Usually I pride myself on my memory. I can remember details that would make your head spin. Well, not really, but I can tell you exactly what I wore on my first day of high school, what I had to eat the night my parents gave our (first) dog away, or what kind of shoes my first grade teacher wore. But I also remember important things, like dates. I rarely need reminders, even for appointments made months in advance.
But lately, damn. Lately I can’t remember anything, especially the important stuff. I begin emails and get distracted with something and then I begin the email again, and sometimes again. It’s not at all rare for me to have more than a dozen windows open on my desktop at a time. Nor is it rare for me to begin a thought and then forget where that thought was taking me. It’s very frustrating, and, unfortunately, it’s not something I noticed until fairly recently. My ability to retain information, especially my short term memory, has been fading. I don’t know when the process began. What I do know is that I’ve started to feel like a total failure—even though I know I’m not. My performance at work is lacking, I’m not writing nearly enough, and I can’t remember when I’m supposed to be where.
It’s no fun, this thing that’s happening to me. I feel, sometimes, like I’m losing my mind. I know my situation isn’t dire, and I’ve read enough to know that this is all fixable. A few months from now I’ll be sleeping well, I’ll be rested, and I’ll have my energy and my memory back. I’ll be myself again.
I can’t wait.
Google sleep apnea and you’ll see that my situation isn’t unusual. I won’t quote statistics because I can’t remember them, but I can say that this is a very common thing. One of the things I’ve learned is that the reason I forget things sometimes is because my brain falls asleep while I’m trying to stay awake and do important things. This really is a good excuse for my behavior. I can, quite honestly, tell someone that I don’t remember part of a conversation because my brain crashed temporarily.
I blame my brain’s failings for a lot of things lately.
My first sleep study begins in a few short hours. I check in at eight pm and have only a slight sense of what to expect. I’ll be wired up; I know that. I know that I’ll be sleeping in one of those Sleep Number adjustable beds, which is a tiny bit exciting because I’ve seen them on TV and have always wondered how they work and if they’re really comfortable. More than anything I know that there’s a lot riding on this—at least I feel like there is. I worry that it’ll be the first of a long series of tests. I worry that I won’t be as easy to diagnose as we all thought. I worry that I’ll continue to drop the ball at work. I worry that I won’t have my mind back for quite some time. I worry that I’ll get worse, that my life will get worse.
With all this worry, and now all the caffeine I’ve poured into my system while writing this, I worry I won’t sleep tonight.
More than anything, I’m looking forward to normalcy. My hope is that this all going to work out. I hope I’ll be my Self again. I hope I’ll have more energy and that I’ll be able to expend that energy in some very positive ways. I won’t mess up at work so much. I’ll get more things done around the house. I’ll write more. I’ll walk and hike more. And, if I’m lucky, I’ll sleep more and I’ll breathe more.