Tuesday, 29 July 2014

#14 Cognitive Testing

I used to have such a good memory, especially for numbers. The doctors at work, in Toronto, before memory became an issue, used to marvel that I knew all the patients and their histories, and could rhyme off the results of their blood tests without having to refer to the chart. I was detail oriented, I was caring, and I was supportive of the patients, their families and my staff.

I was respected and I was capable, but after all the stress of the move and the new job, I was no longer any of those things. When I left my job under these negative circumstances, I felt I had nothing, was nothing.

The cognitive testing at St. Mike’s Department of Psychology was one of the most painful experiences of my life. The tests are varied, looking at memory, concentration and attention. I could give you all the names and specifics but…not necessary. As we went from one test to another I knew I was failing, though these were not exactly a pass or fail kind of test. But I understood, as we completed the two days of testing, that I had some severe problems. When I met with the psychologist at the end, I broke down and cried, knowing my life was never going to be the same.

I had lost the one thing I had always prided myself on, my intellectual functioning. I was no longer the smart girl.

The end result was I had a specific impairment of my short-term working memory. This was a specific, and I quote the report, neuropsychological impairment with serious implications for her ability to successfully fulfill her duties at work.

It was suggested that I would qualify for long term disability. After that, what other choice did I have, my 30 year career as a nurse was over.

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