The Florida Triangle: A Look at Losing “Stuff” & Memory

It appears that the Florida Triangle is alive and well and actively swallowing everything in sight inside my mother Ginny’s apartment. Over the last several months, she has lost both hearing aids, a gift card I had given her for Christmas, a shoe horn, her glasses, a library book, a birthday present and a television remote. Some items were found tucked away in unusual spots like an empty purse she never uses that hangs on an inside doorknob and some have been lost forever to the geomagnetic force.

At the time, of course, the hearing aids were the biggest concern. We had just purchased them for over $4000.00 (Medicare does not pay for hearing aids.)

My sister Hailey had shared this story with me:

“So, I could tell when mom and I were at lunch yesterday that mom wasn’t hearing me very well, so I asked her if she had in her hearing aids.”

“Yes” was her response.

“When we got back to her apartment though, I double-checked because she just wasn’t picking up on what I was saying” she continued.

“Well, I’ve lost the left hearing aid” she confessed.

“When?” Hailey asked a little exasperated.

“I think about two weeks ago.”

“Mom, you can’t do that. You can’t wait two weeks to let us know this. These cost over $4000.”

“I know, I just lost track of time.”

So, Hailey searched. And damn it, she found it under the couch.

Then the other shoe dropped.

“I actually lost the right ear too” mom confided “I’ve been wearing the old right ear hearing aid for about 10 days.”

Hailey kept searching, but didn’t find it that day, although it eventually turned up in a drawer.

Sadly, when the Triangle struck a second time with the left hearing aid again, it was never found. We dreaded contacting the audiologist to request a new single aid. We assumed it would cost about $2000.00.

Happily, we learned that replacement hearing aids are typically included in a warranty. Some warranties run one year, some run three years. Some will allow a one-time replacement for a fraction of the cost. Her replacement cost $300.00.

The funniest moment, however, regarding The Florida Triangle came recently when its mysterious forces almost claimed my own property.

My husband Dennis and I had arrived to pick up Ginny to meet Hailey and her husband for lunch. We had gotten there a little early so I helped throw some clothes into the dryer downstairs and collected them a half hour later. As it was nearing time to leave, I started to look around for my glasses. I have to wear them for driving and I always use sunglass clip-ons. Oddly, the glasses were not on the table where I had put them, but the clip-ons were.

 “Mom, have you seen my glasses?” and she responds “I do remember seeing them there, but that’s it.”

We needed to leave so the search would have to wait. We arrive and Hailey does a double-take with mom.  “Those glasses don’t look familiar” she whispers to me, but the concept is so far out of the realm of possibility, I dismiss it. Then, she notices that mom is moving her glasses up and down to read the menu.

Yes, Ginny was actually wearing MY glasses. Somehow, the clip-ons on the glasses did not slow her down, the wrong prescription she was now seeing through didn’t slow her down, nor the fact that I’m wandering around literally asking “where are my missing glasses?” slow her down. I never in a million years would have thought to look for them on my mother’s face.

When we realized the truth, we laughed until those proverbial tears came. It was hysterical.

Of course, there have been more serious and exasperating memory issues at play with my 88 year old mother, and those stories will appear in the future. But today, we laughed. And just like the Bermuda Triangle, I learned once again that Ginny is a force of nature.

Post Script:

I located an article online titled “Age-Related Memory Loss” and I highly recommend the read. It covers “normal” age-related memory changes vs. symptoms that may indicate dementia, and also covers symptoms of mild cognitive impairment (MCI); a condition that lies between the two. And maybe most importantly, it provides info on the other factors that cause memory loss and are, in fact, reversible with treatment. I’ve added the link to my Resource Articles menu, and you can also find it here.

Humor Memory Issue

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