Sep. 23rd, 2009

msf_staff: (Kasey)
In a teleconference she did for us way back when, our resident expert on managing cognition problems said that when technological or physical reminders fail you, you have to depend on "human reminder services," i.e. someone who will tell you when you've forgotten something important. Since I often forget to charge my pda or read notes that I leave myself, I rely on human reminder services quite a bit. In fact, most people on our staff know they have blanket permission to nag if they think I'm forgetting something.

This morning, however, my human reminder service was a police officer.

I was returning home after driving my youngest son to school (in my pajamas, of course, because that's when something like this is bound to happen), and a police officer instructed me to pull over. The conversation went like this:

Officer: Good morning, ma'am.
Me: Good morning. What seems to be the trouble, sir?
Officer: Are you aware you're driving on an expired tag?
Me: What?!? No I'm not!
Officer: Yes, ma'am. According to the computer you are.
Me: That's not right. I went down to the tag office myself a few weeks ago.
Officer: Can I see your new registration then, please?
Me: Sure, it's right here in the.... Oh. Oh, no!

You see, I remembered clearly visiting the tag office. I remembered clearly removing the sticker from the new registration and affixing it to the tag. What I did not remember was that the tag I affixed it to was attached to my husband's vehicle, not mine. I was recalling having renewed his tags in July, not mine in August as I thought.

I explained to the officer what had happened (without mentioning that I have mild cognitive dysfunction) and he said, "These kind of oversights happen." But was it an oversight? Or was it a function of my fibro-fog? (That's what we fibromyalgia people call our cognitive symptoms.) There's the conundrum. We never really know, do we? That's what makes it so irritating when 'normal' people say, "Oh, I forget things like that all the time!"

Frustrating as it is, I have to accept that I will never have an answer to that question. So I simply have to adapt. Cognitive symptom or oversight, I just need to make sure it doesn't happen again.

So I really don't mind the $10 ticket. If I hadn't been stopped, I never would've known my memory was playing tricks on me. And it gave me a reason to think about the way my husband and I divide these sorts of responsibilities and that perhaps it's time for me to turn over the more time-sensitive tasks to him. If I have a choice between my husband or a police officer for a human reminder service, I'll choose husband, thanks!

The MSF has some terrific info on coping with cognitive symptoms -- our own booklet, and several books in our free Lending Library. Check out our website to learn more. And our partners at the MS Technology Collaborative have launched cognition-building games at http://www.mymsmyway.com.

Meanwhile, you can make me feel better! Care to share a crazy cognition story of your own? (Remember, you can comment anonymously if you want or use openID to sign in from your own blog if you're not a member here.) Please, let me hear 'em!

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January 2013

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