forgetting to remember

by tinglyfeeling on November 1, 2009

My sister forgot our mom’s recent birthday. As I’ve mentioned here before, my older sister also has MS. But while she’s never been a champ at remembering birthdays and anniversaries—especially in the last few years—she’s never totally blown one, either. She might be late by a day or two, but she usually realizes she forgot (or talks to me before the date so I can conveniently drop a hint).

I’ve lectured her before (I can be preachy) on the importance of writing things down or setting electronic reminders and alerts for herself if she knows she has a hard time keeping track of important dates, but my nagging doesn’t seem to have any effect.

So this year, she spaces our mom’s birthday and can’t really explain why.  My mom, understandably hurt, described it as “a new low.” And then we both wondered if she forgot because of her MS. Then I sent my sister an email telling her she might want to call Mom.

So is it her MS that makes my sister blow off birthdays and anniversaries? It must be, right? Because it seems like this is more than mere forgetfulness. It’s like she doesn’t even think to remember. And while she’s certainly been accused of being thoughtless before (perhaps in this very blog), I don’t know whether that’s entirely fair.

I’m easily distracted at home and at work, and whether my own Short Attention Span Theater is MS related or not (I used to just blame the Internet), I know I have to write things down if I’m going to have any hope of remembering them. Without lists, I’d never get anything done—plus, I really like crossing things off. But, sometimes, I forget to do everything on the list and by then it’s time to make a new one….

Anyway, this all makes me wonder: Can the cognitive loss caused by MS really get so bad that you forget that you have something you’re supposed to remember? What good are lists and reminders if you don’t even know you need them? Is this where we’re all headed eventually? Will I someday forget to remember? Do these questions even matter if we’re all different and who’s to say what will happen anyway?

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  • dianejstandiford

    LOL Good thoughts to ponder! What I fear most from my MS is losing my memory. I love to remember events and occasions. Always been fun for me. Could it be her MS? maybe. MS can be an excuse too, that must be fought by the MSer—leads to giving in and self-profilling prophesey. (And poor spelling! :)

  • greenandchic

    I wonder that too. Before I went on disability, I was having a hard time keeping up with work. If I went back now, I dont think I can do the job anymore – I would need to be retrained. I have a very good long-term memory, but my short term memory is horrible. I use my Blackberry to remember certain dates, appointments, birthdays, etc.

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