby friend while I am in the office so it works out well so far.

We've been together almost thirty years and have been thru periods of great need and other times when I was the one who was providing the care as he fought a health battle or two over the years. But for the most part, he takes good care of me: shops, cooks, dishes, laundry, yard and vehicles...

Were it not for him and his caring for me I would be a different person in a different place and I am certain that place would not be nearly as nice as this one is.

Barbara Kivowitz said...

Hi Lynda. Sharing half a brain is a great way to describe it. And I too agree that if not for my SO the place I'd be in would be much grayer and more limited.

Thanks for your comment