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Have You Seen my Wallet? MS Memory Lapses
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Living with Brad is an adventure for his entire family. He shares his trials and tribulations of MS and narcolepsy with those he loves most. On a typical day Brad runs the gamut of being fully awake to fully asleep, yet not in a bed. Then there are times when he is very alert and attentive. Yet a short time later he is completely distracted. This typically happens when forced to multitask. It's something Brad doesn't handle very well ever since developing MS.
One of his most often experienced “MS Symptoms” that he shares with all of us is his forgetfulness. When it comes down to it, he loses just about everything. Brad was very organized and on top of things prior to this MS issue. Now, most of the time the conversation begins like this: “I just had my [item], and I can’t find it. Did you see it?”
I told the kids that I was writing about this topic, and I asked them for a quick brainstorm of the items that they have recently had to help dad find. It took all of a minute for them to come up with a very full list. Some of the notable items include his glasses/sunglasses, his bright blue work gloves, his Kindle, television remotes (one is still missing), pen, pocket knife (still missing), flashlight (still missing), headlamp (still missing), wallet, phone, medicine case, camera, his earrings, plates of food, and almost every important paper.
Most items are located by one of us within minutes of Brad telling us it’s missing. They are usually right where you would expect to find them -- it’s just that Brad doesn’t remember putting them there. Then there are the items that are still missing, like the headlamp he lost while caulking the bathtub the other day. Who know where that is?!
MS Short-Term Memory Loss
One might wonder how it is possible to lose a headlamp in the middle of a job or misplace a plate of food. The answer is that MS causes short-term memory problems. Brad has put things in the oddest places. If he is holding something and goes to reach for another item, Brad will just put the first item down and forget that he was even holding it. That’s how some items have ended up in the fridge, or even in the garbage.
There is also the problem of where he keeps things. He has several backpacks/waist packs that he uses when he leaves home, even if just for a few minutes. He is always switching between bags because the size of the bag and what he brings depends on how long he will be away from home. So he can lose his sunglasses because he can’t remember which bag he used yesterday. Sometimes he catches his mistakes quickly, other times he doesn’t realize it until the item is too hard to find. I even bought him a jumbo remote for the television to help him stay sane!
Cognitive Rehabilitation for Memory Loss
Brad's neurologist recommended cognitive rehabilitation studies after performing a series of memory and processing tests during his last appointment. Brad did not perform very well on the tests. Interestingly his physician did these tests while having Brad perform a series of physical movements, forcing Brad to multitask. MS memory issues can have several causes, including decreased processing speed. Brad is eager to begin treatment, as the constant forgetfulness makes every task take three times longer than necessary.
Do short term memory problems affect your life with MS? I’d like to read your comments.
Video: How to triple your memory by using this trick | Ricardo Lieuw On | TEDxHaarlem
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