My cognitive issues, part one (because I have so many)
Wow, George, when we decided this thread was a good idea, I didn't realize my first post would be on or after page 3! I have a lot to say, so here goes:
Caveats: this is what I remember. For obvious reasons what I remember is limited. I am a very long term patient - diagnosed in 89, sick constantly since 85, possibly caused in 68 by measles encephalitis - I was 7.
Memory: Like George I have very little visual memory. I call this episodic memory, after episodes or events. I don't remember them. I remember ideas: this is semantic memory. It is the last thing to decline in very severe cognitive crashes - I lose speech before semantic memory. I remember the idea of an event, and I can (usually) construct coherent sentences, so I can fake having a memory and most people don't seem to notice. Like George, I used to be able to remember lots. If you asked me what was the second sentence on para 2 on page 213 of a book I read once, I could have told you. Now it would be: have I read that book?
Words: I forget words. Sometimes I use a similar words ("replaceables" instead of "consumeables" for example, or the classic "library" instread of "bookshop" and vice versa
). Similarity can also be from sound not meaning, but I forget any examples.
Sentences: I forget what I was saying halfway through saying it, so I make up a different ending to my sentences. In writing, like on PR, I focus on what I am writing now and I can drift my focus - I am constantly surprised that I don't ramble ... oh, wait, maybe I just don't recall rambling.
I had to write two pages of notes before writing this post, and I will probably go back over it at least once before posting.This gives me tolerance when I read rambling or off-topic posts - I can hardly be mad at someone else for doing what I could so easily do!
Speech: I used to have very clear diction. Now my speech is slurred. When I am very tired (no sleep at all for two days or more, or only an hour a night for three days or so) I lose the power of speech. I understand what others are saying, I just can't talk. Prior to loss of speech, I find I can only mimic other's words. Whatever words they say, I can use, I can't come up with my own. So my vocab is limited to only the few dozen words I recall. At the end of one of these conversations, with my speech finally gone, I wound up making raspberry noises over the phone to my brother.
Numeracy: I have a classic example that I do recall, even though it was long ago - but only in outline. I was playing a tabletop wargame (ok, so I'm a geek!) when I had to assign a range of numbers to a dice roll. I should have said, 1,2 ... 3,4 ... 5,6. Instead I said .. 1,2, 2,3 .. ah, 2, 3 ... ahhhhh ... This is known by my friends as the day I couldn't count to three, although that is a slight misnomer.
Vision: During my Honours thesis defense, my vision tunnelled. I could only see what was directly in front of me, a spot too small to see a whole face. The rest of the room was gone. That is what stress can do to me. I also frequently have the problem, especially in the few hours before I need to sleep, that I can see fine (if my eyes aren't blurry) but I can't understand what I am seeing. Whatever it is I don't recognize.
As an anecdote to this, just the other night I saw a movie with Charlize Theron. She is on the very short list of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I don't recall the movie (damn!) but I do recall that I saw her name on the credits. For the entire movie I was thinking "Damn, she's attractive, who is she?" - I never recognized her. This has happened before, I just don't recall the details.
Conversations - this is a biggie, so I will write it then post, then write part 2.
I frequently can't handle conversations. There is nobody home to reply to what people are saying. Several years ago, and especially last Christmas, I realized that I had been employing a strategy to cope for decades, and never realized it. I rehearse conversations. When I am feeling ok, or waiting for my favourite TV show to start, or cooking, or something else, I rehearse conversations. I have thousands of bits of them in my head - these are ideas
, not events. When I am in a conversation, I respond with a blend of the most suitable rehearsed conversations, but as I get more tired I select them more poorly. Every now and again I pick a reply that is total nonsense. This is because I pick the most suitable reply if I can, but when I rehearsed it the circumstances, the actual situation, was different. If it was different enough, then my reply is gibberish. Some people look at me as if I am crazy at this point ...
By the way, the rehearsed conversation about my rehearsing conversations I have used several times in conversation to explain to friends. They still don't really understand why I can go from animated responses to wooden ones.
Now for part 2... I am going to have to take a break for a while, so I doubt I will post before page 5 if this thread continues to grow.