It’s Friday morning and just about 9:00 am. I am in the bedroom, tossing an old pair of Merrills (tennis shoes) into my suitcase. The flight departs for Barcelona at 1:10 pm, so I am doing well. As I get ready to zip up the case, I suddenly wonder if my old shoes will do me justice as I am going to be walking several miles daily. My husband had just left the house to do last minute errands. He had shouted as he went out the door, ‘We leave for the airport by 11:30 am!’
Suddenly, it dawned on me that I could drive to DSW (Dallas Shoe Warehouse) pick up a new pair of Merrills and possibly buy a small purse with lots of zippers. The purse I was taking only had one snap. I jumped in the car, removed my sunglasses from the case, threw the open case in my shoulder bag, and placed the glasses on my face. DSW was only ten minutes from my house. I knew I would return home before my husband.
I was so excited. I parked in a great space close to the store. I got out, locked the car, and threw the keys in my shoulder bag. As I entered DSW, I knew Merrills were located to my left. I went up and down the aisles and found a black pair that fit perfectly. They were so comfortable. I headed down the aisle to the purse section. It took less than five seconds to see the bag I wanted. It was hanging on a hook. I quickly grabbed it, paid the cashier for my two items, and went to the car.
I still had 60 minutes prior to leaving for the airport. I took a slow deep breath and placed my hand in the shoulder bag to get the keys. As I was breathing, I moved my hand around and did not feel the key chain. That was weird. I remember throwing them into my purse. What if they had dropped by the car door? I looked down, did not see them, and got on my knees to look under the car. They were not visible. I dumped the contents of my purse on the hood of the car. The closed sunglasses case, wallet, pen, Kleenex and Altoids fell out, but the keys were not in sight. My heart began racing. What if they had fallen out of my purse and someone picked them up? My house key was on the key chain. Maybe they were in one of the store aisles? They could have dropped out when I tried on the tennis shoes. I ran into the store, found the manager, told her my dilemma and requested the aisles be checked along with the purse section. I checked every possible place, even by the register, but they were not found. I left my name and cell number and prayed that an honest person would turn them in. Next door to DSW was Bed and Bath. I ran in there and asked the first clerk I saw if anyone had turned in a set of keys. I was sent to the check out center and again left my identification information. Knowing I still had 40 minutes left, I was trying not to panic. So many thoughts regarding how and why I lost the keys cluttered my mind.
Misplacing the keys may have been related to rushing, multi-tasking, not paying attention, or perhaps I encountered a sudden memory loss. Sudden memory loss is usually a result of brain injury. I was not having a stroke. I didn’t have a headache. My AVM surgery was 18 years ago. Was dementia setting in?
Ironically, last evening, I was at an Alzheimer’s benefit co-chaired by my sister. During the benefit individuals spoke about their Alzheimer’s symptoms, status and how the organization was involved in their lives. It was so heartwarming, but also frightening. My father had dementia. Was this happening to me? I am just over 50. We’re all getting older, and it’s true that the brain does slow down a bit as we age. Does my brain need a little more time for it to work properly? Before I left for DSW I was physically and mentally very healthy. Memory problems did not exist, except once in a blue moon.
I had to call my husband to bring another car key. My voice was quivering and I was a nervous wreck. He was not happy. He arrived. We looked again in the parking lot and then I slowly followed him home. I could barely drive because I was so nervous. We were leaving the country for a week. What if someone had my house key and broke in while we were away?
As I pulled into the garage, my husband was standing in the doorway. He had called the car dealer to change the key, stated I needed to call our handyman to change the house door locks, and I had five minutes to put my suitcase in the car. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I ran upstairs to the bedroom, placed my new Merrills in the suitcase, dumped out my shoulder bag and began to place the items in my new purse. As I quickly threw the items in I decided to remove my sunglasses from my head and place them in their case, I wanted to make sure the case fit in the new purse. I opened the case and could not believe what I saw. The car keys were in the sunglasses case. I screamed and began to sob out of thankfulness. When I threw the keys in my purse, they must have landed in the case, which then, caused the case to automatically close. As we got in the car, my husband was relieved, but lectured about paying attention.
This blog ends with the following motive. To keep memory perking, pay attention by pausing and slowing down. When you don’t pay attention, you can’t register the information necessary to recall. As people become older, it is easier to become distracted and thus memory may suffer as a result. This happens to everyone at different times and to different degrees. Brain injury, whether due to trauma or stroke, can cause sudden memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease gradually and progressively causes memory loss. Memory problems must be investigated thoroughly.
Remember, before you rush out the door, pause for a moment, take a slow deep breath, and mentally go over what you will need…the CAR KEYS.
- Alzheimers And its Effects on the Paisa Tribe in Columbia May Help Shed Light on this Disease.
- Anti-Heros, Terry Pratchett, Alzheimers Disease and Clinical Trials
- Discovery by Dr. Paul Greengard of Rockefeller May Help Slow Alzheimers Disease
- Dr. Kwasi Mawuenyega, Randall Bateman et al Demonstrate Impaired Clearance of Beta Amyloid Protein in Alzheimers
- Avid Radiopharmaceuticals PET SCAN based Diagnostic Test for Alzheimers Approved by FDA Committee