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Sunday, January 27, 2008


It's been a fairly mild winter for us so far really. Some snow but not overly amounts of it. A few cold days but mostly not bad at all and downright "balmy" compared to some winter weather we've witnessed.

Holy smokes, we just went from +28F yesterday to -30 with wind chill this morning!!!

The wind is from the north (thanks Santa) at 20 mph and up. The snow is blowing around so much our sidewalks have completely disappeared.

We have to go out grocery shopping today. Maybe we should leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Nah, they'll be buried under swirling snow in minutes.

Speaking of "freeze", something happened to me at work last week that scared the pants off me. And depressed me. I almost went to my boss and said "you might as well just fire me now because my mind is suddenly going into the toilet."

Something that I've been doing for 10 years (10 YEARS!) and is a simple case of pushing the right buttons to clear our debit machines when cashing out a drawer ~~ suddenly I couldn't remember which buttons to push in the correct order. It's one of those things like typing, if you look you can't type properly, if you don't look, your fingers know exactly where to go. See what I mean?

Well suddenly my fingers forgot the order in which to push the assorted buttons on this Moneris machine, and it was the SECOND time in a week. I couldn't hit the correct buttons in the correct sequence and it kept beeping at me. Everyone was starting to look in my direction and I was embarassed, scared and ashamed. One of the girls had to finish it for me. I took my cash drawer and paperwork into the cashroom, closed the door, put my head in my hands and started sweating and shaking from fear.

I truly and completely had fear in the pit of my stomach.

I finished my cashout and all balanced as usual. I knew I had to go back out there, and I took a deep breath and decided the truth and being candid about it was my only option. The only one I had, really. So out I went. As I was visibly shaken up, the girls were watching me and wondering if I was okay.

So I told a couple of them, I was scared and something was wrong with me. I told them what happened. One of them, a lady my age, made me feel a bit better when she went to the machine and tried to show me the exact sequence so I could write it down. Well, when she slowed down and "looked" at what she was doing, SHE got confused too! Yep, just like typing! And another girl (sort of a supervisor) told me "Jude you have a really sharp mind, don't worry about it." So that also took the fear away a bit for me. One of the ladies found the manual for the machine and I wrote down the simple sequence so it would never happen to me again. We agreed that if we stop to "think" about it, it's hard to get right. The memory in my fingers betrayed me, and if it ever does again I'll have it in print! It turned out that what I was doing was hitting the first 2 buttons out of sequence.

I have noticed in the past year or two that maybe a couple times a month (and always in the afternoon) my mind will suddenly go "tired". Can't describe it any better than that, it gets "tired" and foggy. I'll forget things and make mistakes on the job, which is very disheartening and embarassing. Especially when it affects my team's performance, or affects a customer.

In talking about this a few weeks ago with that same co-worker who is my age, she told me that she'd been taking Ginko Biloba for quite awhile and it helps. (she's menopausal as well so she was having the same issues with "fog brain") I started taking it a few weeks ago, so I was REALLY upset when this happened with the button sequence, and I told her "and I've even been taking Ginko!!" to which she patted my hand and told me, "relax Jude, you need to take it for awhile THEN you'll notice a difference."

God I hope so.

I've always been sharp and organized on the job, although it's diminished on those "foggy" afternoons sometimes in the past while. This most recent incident blew my mind, in a very bad way.

When I was sitting with my head in my hands in the cashroom sweating, I actually thought I would have to find a job doing something I didn't have to think about, like stuffing envelopes.

I feel better about it now, I'm not as embarassed but still horrified. I really hope I see a difference in time with the Ginko. And I've always kept my mind sharp by doing things I really like: reading, crossword puzzles, online word games etc. Things that make you think. I think I have a fear of being senile or having dementia, and I didn't realize it until now. Wow.

I think most people over 40 (and maybe younger) have those incidents where you walk into a room and then forget what you went in there for. Those kinds of things we all laugh together about. What happened this time and what's been happening some days in between is different.

Part of aging and partly menopause yes. But I don't want it to get any worse.

Go Ginko, go!

And on that note, as I'm listening to the wind howl outside, I'm going to have my second cup of morning coffee, and wish you all a good week. Take good care of each other, and wish me luck!

Love Jude


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