Category Archives: Aging

You don’t need to have Covid in order to have brain fog…..

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted to this blog. The reason: brain fog. No, I haven’t had Covid. I quarantined for many months like everyone else. I got my vaccinations when available in March 2021. I wore a mask when I went grocery shopping. I did everything we were asked to do. So why do I have brain fog?

The simple answer (I think) is not doing much of anything. Months of solitude, no matter how many Zoom meetings I attended, Facebook posts I made, jigsaw puzzles I worked, new food dishes I tried, books I read, Internet rabbit holes I went down, the only time I could bring something enigmatic to mind was when I was supposed to be sleeping.

Laying awake at night when I couldn’t fall asleep, I could think of a thousand things to say, hundreds of mysteries to be solved, a bucket list to be proud of, but when I finally lifted my weary head off the pillow, my mind was a blank.

Mental machinations at night are just not the same as having an active mind during the day. The mind needs to be challenged. Even though everything I did during the day could be considered a learning experience, there is a difference between absorbing knowledge and having to think on your feet in something as simple as a conversation with friends.

Interpersonal relationships, I discovered, are what keep the mind sharp. A large part of a child’s development is having those interpersonal relationships which is why parents are so adamant about having their children back in school. I only needed to isolate myself for this past year to understand that. Interactions with other people, with what they say and what they do, are what challenge the mind and keep it sharp. They force one to think on their feet, to react at a moment’s notice, to make life and death decisions. Reading books or surfing the Internet fills a mind with information, but without a way to use it, the mind dies a slow death.

As I again find myself visiting with friends, volunteering, meeting and conversing with other people, I find my brain springing back to life. It’s not nearly where it was pre-Covid, but it’s a lot better than it’s been for the past year and a half. As proof, I was finally able to sit down and type out a blog post. I finally had something to say that will hopefully help others if they start to experience brain fog without having Covid.

Growing Old Is Not For The Faint of Heart

growing-old-is-not-for-the-faint-of-heartAs I sat waiting for the eye doctor to see me up at Casey Eye Clinic today, I couldn’t help but ponder the aging process. I was there because of a severe case of chronic dry eye disease which many people suffer from as they age, women more than men.  I determined that growing old is not for the faint of heart.

Thinking of myself, my friends and my family who are all about the same age, those still with me and those that have passed, I began to think of the multitude of afflictions that they have had to contend with — afflictions that would certainly make lesser people whine and complain, but which everyone has suffered with grace and dignity.  Cataracts, arthritis, hip and knee replacements, painful falls, and so many other age-related problems are just another day on the ranch for the aging.

Nobody wants to admit to getting older. We go along merrily feeling pretty good after we begin collecting social security. Then one day there’s a pain we never felt before. Pretty soon there are more aches and pains and a few trips to the doctor. Then you start turning up the volume on the TV set and during a conversation you constantly ask someone to repeat what they just said. Little by little the signs of old age creep into our lives like it or not. We begin to start worrying if our heart will stop beating during the night, and if it doesn’t, we wonder what ailment will befall us when we do get out of bed.

For someone that never went to a doctor, never had even a toothache, the ever more frequent trips for medical attention are a clear indication that I’m not as young as I used to be. But somehow, I still can’t admit to getting old. After all, my mind is still only 40 — not younger, not older. Forty was a very good age.  Yet, with every ache and pain I feel somewhere on a daily basis, I’m not foolish enough to believe that I’m not growing old. All I have to do is look in the mirror, and that’s enough to scare me back into reality.

You may find that old people talk a lot about their afflictions. They aren’t complaining. It’s just that there are so many of them that it dominates a conversation when you ask, “How are you?” They are discussed very matter-of-factly like going to the grocery store. After all, aging — warts and all — is a simple fact of life. It doesn’t really help to complain. We have to take it in stride no matter how much it hurts.