Old Age, or Something Like It

“Some people with memory loss really need to start writing down the stuff.”

– Anonymous

You know that expression “You don’t know what you got until it’s gone”? Well, boy, is it true! And applicable to damn near ANYTHING!

If the name of this blog (and literally all of my previous posts) didn’t give it away, it probably is no secret that I suffer from bipolar disorder. Not meaning (or attempting) to be funny, it’s a topic us mad ones have to laugh at or else we’d spend all day crying. Or worse.

There are many negative aspects to being bipolar. Believe me, I know. At the same time, I also feel (sometimes) that there are some good aspects of suffering from the illness. They’re not always obvious, but they are there.

But does the good outweigh the bad? Or is it the other way around? Ask me tomorrow and I’ll tell you something different.

“The older I get” has become a new, oft-used phrase of mine, almost a sad mantra of some sort. But over the last year alone I’ve experienced such a cognitive decline it’s more than noticeable. If only by me.

This is one of those instances where the good doesn’t outweigh the bad. There’s no other way to spin it, and it’s scary.

As someone famous once labeled themselves as being “well under the 30”, I cannot….but only by a little bit (the elders of the tribe would scoff if they knew my real age). Which makes it scarier! I shouldn’t be dealing with these types of things this early in life. Or so you might think.

I don’t mean to sound abrasive or whatnot, but it’s been a problem that scared me enough to keep it a secret. Until I couldn’t.

Before the forgetfulness got severe enough to scare me, I started having problems with basic motor skills. Just loss of coordination and perception. This went on for a couple of months before I got “busted” by my wife. After a few times of falling and losing balance one day, the jig was up.

It was strange having to discuss the issue like I had been hiding an affair or something equally dreadful. Of course, my wife wasn’t too happy and it actually kickstarted my deep personal fear of the problem. I was slipping, it felt like. You can take a hand. Hell, you can take the whole damn arm. Just don’t take my mind.

I then started forgetting what I was talking about mid-sentence. I’d forget the whole conversation, the whole subject even. I would get so embarrassed when this would happen with anyone other than my wife that I could almost cry. And sometimes I did. It’s like walking into a room and forgetting why. Except now I was forgetting to even walk into the room. It’s a metaphor, but accurate nonetheless.

I of course went to the doctor and got in with a neurologist. I’ve had at least three MRI’s, one suggesting there were two spots of white matter in my corona radiata and another suggesting there was no white matter at all. Things have been ruled out, just not ruled on.

I’m to have an even more extensive MRI done to hopefully determine something. It’s weird to want to know something is wrong rather than experience this type of loss and there be no cause to its effect.

Fortunately, upon doing some research, I’ve learned that bipolar disorder takes a toll on the ol’ brain. That’s what it is. Has to be. I’d almost bet the farm on it. Especially when it comes to loss of coordination and the cognitive decline.

Now this isn’t an everyday hindrance; 95% of the time I’m fine. Bipolar still, but fine. It’s the other five percent that’s troubling.

I can’t sit around and count the days until I’ve totally lost myself, though. But I’m still not excited about it. And maybe I won’t have to deal with it on a real serious level, but it’s the type of decline that’s been real gradual. Thankfully (knock on wood) I have not had any serious or even real noticeable “moments” in the last month or so. But it comes and goes. Which makes it even scarier.

I go back to the neurologist in April, and I don’t expect there to be any more of an answer than there was a few months ago. I’m not being negative, just reacting to what I’ve learned about this from the doctors so far: not much.

I’ll wrap this up before it turns into even more of a whiny, “woe is me” type of post, which was not my intention. But if I ever seem absent, and to a fault, fear not. I probably just forgot to remember it was blog day.

Again, us mad ones have to laugh or else we’d go crazy.

3 thoughts on “Old Age, or Something Like It

  1. A couple of years ago, I went through a period (a year) where I was always dizzy. I had all the tests, MRI, EEG, blood work, etc, etc. Finally, a different blood test identified very low iron as the culprit. Very expensive (in fact I just paid the last bit on my medical payment plan last month) but my point is, there could still be a simple underlying cause that is a simple fix. Mine was ‘stop being a vegetarian.’ Best of luck as you hunt down the cause.

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