She say, “Momma, I got to go, gotta get outta here
I gotta get out of town, I’m tired of hanging around
I gotta roll on
Between the ditches”
Rodney Crowell, Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight
This post was written last week, before I left San Miguel on the 21st. I’ll write about the trip north and the last few days in San Miguel in the next post. I’ll have to rename the blog to reflect new realities or come up with a new blog for whatever follows.
The other day I saw a man wearing an Avaya t-shirt. I once did a project for that company. Then, that night, in episodic deja re-vue I saw a show on PBS that was a thinly veiled commercial for Genentech, a company for which I once worked. The PBS show was about current research and medications for Alzheimer’s disease and the show was both promising and disheartening at the same time. It dug into the basis for genetic predisposition for the disease and the ways in which proteins, those pesky components of just about everything, go awry in the brain and the hope is that if treatment can begin before those proteins start their nasty tricks, the disease might be avoided in those who are likely destined to suffer from it.
One segment showed a woman having her memory tested, and I thought at least one question might have been unfair. She was asked:
- What was the day’s date
- She was given a series of three unrelated letters and asked to remember them for future use
- Then she was asked to spell “world” backwards
- Then she was asked to give the three unrelated letters
Now, for those of us who are retired and for whom most days are the same, the date could be a tricky question. I often don’t know the date, but do know the day of the week. You might argue, well she had to know the date because she had to keep her appointment, but if her son or daughter called and said “Mom, remember, you’ve got the doctor’s appointment on Thursday” well, who cares whether Thursday is the third of the month or the fifth or the twenty-fifth?
The next questions I felt were valid and while I could spell “world” backwards, that act totally blew away the three letters—which I thought I had permanently imprinted.
Could I have done that task five or ten or more years ago? I’m not certain. I’ve always been a last-in type of memory person and by afternoon couldn’t tell you what had happened in the morning.
The Nova show was titled Can Alzheimer’s Be Stopped?
Weather Report – Mysterious Traveler
It’s been warm enough that I’ve opened windows I hadn’t opened since the first summer I was in the casita. At night I’ve had to use the overhead fans as it’s been difficult to fall asleep, but that’s set up the “too hot and too cold” problem of putting covers on and taking them off, putting pajamas on and taking them off, and it’s just not been an easy week to sleep.
Packing is adding to the distress, as I’m trying to take as much as I can without causing any of the bags to go over 23 kilos. Packing would be easier if it were easier to give or throw things away. It’s difficult to overcome the childhood lesson of one doesn’t throw something away that one has purchased, that works, and that isn’t worn out (learned from depression-era parents). The weight limitation is complicated because this is a household move, not just a vacation-visit type trip: so, I’ve packed things I wouldn’t take on a typical trip north: curling iron, electric hair curlers, winter clothes, shoes and boots, and vitamin/mineral supplements.
Then there’s the dread of the physical journey itself: taxis and buses and transfers and clearing customs in the U.S., then schlepping everything in the John Wayne airport and going through security a second time using different criteria than that in Mexico City. So, despite my precautions to prevent further second-guessing myself, I’m doing it anyway. It would be so much easier to sleep late that travel morning.