My memories are a jigsaw puzzle I can’t seem to put together
One piece in hand yet it doesn’t fit the other I placed down
It’s like my thoughts wander about like my body does in the darkness of night.
I walk about and don’t know where I am when I stop.
I don’t recall where I was and worse where I’m going
My reflection shows an old wrinkled man I don’t recognize.
Could it be my father? A stranger perhaps?
I am a young boy so I don’t quite know
Can you let me know? Please. I beg of you.
I didn’t write anything down but instead I fell down
So many wrongs I shall never right because …
What was I going to say?
My thoughts are like a scrabble game
So many letters but I can’t come up with a single word
The Z is worth ten points
What was my point?
I didn’t write anything down and I don’t remember
It’s September and it’s Spring I guess
I’m in late winter and May I use the bathroom
I must tell my father to get out of the bathroom. He is there looking old and wrinkled in the mirror.
I feel alone and I can smell the scent of the Forget Me Nots
I just want to Me Not Forget
No regrets! Who are you again?
Dementia is difficult to witness as a physician but even more so when it’s your loved one. A lot of patience is required. Don’t get frustrated but breathe. The moments of lucidity even if few are all worth it. With much love and hugs from Brooklyn.
I am an Internal Medicine Physician today. At age five, I wanted to be a happy wife, a mother of two, a famous guitar player, a singer and a doctor. As I youngster I wanted to be it all. When one is young it all seems possible. I was certainly in for a surprise.
When I was nine years old, I developed severe laryngitis that changed my voice. Right in the midst of church choir practice Brother John detected I was off key. I knew God loved my new voice but Brother John didn’t. He asked me to leave practice immediately. I was heart-broken as you can imagine.
My hurt turned to anger. I blamed Elaine. She was the soprano goddess with red hair in the 5th grade that sang next to me during Christmas mass. I sang incorrectly and strained my vocal chords. What did I know? All I wanted was for my mom to hear me.
All I heard was Elaine in my ears. I had such a nice voice too. I had auditioned to be in the choir group that consisted of ten children. I had no formal lessons. Brother John didn’t teach me squat either. We just practiced the songs while he played the organ. Thinking back he wasn’t too nice. I strained my voice for no reason because my mom could only hear Elaine with her loud soprano capacity. Arghhh!! I said goodbye to becoming a famous singer that day. I could still become a doctor.
Losing my godfather to Leukemia at age 4 was what made me want to become a doctor. Knowing he was sick I wanted to get older become a doctor and then go back in time to save him. I really thought that was something I could do. He died when I was 6 yrs old. I wish there were a Time Machine in real life. Is there?
I really wanted to become a famous guitar player too. I couldn’t sing but I could learn notes and chords. I took guitar class in high school. My mom bought me a guitar, the capo, a tuner and a bag. I loved my small guitar. I practiced after school. I learned to play Beat It and Yankee Doodle chords. I took my guitar to Cornell Universityand practiced until my finger tips almost bled. It was tough and the F chord made me wish I had longer fingers. Defeated I took the guitar home and focused on my school courses. Eventually my guitar cracked down the middle from abandonment and neglect. Becoming a famous guitar player was not going to happen.
After my first year of medical school I got married. I had met him while doing a Post Baccalaureate program in Buffalo, NY. Three months after dating him he proposed to me. He was my Prince Charming. He was tall, blonde with beautiful blue/hazel eyes. We were very happy. Three years after marriage my daughter was born.
My first rotation after my maternity leave was in neonatology. I approached the Pediatric ICU and seeing the sick babies made me cry. “I can do this!” I kept repeating in my mind. I could barely see through all the tears. The attending then said let’s keep walking we are almost there. I was so taken aback by all the premature babies. There were so many tubes and IVs on them you could hardly even distinguish where the baby was.
I kept fighting back the tears and upon hearing the tiny sounds of crying my breasts started leaking right through my maternity bra pads, scrub shirt and medical cloth covering. I went to pump my breasts and came back determined to finish the first day of rotation. It was only 1 hour in but I was determined to do it. It was something I wanted to specialize in, well at least I thought so. I loved babies and children so pediatrics seemed a good fit. Neonatology seemed like a specialty I could make a difference in. Critical care for very sick newborns and for premature babies.
I made it for one more hour and dropped the course after I was asked to hold a baby while an IV was placed on the side of the head. I missed my baby so much. I went to the financial aid office for help. I decided to take my last 12 credits over the span of one year instead of 3 months. I wrote a letter to the President of the medical school and was granted permission to walk with my class in 1997 although my graduation was supposed to be in May 1998. I do not regret that decision one bit. I chose internal medicine as my focus. Adult medicine was less heart breaking than pediatric medicine.
I was a happy wife, mother of one and a full fledged doctor to be. I wanted a son next but that never happened. When my daughter was aged 3 I got divorced. I think we were just too young and didn’t really know each other. Three months of dating and then a year of long distance relationship left us thinking we had no problems. Problems surfaced right away but it took us 3 yrs to come to the realization that we were too different. We were happy but on a deeper layer we weren’t. It was mutual to divorce but it still painful nonetheless.
Today I am happily divorced and single. I am the mother of a 26 yr old daughter and an Internal Medicine Physician. I bought another guitar two years ago and I am trying to learn to play once again. No more bloody fingers tips! I watch You Tube videos and am currently learning to sing again. I will find my voice. I’ll strum a song perfectly one day and I have faith that my solo will one day become a duet.
Circumstances beyond one’s control can affect one’s original life plan but one can still attain happiness. My trajectory has made me cry and be angry but it has also made me the determined strong person I am today. As a child I thought it was all attainable. As a teen I doubted it could be done. Now as an adult I realize that it is okay to pivot and adjust to what life throws at you. My high school rings has engraved on it: knowledge is power. I thought it was book knowledge but it’s truly life experiences that make you invincible.