« The Moth | Main | Proof of Age »

Monday, 28 January 2013

No Class and Am I Crazy?!

By Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting

Friday mornings at 10:30, I take a cardio dance exercise class. This morning I was busy around the house when I suddenly realized it was 10:15 and should be on my way. I grabbed my coat, car keys and pocketbook and dashed out the door.

The gym is only one-and-a-quarter miles from my house. During the spring, summer and fall I ride my bike but it is too cold, wet and dreary most winter days. This morning it was raining.

Friday is the lightest gym attendance day of the week. It was easy to get a parking space and dash inside. Flashing my membership card at the desk attendant, I quickly walked to the exercise room. It was 10:32.

Nobody was there.

No instructor, no partners in sweat, nobody.

I immediately got this miserable feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is Friday, isn’t it? Is the class time 10:30? I was sure it was. Maybe the class is not on Friday. Or?

Assuming I had made a mistake, I walked slowly out to the reception desk and sheepishly asked the attendant if there was a cardio dance class this morning.

Would he think I was nuts? Would he look puzzled and say, no, it’s scheduled another time?

He pointed to the door. “It was cancelled today.” Sure enough, a sign on the door at eye level announced Friday’s Cardio Dance Class was cancelled due to illness. I was in such a hurry I missed it on the way in.

A sigh of relief.

I was not crazy.

I am not going crazy.

Of course I was concerned about the instructor. Was she ill? Was her daughter or husband ill? But honestly, I was relieved I was not going crazy.

Several years ago I would never have second-guessed myself. I would have presumed someone else made the mistake.

Fast forward and I am forgetful about where I place things, who called, appointments, names and the list goes on. I need a calendar to record appointments and events. If errors occur or problems arise, as it did this morning, I wonder if I messed up.

Nowadays I find that information I know I know is not on the tip of my tongue. I have to think about it. The data is there, stored in a file deep inside my brain and eventually I find and retrieve it.

But not always.

Probably just about every baby boomer and older adult who has known someone who has declined because of dementia worries about the worst kind of memory-related illnesses – especially Alzheimer’s. There are 77 million baby boomers.

Health experts predict 10 million will get Alzheimer’s. It reminds me of the talk the college dean gave on the first day of college. Look to the left, look to the right - only one of you will graduate. Which one will get Alzheimer’s?

The good news is most of us will not. We all have our senior moments and that is a normal part of the aging process.

A University of Colorado study found a small amount of physical exercise could protect the elderly from long-term memory loss usually associated with illness. The study was done on rats, but the experts insist this translates to human behavior.

So I will continue to exercise and hope for the best.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


liked your whimsical post. At one point, I thought you were going to say you had done what I did recently--showed up for a medical app. on Sunday, thinking it was Monday.I felt pretty stupid, but nobody saw me, so I don't have to tell it if I don't want to.

thanks to 12 yrs of catholic schooL training, I developed the good habit of writing it down..I also had a brainy Mom, but one that never got up with us in the morning or took note of our activities..Lately I do not write stuff down, rarely miss anything, but worry that I do forget to write it down..I work 3 days a week and notice lately if my days get switched, I am off my feed, so to speak, for a week...funny that we all still worry that someone else will notice..I too mix up Saturdays from Sundays..the down side of living alone I think..

Your story reminded me of a woman a few weeks back who showed up at a group power class just as we began doing the cool down exercises. She rushed in threw down her mat and joined in obviously thinking it was the beginning warm up. Only when everything stopped and we all started to gather our things to leave did she then realize what happened. I think we all knew it could have been any one of us.

Great article Meryl. I don't think it's old age that compromises my functionality. I think it's retirement. When I stay around the house for weeks or months I lose track of days and times. Whenever I take an assignment for a few weeks my awareness and alertness returns and I am sharp as a tack...until I return home and start goofing off again. I guess that means I better keep working.

I am so glad to see evidence of the tricks our aging brains play from others.I too over this holiday period when my usually busy schedule has been on hold have not been able to distinguish one day from the next and have slipped up on a number of occassions. However recently my husband, who suffers early dementia started picking up my errors. Oh, Dear.. so I purchased a small 'white board' that now hangs in the kitchen/family room and each night I write the following days date and any activities for iether of us. I say it is to help him to remember what he is doing and to know where I am if I am out.But Oh Boy it really helps me too... as long as I remember to write it up!

As the central processor of all our family functions, I learned along ago that I can't remember it all. My hubby set up all our smart phones to a Google calendar so now if one of us has a function, I put it on there and we all know about it. I don't consider myself a techie person, but this was truly a gift. so don't feel badly if you have to write things down. That's just the sign of a busy person!

The comments to this entry are closed.