One thing I have always liked about myself is that I am smart. Being “nice” was a given, I had British parents and manners and politeness are culturally very important. Being pretty didn’t matter and it’s such a personal opinion anyway so it’s never held any weight for me. But being smart was something that was all me, something I did and I controlled. That has always given me quiet satisfaction.
So, now here I am in the culmination of chemo, and the brain-fog has rolled in; and it is very unsettling.
I have worked in IT since I was 19, so I am rather well versed in a wide variety of aspects of the industry. The other day I sat at my machine pulling specific information from the database, and I needed to fine tune this information for precision. Suddenly I hit a mental brick wall.
I entered in the necessary language but the results would not populate. My first reaction was I was puzzled – I could not understand why. Why wasn’t the coding I entered bringing out the expected results? I have done this hundreds of times before, why wasn’t this working this time? I ran a formula checker that pointed out an error, and I still could not figure out how to resolve it. And worse, I didn’t know what to do about it. I stared at the screen in a daze.
Then my next reaction; I got very sad. Mind you, I was already fatigued and weary from the chemo (which at the time I did not recognize.) I started to get very sad and wondered if people with Alzheimer’s feel this way? Do they feel that frightening loss and perplexity? Or are they blissfully unaware of what they used to know? God, what an awful feeling this was!
I did have the sense to put the problem away for the time being, and when I went back to it in a couple days I fixed it in a snap. But those chilling feelings of confusion were something so uncomfortable, so unsettling, I know I won’t forget.