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I Can’t Remember Anything! Middle Age Memory Problems

Middle age memory problems hit my mother early. It happened daily, and I really thought there was something wrong with her—like seriously wrong.

I remember it clearly. My mother raced up the stairs as if she were an Olympian competing for gold. I heard her land on the top step, and then—nothing. A few seconds later, she descended the stairs, empty-handed, scratching her head.

I didn’t know that she suffered from CRS, and that someday I, too, would fall ill to it, the dreaded Progressive CRS (Can’t Remember Sh$%) Disease.

The Stages of CRS:

Noun Invasion

This is the beginning. The kids were little, sleep had pretty much gone by the wayside, and random nouns cluttered my brain. I wanted to scream for Laine, but for some reason, I had to call her Zach and Ethan first. It made me wonder if I should have just named all of them Zach. And it’s not just names, it’s everything—places, objects. They all seemed to have several “pre” names now, the ones that come before my brain can grasp the real one. Ugh.

Thought Interruption

This stage started with a fully-formed thought that spurred an immediate action, followed quickly by disappearance of the entire thought.

For example: I have to pick a child up in about an hour, so I should return the shoes I bought at Target on my way to get her. I don’t want to forget to do the return, so I better get it from upstairs right now and put it in the car. Between that thought and walking toward the package, there were about six more thoughts—and by the time I got to the stairs, it was unclear why I was there at all.

This phase lasted for a few years, and while it was annoying and exhausting (one run up the stairs eventually turns into two runs up and down the stairs, both of which left me baffled and empty-handed), it was a picnic compared to the stage to come.

Noun E-vasion

Husband: “We should rent that movie we’ve been wanting to see—I think it’s available on demand now.”
Me: “Great. Which one?”
Husband: “You know, the one with the actor we like. He’s married to the actress your dad likes.”
Me: *silence*
Husband: “Why are you looking at me like that?”
I wonder if he knows my name.

Movie Repeats

Ah, we have arrived. Kids have their own plans. Cue up the movie and munch on the popcorn, all in the newfound quiet of our own home. About 25 minutes into the movie, I look at my husband and say, “Wait, didn’t we see this one?” Yes, we did. He is as surprised as I am.

Mid-Sentence Topic Drop

Chatting away, hands motioning, I am telling the funniest story. And then—nothing. Absolutely nothing.
“I have no idea where I was going with this story.”
Friend tries to cue me: “Vacation, beach, book, sand.”
I stare back, blankly.
I feel like I am on the 1970s game show, Password. And not doing well at it.
“I’ve got nothing,” I reply.

MCCRS (Mid-Career CRS)

Print deadline approaching for Your Teen. Didn’t I just write an All About Me?
Oh! I have a great topic for this one.

Wait, what was the topic?

Stephanie Schaeffer Silverman is publisher of Your Teen Magazine.

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