Saturday, May 16, 2009

Brain Scrammblage

I think I may need to see a neurologist. I have had two very frightening episodes of mental confusion in the past two days. I always have a sort of normal muddle-headedness and "too-much-on-my-mind" confusion, but this has been different. Yesterday, at the going-away party my supervisor threw for those of us who are leaving the department, I told my friend Melanie that I had had plans to drive with the Russian to deliver a car to a woman in Charleston, South Carolina, this past week. Oleg and I would have left Wednesday and then flown back today (Saturday). Melanie asked why I didn't go, and I couldn't remember--at all. Oleg went, but on Tuesday I decided to stay. That's all I could remember. I even lost a non-refundable plane ticket back from Charleston, so it wasn't as if I'd decided to not go to the post office or to not do laundry. Still, I could not remember WHY I decided not to go.

After Melanie asked the question, I paused for a really long time; I was frantically scanning, trying to recall what I had been thinking on Tuesday, what I told Oleg, but it was GONE--I had NO idea, I was completely blank. I idiotically said, "I don't remember." I was embarrassed. Then, this morning, it hit me that I didn't go because my department chair emailed Monday to say that she was planning our going-away party for Friday: if I had gone to SC, I would not have been able to attend the going-away party--the party that I was AT when Melanie asked me why I wasn't in Charleston.

Worse, today, I actually got LOST returning from a grocery store located a quarter mile from our house. This is a small, small town. I was not trying a new route--there is no other route--but merely driving the same four roads that I have travelled, how many? 6,000 times or something. Suddenly I didn't know where I was or where I was supposed to go next. I couldn't tell if I was on my own street or north of my house, or whether I had passed the alley or not yet reached it. The houses seemed familiar, which is good, since I drive that stretch of street EVERY DAY on the way to campus, but still I had no idea where I was in relation to my own house--I saw bunch of things that I "knew" but none of them made sense in relation to each other--I couldn't map anything. It took me another block and a couple turns to figure out that I had been one block past and one up from where I live. This is like walking out of your bathroom and realizing you don't remember how to get to your bedroom.

Before I figured out where I was, I got so scared my hands went numb. I thought, what do I do? should I pull over and wait a few minutes or just keep driving until something makes sense? I was ONE block from my f'ing house. I felt nauseated. Panic attack? stroke? brain tumor? residual effects of alien abduction? onset of acute stupidity? overdramatization of normal reaction to stress?


Eric said...

In my opinion, it's nothing so dramatic, my friend. We are, all of us, fragile creatures, easily confused by the smallest of departures from the routine. The stripe o' thing that happened to you could have happened to anyone, though not just anyone could have related the resulting experiences as well as you did.

ame said...

Thanks, Eric! Really, part of what was so unsettling about getting lost on the way home from the store was that the event was routine. Like standing in front of the mirror and failing to remember on which side you part your hair. If you in fact do part your hair.