Years ago, early into my disease process, I went through two very painful days of cognitive testing. I was never genius level, but I was smart, and I had a terrific memory, especially for numbers. I could feel when it changed, the lapses in memory, short term, and knew it was affecting my job performance. That was when I sought help, and ended up in testing.
At my recent visit to the MS Clinic, the Occupational Therapist did a short test of my cognition and memory. It's a painful process...when you fail, though there is no real pass or fail, more like you remember or you don't.
I couldn't repeat the five words she gave me without repetition, and after a delay, not without prompts. There was a test for sequences and patterns. 1 to A, then what follows? Of course, it was 2 to B and then 3 to C and so on. It took me a few minutes to get it going, not a good start.
What really surprised me was the clock. She gave me a circle and told me to put the numbers on it. Easy-peasy, I thought, and did it right. Then she said "Put the hands on the clock at ten after eleven."
I did ten to two. I couldn't believe it. I know how to tell time, not all my watches are digital. But the brain is a strange and wonderful thing.
The rest of the tests were simple, at least I didn't struggle or make any big mistakes. Still, those lapses are enough to give you a moment of consideration. Have I made mistakes I'm not aware of, what have I forgotten that might have been important?
When you've been smart, held a responsible job, successfully, it's a hard thing to accept.
What's that old saying...A mind is a terrible thing to waste. That's exactly how I feel.