“It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” observes the White Queen in Alice Through The Looking Glass. If you are reading this, then that is basically how your properly functioning memory works. Scanning methodically backwards searching for any recall you may have of Alice’s encounter with the White Queen.
Once cognitive symptoms begin to affect memory unpredictable things happen.
With a brief snow shower Friday afternoon I picked up Patti for a ride in the falling snow.
Suddenly, Patti surprised me by talking about her skiing days. Riding in the falling snow reminded her of riding to Ski Round Top. … I say this surprised me because those are long term memories, certainly longer than I have ever known her. Additionally Patti is rarely chatty any more, mental confusion symptoms challenge conversation. Yet oddly in recalling these longer term memories her ability to communicate was smoother.
With progression of her Multiple Sclerosis related memory symptoms it is more and more common for long term memory to kick in more vividly than shorter term which is a mess.
Another example is when her parents play Trivia Pursuit and involve Patti. She can be astounding at times recalling isolated “trivia” from long term memory. Yet she can not tell you where our daughter attends college today.
Malfunctioning memory is more than just baffling. Memory lapses or warps between present and distant past can easily place an unattended person at risk. Plus there is always the emotional aspect for family and friends of “lost” shared memories or even your own existence in another’s memory.
It is easy to get hampered by our “poor memories that only work backwards”. It takes understanding, creativity, and sometimes luck to work with progressing memory challenges.