By Mileva Anastasiadou
“I saw the doctor today,” I told my son over the phone.
“You haven’t mentioned anything was wrong.”
The first time I noticed something went wrong was several months ago at the local market. I realized after arriving home, that I had forgotten most of the items I had intended to get. The first time I admitted it to someone was two hours ago. My memory assessment was worse than I had expected. It was worse than doctor had expected, considering his frown before implying the diagnosis.
“How are you doing?” I asked in an attempt to delay my confession.
“Lisa got fired.”
Doctors can be inconsiderate. He advised me to tell my son. He naturally assumed we keep in touch. My son lives so far away though that we barely speak on the phone. I raised him that way, to grow wings and fly away from the parental nest. I surely don’t regret it.
“How do you manage?”
“Things are tough, but we get by.”
The doctor insisted, claiming I will probably need help in the future. He naturally supposed that my son can help. He barely makes ends meet. Taking care of his old father would be a great burden. I can see the doctor’s point of view. He lives in a different world, in a protected environment, where everything is fine and money is never the problem. To him, I’m just another case of dementia.
“Do you need money? I have some in the bank for a case of need.”
“We will tell you if we need something. Thanks, Dad. So, what did the doctor say?”
Money has always been the problem. That’s how it goes. It’s not only me suffering from dementia. The whole humankind suffers as well. People keep records of human history, to learn from the past. Inevitably people forget. They read and read and then they forget again. They willingly forget sometimes.
“Not much. All is fine.”
“Great news. Your grandson is doing great at school, by the way.”
For a while, my mind goes blank and fails to form a picture of my grandson. I can’t even remember his name. I search for it but can’t find it, not even in the most distant corners of my brain.
The body decays, but the soul is supposed to flourish with time. I feel as if my soul gets emptier by the minute. I can’t allow leaving this world with an empty soul. I have to go now, before I forget how it can be done. They will be sad, but they will move on. Come to think of it, that’s a good thing after all; people willingly forget if necessary. Human memory is supposed to stay in the realms of will.
It’s Tim. My grandson’s name is Tim. I have to leave before I forget it again.
Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist, living and working in Athens, Greece. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in more than two dozen publications (Ofi press magazine, Infective Ink, Molotov Cocktail, Foliate Oak, Maudlin house, Menacing Hedge, Blood and Thunder:Musings on the Art of Medicine, Jellyfish Review among others). For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/milevaanastasiadou/.