Monday, September 17, 2007

my diseased brain

According to the doctor, I'm not brainless. Not yet, anyway. The neuropsychological testing, that eight hours of torture so casually referred to as a mental status exam, turned up no evidence of encroaching dementia or a sinister, looming pre-alzheimer's state.

The neurologist is a raving right winger who used the immense disparity of our political views as an assessment tool in our first meeting. He started by saying "it all looks pretty good," then said "here, I'll read you this from the status exam."

The subject is functioning in the __________ to _________ range of intellectual abilities and it appears that her distress about reduced mental functioning is groundless, though the fact that she is a far left wing liberal is of grave concern.

That was pretty cute. We both laughed. Then he said that the MRI "looks good, with mild white matter disease." What the fuck? "Looks good" does not, in my book, go together with anything ending in "disease."

Allegedly, it's pretty common and usually causes no problems, but having seen my father's brain at 85, speckled with white patches and marked by frontal lobe shrinkage, it's disturbing.

My white stuff is in the center of the brain. Can't remember enough about brain functioning (see? that's what I mean, can't remember much of anything) to remember what that controls, but I wonder if it isn't language and inhibitions and that sort of thing. I'm seized with an urge to shout "oh FUCK it! those stupid @#$!@#%#% bastards!!" on a fairly regular basis these days. But I do read a lot of political news, which may be a mitigating factor.

So there it is. I don't function as well as I once did (*sniff*), but that's typical as we age. Or so he says. I have white stuff in my brain from tiny exploding capillaries and whether I have enough gray stuff to outlast the white, I guess we'll find out in 25-30 years. My father was smart enough that he had to lose a big chunk of brain before it was clear something was wrong. I am, alas, not as smart as my brilliant daddy.

So lots of cardio for me ~ one of the few things that seems to act as a preventive for dementia ~ and good vitamins. I think I'll add a little niacin and some of the brain nutrients. Puzzles like sudoku are supposed to help but I despise puzzles.

Time marches on and though I'm happy being fif-fif-fif-fifty, I don't like much about this brain crap and I hate the sound of "white matter disease." Coupled with the occasional burst of pain I feel running on the elliptical, I'm thinking today it kind of sucks to be old.

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Anonymous Mark H said...

Hey.........I'll HAVE NONE of that! You are doing the right thing, beginning some nutrient additions, etc etc...but TRUE, get rid of all the stress you can if you have no control over it. I know ONE thing. Turning Fif-fif-fifty was younger than turning 60....and it even took as long to get to my last day here as it took to GET to 60, I don't have the TIME to lose myself in the mud only so far as do what I can, and YOU are doing that. I am FINALLY learning to quit worrying about what I can't fix. I KNOW you don't need any advice. You are a fabulous inspiration to a growing group, and do NOT think you're not making a difference. Take cheer in that....SERIOUSLY ! ! Regards,

September 17, 2007 6:53 PM  
Blogger LSL said...

I knew you were sharp as a tack! Fifty and fabulous!

September 17, 2007 9:52 PM  
Anonymous tater said...

You know I'm right there with you. I think my white matter is probably at the same stage your's is. I just want you to realize that you are brilliant, and have so much more in reserve than I, that I will be a doddering fool long before you, despite our age difference.

September 18, 2007 9:47 AM  
Blogger David Dust said...

First of all - stay away from puzzles - they are evil.

Second - thanks for the comments on my blog. It is much appreciated.

September 18, 2007 9:51 AM  
Blogger Dusty said...

Damn girl..its HELL to get old ain't it?

September 18, 2007 11:57 AM  
Blogger David said...

I think you're doing just fine, you big baby. Just keep up with what you're doing and you'll outlive all of us.

September 18, 2007 12:42 PM  
Anonymous TedBear said...

Girl, you are the most popular bloggerina (BigAssBelle) and contributor to JMG because you are quick witted.

We love your pic on your blog because you are pretty.

We love the real you comments because you are so fucking smart.

Fuck the white spots. It may be residue from our similar disco pasts.

Oh, and one more thing. Fuck Arnold. He is such a pig fucker today. Veto. Pah.

September 18, 2007 1:34 PM  
Blogger Doralong said...

Sugar, ain't a damn thing wrong with you.. Hell I wanna be you- if I ever actually grow up!

All kidding aside, I understand your fears honey. There are gentic issue that I try not to get too overly obsessed over myself.. And you have every right to have concerned- but don't let it rule you. Go forth and just be your fabulous self, and what shall be shall indeed be.

Hell girl, I'll probably be in the home before you at the rate it's going! But I plan on being the most amusing old bat in the joint when I do get there..

September 18, 2007 5:55 PM  
Blogger Ms. Place said...

Glad it's just a natural progression of aging. It happens to the best of us. Now, what was it you were writing about?

September 18, 2007 8:47 PM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

Well, think of it this way: it sucks to be old in ways that are just different than they ways it sucks to be young. Y'know?

September 19, 2007 10:53 AM  
Blogger RG said...

What the hell was I just typing?

September 19, 2007 2:16 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

you all are very, very, very sweet. and charming. and kind. i adore you all. thank you for the support.

September 20, 2007 10:11 AM  
Anonymous ralph said...

Sorry I'm a bit late on this, but as a 53 year old, I've gotten slower. Of course, that's bullshit. I'm in the best shape of my life due to exercise,as positive a mental outlook as I can muster in these dark times, being in love and great sex. Do not let a doctor or a test tell you how you feel. We all loose a bit of information as we get older, but that's just to make room for all the new stuff. Try some crossword puzzles (avoid the Sunday Times unless you're feeling particularly brilliant).

And yes, as a fellow former multi stimulant abuser, the fallout from that abuse is there, but you know what, you write like a dream, you're smart as hell and you sure as seem to be thinking quite clearly. You're fine sweetie, go live and love your life.

September 20, 2007 11:44 AM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

Well I'm glad the worst of your brain issues is being a far lefty! You go girl.

Cardio? Well shit. That just figures. Why can't burritos stave off dementia?

September 21, 2007 9:49 PM  

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