DISCLAIMER: For those of you looking for a serious discussion and trying to find real answers, here are some helpful websites:
- Attention Deficit Disorder Association
- WebMD’s ADD and ADHD Health Center
- HelpGuide.org’s ADD and ADHD in Children
- Alzheimer Association
- National Institute on Aging
I had to substitute teach last Friday, and I was right on time, maybe even a little early, in my getting ready routine. I took my sub bag out to the car. Came back in, fed and watered the dogs, moochied them before getting into the car, and drove to the school without having to do 70 mph in a 55 zone to get there on time. I was simply amazed at myself. Simply amazed.
I went to grab my sub bag and lunch from the passenger seat when the reality that I wasn’t as amazing as I thought hit me: I had left my lunch on the counter (and then I looked down at my cup holder) next to my morning protein drink. Are you kidding me?! I have to go all day with nothing to eat?
Then I remembered the cash I got when I went to the grocery store on Thursday. I was glad I had the presence of mind to get cash. Salvation! I would just get some items during first period off the snack cart. It comes around every period, so there was no chance of going hungry. So during first period, I bought a Coke (not exactly a protein drink, but I needed the caffeine) and a package of blueberry Pop Tarts (There are two in each package, one for morning snack, one for afternoon snack) and a bottle of water to make myself feel better about drinking the Coke (Because water cancels out the sugar in the Coke. Am I right?).
I had the Coke and first Pop Tart throughout first period (90 minutes for my non-block schedule readers). During second period, I opened the water and broke the second Pop Tart in half. I broke one of those halves into half again to make it easier to eat. I figured eating bite size pieces was better than the students witnessing me shoving a dry toaster pastry into my starving mug.
I ate one smaller portion of the Pop Tart between the bell ringer activity and the pronoun test.
I ate the other smaller portion after taking up the tests and giving instructions for the second assignment (which was making 55 prepositional phrases by the way). I answered questions, helped them think of phrases, blah, blah, blah. I worked up a real appetite, so I went back to the desk to break the second half into smaller pieces.
It was gone.
The last half of my Pop Tart was gone. It wasn’t there. I blinked and blinked, but it didn’t appear. And this haunting white chill came over me. Oh my goodness, did I eat the second half of that Pop Tart and not even remember it? Could that happen? I searched and searched every synapses of my brain to recall when I would have eaten it.
Complete blank space.
No file found.
This is what it feels like to have Alzheimer’s. Blank whiteness where memory used to be. No recall of actions. Dear Lord in Heaven, this is scary, I thought to myself.
Frozen in my stance looking at the desk where the empty wrapper laid splayed open, I stood there and began to have a minor panic attack. I felt the exact same way coming out of the grocery store on Thursday. I came out of Kroger a little puffed up from scoring on a spaghetti sauce sale (Kroger is closing out a certain brand and it was going cheap, cheap, cheap!). The automatic doors opened to acknowledge the Queen of the spaghetti sauce sale passing through and when I stepped through the door a haunting white chill gripped me instantly.
I had forgotten where I parked.
This wasn’t a simple “I can’t remember where I parked” like one has at WalMart kind of forgetting. This was an “I don’t remember driving here or parking or walking in or buying this stuff dear Lord in Heaven WHERE AM I?!” kind of forgetting. The kind of non-remembering I think only amnesia sufferers and Alzheimer’s patients experience.
Well, and me at that moment.
I froze. Seriously, unable to move. I looked at each car trunk and asked myself if it looked familiar. It wasn’t until I got to the 9th car trunk that I recognized the little cougar paw in the upper right rear window. That’s my car! I was flooded with relief that I had indeed driven to the grocery store. Once I got to my car, I check the bags to see if I got what I actually went in for, which was dog food and sushi. I had. I felt better. Hey! I remembered what it was that I went in for! That made me feel even better.
I grabbed the sushi, got in my car, took a picture of the sushi package and tweeted it to G with the message “Thinking of you!” and then drove home.
After nearly 30 seconds of staring at the empty Pop Tart package, I talked myself into believing that one of those little yayhoos stole my last bit of Pop Tart. I looked around for traces of dusty crumbs on their faces, but didn’t see any evidence to be able to accuse anyone. I didn’t want to announce to the class that some dirty dog took my tart. They didn’t need any distraction. So after class I posted it on Facebook.
I thought it highly important that the world know that in this instance I was a victim. There was no possible way that I ate the other half of that Pop Tart. No way that I would have eaten it without remembering. No way.