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?