I’ve been laughing my way through chemobrain. I try to pay attention, to be aware, to stand up and take notice whenever I feel something is quirky. I try to devise a system for the things that were second nature, things that have since become the challenges in The New Normal. Every stupid thing I do is NOT related to my cognitive issues. Sometimes, I’m just plain dumb. And sometimes:
“It’s just like Momma says, ‘Stupid is as stupid does.’ ”
In less than 36 hours between Friday and Saturday, I managed to pull off a few really great episodes of sheer and utter stupidity. For starters, I am unable to read a map. Qualify that. I can read the map. I see the streets but if I am trying to help someone find their way, I’m useless.
Maybe it was the pressure of knowing someone was driving around and would soon be late for a meeting. Maybe it was the fact that I could not quickly pinpoint the location. Maybe it was the realization of yet a NEW issue and this was a tad disturbing? Maybe it was the absolute disbelief I couldn’t get proper orientation until I actually touched my computer screen, saying aloud, “north-south” and then had a fight inside my head about west and east? Lesson learned all the way around. Tom Tom and Garmin are great navigation gadgets. And I’m not the best resource for directions.
And while I’m on the topic of driving, later that very same day, I went to the drug store to pick up a prescription. This is the same pharmacy I’ve been using for over 17 years. Driving the same route, to the same place with no course deviation. On my return, I was within blocks of home at a stop sign facing a house that could use a little landscape change. I mean really, 17 plus years and not even one new shrub?? Not only did I fail to make the turn (serves me right for judging their lousy landscaping), I GOT LOST two blocks away and found myself on some dead end street I did not even know existed.
When I finally got home, having made a few other wrong turns, I was done with Friday. Indeed, I was done with the entire damn week. Enough of maps and directions and turns. I grabbed the bottle of tequila (Patron Café….and I usually despise coffee flavored anything except for, ummmm, well, COFFEE), poured a shot (anxious to kiss the other side of this week....) and waited for a friend to come over so we could continue the tequila theme with some margaritas. Relaxed, laughed a bit at the stupidity of quite a few things that went on during the work week, thankful for the weekend.
Saturday's plans included a party in celebration of the 25th wedding anniversary of my brother and sister (in-law). She IS like a sister but if I didn’t add the (in-law), some might think I come from a family of freaks. It was on my phone, in the calendar, 1PM SHARP, SURPRISE. The sun was bright and warm, I had plenty of time so I decided it would be a good idea to sit in the yard to get my daily dose of Vitamin D. It’s how I justify my tan, which in turn, is the reason why my annual skin check is conveniently scheduled for the end of October.
Of course, I can never just go about whatever it is that I set out to do. Once in the yard, I began to straighten up, tossed the hose into the pool since the water was a bit low, picked apart a few flowers, and in the most cliché of ADD moments, got totally distracted by a beautiful yellow butterfly. Ayyyee, did I even sit still for five minutes to get that little sun kissed glow? I think not. In fact, definitely not.
Settled for the facial glow from some overpriced French moisturizer, couldn't decide what to wear, left a trail of clothing and shoes right to the front door and got on the road only slightly later than I hoped. Halfway to the party, I hear my cell phone: a text message. Then again a moment later, another. Damn AT&T! Can someone explain how a text message is useful if it takes 17 hours to transmit to my phone? That didn’t actually happen on Saturday, but it did happen the day before. Saturday’s instant communication lag was only 15 minutes.
My brother, not the party honoree brother, my other brother…. a simple “where r u” …. And then I see the other message, not a text, the call placed 15 minutes earlier......from “Dad.” Mom’s cell is still in my contacts as “dad.” I can’t change it. I text back my location and then called my brother. I was going to be about 10 minutes late. I thought perhaps there was a change in the expected arrival of my brother and sister (in law) and I might be the spoiler. You know, THAT person the one who has to show up just late enough to ruin it for everyone.
So much for phone calendars and the fact that I am now disciplined into putting information in IMMEDIATELY. Gotta work on my accuracy with the information now, too. So much for leaving notes to remember things. The party arrival time was noon, the “SURPRISE” was at 12:30. I walked in to a room full of people already seated, the handful of wise-asses shouting "surprise" at me, still would have been ten minutes late EVEN IF…. And despite three well placed reminders, I got back home just as the water was about to spill over the edge of the pool. Took an hour to drain it down to an acceptable level. It's still too high. I’ll drain the rest tomorrow. If I remember.