At Wal-Mart last week, I was helping my daughter find a box of hot chocolate mix (she doesn’t like the Keurig version). When I saw the boxes of Swiss Miss, I pointed out to her that she had options.
“Hey,” I said, “they even have the one you like, with all the little mushrooms.”
Pretty funny right? Except, I said “Marsh. Mellows.” I formed the sentence in my brain, all by myself. But somewhere between “think it” and “say it” the word changed. I heard it change, I knew what came out of my mouth. But by the time my ears had registered a formal complaint back to the brain, it was over.
If you go back 18 months, and this was a fairly common occurrence. I’d chalk it up to my mouth working faster than my brain, and move on. Folks around the office even got an occasional chuckle out of it. But now it’s back, and it’s happening much more routinely. And it brought a friend.
Over the past couple of weeks, getting people’s names out has become a real chore. Now, I’ve always been lousy with names (which is odd, given that I remember virtually EVERYTHING), but I’m not talking about forgetting the name of an acquaintance, or not being able to place an obscure character actor’s face on a TV show. I’m talking about sitting in my living room, staring at a family member, and having THAT name stuck on the tip of my tongue.
That, my friends, we’ll call disquieting.
At least I know what it is. Aphasia. And apparently, a pretty mild case. Reading up on it, I see that some sufferers can’t read, write or understand what they’re being told. It’s like everything around them is suddenly in Chinese, and everyone around them is speaking a pig-Latin version of Portuguese. Thank God that’s not what’s happening to me (far as I know).
Fact is, I don’t know. Not really.
I spent a year being poked, prodded, eltro-shocked and tested by Ivy League neurosurgeons and came away with “you’re diabetic and you have neuropathy.” No brain issues, no strokes. No obvious root cause for any of my various issues. I’ve long since stopped worrying about “cause” and have tried to remain nonchalant about “effect” – to the point where I stopped writing this blog. (In an ironic twist, I also stopped because I felt like this was too much about me.)
But now, when I can’t get my future son-in-law’s name out, and have to jokingly pass it off as “hey what’syouname” all the while inventing new forms of chocolate powder (and other crazy word substitutions I won’t share here), I am thinking it might be time to revisit the “why” I had more or less made peace with not knowing.
It’s most definitely a step backward. But at least I’m moving. Right?