The place to come to wag more and bark less...

Friday, June 29, 2012

What's In a Name?

Why It's A Dog's Life? Because I like to sleep all day? Chase mice or rabbits? Snack on a decaying animal carcass or roll in another dog's poop? No, as a matter of fact I don't do any of those things. While they are all admirable activities indeed, they are unrelated to this blog's title.

Dogs, it's said, live in the moment. So do I. Memory impaired people often do. Without a memory of what's happening - or of what's going to happen - I'm suddenly at the whim of others who do know. Or else I become a slave to my day planner, uttering the robotic mantra Must... Not... Forget... Important... Thing... as I gaze into it. It's true.

People who don't know me often ask "Don't you remember this or that?" "No, as a matter of fact, I don't," I respond, looking to my planner once more. Even with my planner I'm still sometimes lost because I forget to enter things into it and they become lost forever.

That's where Sophie the Dog comes in. No, she doesn't remind me to do things. But she does remind me that another being - albeit a dog - lives with a memory that's on a par with my own. And she's just fine with it. Except for eating and sleeping, Sophie has little else to remember. Even better, Sophie never expects me to remember anything, and she could care less about my being in charge. It's a safe situation, one of mutual trust that works for both of us.

Here's an example: Today is Sophie's bath day. She can't stand getting a bath, and I hate giving her one. It stinks for us both. But tonight, hours after she's been bathed, we'll both have forgotten all about it. It's a perfect arrangement. And it's a great lesson, too.

Just as Sophie and I connect, I must also connect with other people. Just as I feed Sophie, I in turn, need to be figuratively fed by others. As such, memory impairment is, indeed, a dog's life. Dogs - and their humorous habits - lighten up an otherwise onerous scenario. With a little effort, I'll relate as well to the world as I do with Sophie.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Brief Reintroduction To This Blog

In August of 2010 I began this blog to chronicle my life with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Six weeks later, after only making four or five entries, I'd completely forgotten it existed.

Today, almost two years later, I accidentally found it, and have just read it once again. This blog, I realize, is not about TBI, but Memory Impairment. That is the reason why - like so many other things in my life - this blog suddenly ceased to exist for me for so long in the first place. It is also the reason why I've chosen chronic memory loss as the subject of this blog.

Anyone dealing with memory loss for any reason - not just TBI - is most welcome here. Those who know us or live with us are also most welcome here, as our memory impairment is a daily albeit different challenge for them, too. No one is excluded.

I write my experiences within this blog in the first person. Maybe your experiences are like mine, maybe not. Either way, all comments are invited. Your shared experience may not only teach us something new, but it could be a healthy release for you, too.

My own inability to remember things is not selective. If I can completely forget having written a month's worth of blog entries and not realize it for nearly two years, then anything can be forgotten. The only question is when? How can I accept this limitation, and to what extent will I ever be able to function again?

Everyone asks that at some point; no one is exempt. For me, the answer lies in perspective. I see my memory loss as only a daily challenge, not a daily burden. There's a difference. My more positive focus upon memory loss has not only made it unimaginably healing, but even fun too. Since it's my reality anyway, why shouldn't I make it fun? That choice is ours and ours alone; I choose fun and I hope you will, too.