We all have absent-minded moments sometimes.
But recently I remembered something from not long before the stroke.
One evening I was asked for my Apple password.
I had. The password had been there a moment back! I searched in my mind, to and fro, but the quarry seemed distant, too far to reach somehow, as though lost in a bank of fog.
I know I can get to it, if I just try harder. But I do try harder and still can’t. The password feels tantalizing close but still eludes me.
It was like waking up up in the morning and groping for what happened in the dream you were just having but somehow you can’t catch hold of it. Or like something being on the tip of your tongue but it try as you might it just won’t come.
Was this a sign of dementia, I worried? I was scared and also in denial. So I decided to ignore the episode. But I had to use password recovery.
A memory had gone forever. Yet still glimpses haunt me, as if it’s still there behind a curtain.
I was – I am – very good at remembering passwords. I’ve not forgotten the new one. I wouldn’t want to recall the old one now. My head is already cluttered by old passwords/telephone numbers/street addresses and the like. I don’t want to get mixed up. I am memorious and find it inconveniently hard to forget details. Usually.
So what did happen?
I think just possibly a very tiny fragment of something – call it plaque – suddenly broke away from the wall of a small blood vessel somewhere and made its way to my brain where it blocked a narrower vessel. Then an Apple password neuron lost its blood supply and couldn’t respond. The hints from beyond suggest it is still trying in a lamed way.
For a few weeks before this I’d had some strange numbness in my feet as I sat working. It felt a bit different from anything I’d experienced before. But it went away when I walked about.
But later, after the lapse of memory I’ve described, came a frightening swelling of my right foot, then a stroke. The swelling went down more or less immediately. I’m pretty convinced there was a blood clot that became detached and reached an artery in my brain, to block it and destroy the right hand side of my vision.
I wonder, but of course can never know, if the first event was a precursor for the second? We hear of mini strokes but this would have been much, much smaller. Small enough to be called a nano stroke. But such things must exist.
The good news is that I’ve not had any more swelling or numbness, and blood tests reveal that what might be an important factor – cholesterol – is very low. Whatever caused all this seems to have gone away.