I’m sure you know the feeling.
You begin to notice that you’re making tiny little mistakes that you’ve never made before. You can’t find easy words or phrases. You get out to your car, sit down, and realize you don’t have your keys. You can’t remember which light switch goes to which light. The list goes on and on.
I’ve heard of “COVID Brain” from people who got the ailment in the early days of the pandemic. It seems to range in severity, but most of what I’ve seen is anecdotal. So I googled “Is COVID Brain a thing?” and discovered an article on that always-100%-accurate site Web MD that said 1 in 7 people who get COVID have brain-related symptoms. Then I saw similar information on sites for Johns Hopkins and Cedars-Sinai, so it’s real. Reading through the information from multiple sources, I came up with a clear diagnosis.
I don’t have the “brain fog” associated with COVID. I’m just approaching 40 and am naturally forgetful.
Having COVID is not how I planned to spend my last days in my thirties. I was planning on a soft reboot at 40, trying a bunch of new things and attempting to drop 20 (or 50 or 10) pounds. So, I figured I’d live up 39 for a bit.
Well, I napped a lot this week. That’s a thing I did.
Because I was able to slow down and didn’t have to focus on a million things every day this week, I noticed some memory lapses.
For example, the microwave in the kitchen is the same one we’ve had for several years now. The “Clear/Stop” button is in a very different position than the “Add 30 Seconds” button. Neither button has moved. As far as I can tell, the buttons are not some fancy nano-technology adaptive touch screen like on Star Trek.
Then why, all week, have I hit the “Clear/Stop” button when I mean to hit the “Add 30 Seconds” button?
I put something in the microwave that just needs a quick reheat, press the “Clear/Stop” button, turn around, realize nothing’s happening, and then hit the “Add 30 Seconds” button.
I caught myself doing it when I wanted to select three minutes! The “Three” button is no where near the “Clear/Stop” button!
When I tried to tell Joy about it, I suddenly forgot the word for “microwave.”
I said, “I keep hitting the wrong button on the…the…um…the thing! The thing here. This thing. The thing that goes wrrrrrrrrrrr and makes stuff hot!”
“The microwave?” she asked.
This isn’t the only time a simple word has vanished from my brain. It’s like a selective delete happens whenever I’m trying to have a conversation. And it’s never something really complex or technical. Nope. Just a simple, everyday word, and usually something that I’m looking right at. I can see it. I know I know the word. I can’t say the word, though.
And then, in the middle of the week, one of Joy’s friends sent her a get-well flower thing from a local florist.
(Yes, I actually forgot the word “arrangement” and typed “flower thing,” but I’m going with it now.)
The delivery driver pushed the Ring doorbell that I installed so I didn’t have to talk to people when I didn’t look remotely presentable. All I have to do is talk to them through my phone. Super easy.
I opened the door in my pajama bottoms and tattered T-shirt, wearing a half-zipped hoodie and slippers, hair askew and glasses fogging from the mask I hastily strapped to my face, and told the person through the closed storm door to just put it on the porch and I’ll come out and get it so I don’t expose her to COVID.
“Oh,” she said. “Okay. Well, you know, I just figured you’d talk to me through the Ring doorbell, so I was just saying that I would do that when you opened the door.”
At least SOMEONE knows how my Ring doorbell works!
Again, I want to blame COVID. It’s kept me out of work for a week, so could it account for the brain fog I’m living in?
Nope. That’s just Andy being Andy.
Now excuse me while I flip every light switch in my kitchen until I find the light I want.
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