Memory Challenge

Many ‘brainiacs’ have made up ‘games’ to strengthen your memory (especially for us ‘older’ generation hippies.  I’m not ready to shell out money to do what I can with a variety of computer games that are basically the same as the paid for brain tests.

Having a stroke last year left me with the ability to walk/talk and chew gum at the same time, but took away my most cherished thing; words!  Being a writer all my life, I have prided myself on the ability to write and speak quickly of a subject I know or knew.  Simple little things that are shocking since the stroke are remembering the name of a bird I see all the time in my back yard.  ‘Starlings’ were the birds I first learned that there was something badly missing from my gray matter.  

 Repeatedly I had to ask my husband, “What is that bird called again”?  It wasn’t until he realized I was having a  problem that he would tell me without making a joke of my missing brain cells.  

When I really realized I was in trouble was with the games I frequently played on FB.  Where my scores were in the thousands prior to the stroke, I was struggling to get to the hundreds, after the fact.  

Off to the doctor to ask … “what in the world is wrong with me, and how do I either fix it or relearn”?

His amazing answer was, “Keep playing your computer games”.  

That has helped me ten fold in recognition of objects, but hasn’t helped with the words.  And for a writer, this has been a struggle.  And trying to talk to someone in a regular conversation I find myself struggling quite hard to get out the word I am looking for.  Now I have to give someone a whole sentence to explain the word I’m looking for…”you know what I mean….you know that black thing you put your bike on, on top of your car..what is the name of it”?  (Just to name a few perplexing times I have to fight for a word).

 I have a friend who is a nurse who has repeatedly told me I need to see a speech therapist to get back to my old self.  Of course I haven’t gone that route as I feel I can conquer this problem by myself.

Actually it’s easy to physically write.  If I lose a word I just Google a sentence that can bring up what I’m looking for, like; “what is the name of the thing you put on your car to carry a bike”?…Then automatically I have the answer.  But I feel that is cheating somehow, because I  haven’t really thought of it myself.  And the other times when I can’t think of a word to replace a simple word, I jump to my computer’s ‘thesaurus’ and there they all are.  Still cheating in my mind.  I’m cheating myself of re-training my brain to be as quick as it was just a year ago.

 The doctor says the more I work at it, it will slowly come back.  But of course I am reminded of the saying “Lord give me patience.  Give it to me right now”.

At least my mind still remembers where the keys are on the keyboard so I can type as fast as I always have.  How does that correlate?

Only one good thing has come from this stroke.  I can watch movies my husband says we just watched last year, and they are all new to me.  Now that I can live with. 


A picture to remember the Starling whose name still escapes me.


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