Yesterday I had a new experience. I went to fill out a medical release form to have my records sent over to my next specialist, an LLMD (Lyme-Literate Doctor). The office isn’t far from where we live, and I didn’t feel like waiting for them to mail me the form (what doctor doesn’t have their medical release form online these days?!), so I drove to the office to do it in person.
I couldn’t fill out the form.
Not like, they wouldn’t let me…No. My brain was so fuzzy that I could not do it. It was so basic, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing that should have been confusing. But as I sat there in the waiting room, I read, then reread, then read again each line, trying to decipher what information I needed to list. I began to panic, because I sensed that I was taking way too long on a single-page form.
I felt my face getting hot. I took a few slow breaths to calm myself down. Getting flustered would only make this worse. This form was not worth having a panic attack over.
I stared at the form. It stared back at me.
I eventually filled it out, pleased that I had avoided a scene. I handed it to the receptionist, who (thankfully) checked over it before I left. Apparently, I’d put half-complete information in the incorrect spot. She patiently pulled out her pen and whiteout tape to correct my mistakes, asking me for the remaining information. (Why had I not even listed a phone or fax number for the office I wanted records sent to?) She also pointed out three places that I should have initialed, but didn’t.
People were lining up behind me to sign in or ask questions, and I became incredibly self-conscious. I was holding them up. I felt my face flush with embarrassment.
I quickly initialed and thanked the receptionist for her patience, then made a beeline for the door, trying not to make eye contact with the other patients who had witnessed the newest way my body was letting me down.
What the heck, body? What the heck?
Brain fog is a real thing. I know that tons of spoonies suffer from it in some form or another. I’ve read about several people who have had to give up driving, because they would forget where they were going or how to get back home. I know many spoonies bring spouses, parents, or friends with them to doctor’s appointments, because they can’t remember all of their own symptoms or questions they have for the doctor. Some even suffer from what appears to be early-onset dementia.
But these were things that happened to other people, not me. Until yesterday, I’d been able to look past my occasional inability to find the words that I wanted (despite the fact that I pride myself on being an excellent conversationalist), and my sporadic trailing off in the middle of sentences, completely losing my train of thought. I chalked it up to stress. Or forgetfulness. Or just plain coincidence. I often tell myself, in an effort to maintain perspective and not indulge hypochondriac tendencies, that not everything is a symptom.
After all, maybe it was just that I hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before. It was a stressful day. I had lots to do, lots on my mind. Maybe I just had a brain fart. Maybe the form really was confusing?
These are things that I tell myself, and these are things that I hope are true. It was just this one time, after all.
But what if I can’t attribute it to stress or lack of sleep? Maybe I’m in cognitive decline at the age of 25? How many forms do I have to stumble through, how many words do I need to forget, how much demonstrable confusion do I have to muddle through before a doctor takes me seriously? How many more symptoms, physical or mental, have to pop up before a doctor is able to piece them all together and put a name to this illness?
I pray that I will get answers soon. I hope for a diagnosis that will explain all of the weirdness. And I sincerely hope that I couldn’t fill out that form simply because I was tired.
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