Alzheimer’s or CRS (Can’t Remember Sh*t) – I don’t remember which one I suffer from???? That was the question Tanya asked herself after repeatedly forgetting appointments and double booking events. In the end she discovered it was CRS brought on by a life and day planner filled to overflowing with appointments and schedules for everyone but herself. She’d scheduled herself out of her own life. Today, Tanya talks about how she cured her CRS over a latte and a slice of cake…
I came to the conclusion several years ago that I would end up in a nursing home, babbling about the good old days. I made my husband promise to wipe the drool from the corners of my mouth and make sure I didn’t look crazy. I believed I was suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s because I was gradually losing my memory. At first I blamed it on my pregnancy of my youngest daughter but that was 6 3/4 years ago and its gotten progressively worse. I would forget my hair & nail appointments, forget to pickup dry cleaning, forget to make doctor’s appointments and call people. Now, I know what you are thinking – WRITE IT DOWN, MAKE A LIST! That’s the main problem – I have always written everything down and plan my life with the Franklin Covey planning system that I have been using since 1994. I was only using it for work but about 4 years ago started using it for my personal affairs because I had pissed many people off because of my forgetful ways.
In the last year it’s gotten so bad that I set reminders in my phone to alarm me every time I need to do something on my To Do list. I said to myself “Self…you turned forty this year and you are falling apart. You can’t remember sh*t (CRS). Go get a CAT scan and see if you have early onset Alzheimer’s. DONT FORGET!” I went in for my annual checkup in April (which I almost forgot about but thank God they called me to confirm the day before) and explained my concerns to the doctor. He asked my family history and ruled out Alzheimer’s. He started asking me all sorts of silly questions and implied that I “needed to talk to someone.” We all know what that means – it’s code for Rubber Room, Couch Time, Straight Jacket – the “other” doctor. I guess I wasn’t getting the CAT scan. He gave me the number to call and made me promise that I would (I did, but my fingers were crossed behind my back so it doesn’t count).
I debated if I would call the shrink and convinced myself that I wasn’t losing my mind. However, in August that same year I double booked appointments! I got the “where the hell are you” phone call while at the 2nd event. I knew then that maybe I was going crazy and needed to talk to someone and convince the doctor I needed that CAT scan. I called the number the next day and tried to schedule an appointment with the shrink. We were on the phone for about 15 minutes trying to figure out when I would come in and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I hung up (I told her that I would call her back but it was a big, fat, juicy lie). I went back over the last year of planning pages in my Franklin Covey (don’t laugh – a lot of people keep their old planning pages & calendars from years back) and a light bulb went on over my head. My planning pages were filled with every appointment scheduled, every errand that needed to be done and every work related items that needed to be completed but EVERYTHING in those pages had to do with someone else!
Also each day was filled to capacity – all lines were filled! My planner was filled with kid related events – Christmas concerts, kid doctor appointments, pee wee basketball practice, Girl Scouts, etc. My personal schedule was not in there!
I immediately went to Starbucks (I think better with a latte), sat down with the planner & pages and thought about all the missed appointments and phone calls and late (and wrong) showings. Everything missed was MY personal stuff. How was it that everyone else’s stuff was in MY planner? I was relieved that I didn’t have early onset Alzheimer’s but pissed that I let myself become last in my own plans. When I turned forty, I did an evaluation of my life and the people and things in it. My schedule was the one thing I didn’t evaluate. I went through it with a fine tooth comb. I discovered that as my girls have gotten older, their lives have gotten busier; almost as busy as mine. They had taken over my life…and planner. I had to take action and fix this problem. So I sat there with my latte and a slice of lemon loaf (I also think better with desserts) and hashed out a plan.
The end result was that I simplified my schedule. All kid events are written on a white board in the kitchen. Every morning, at a glance I know what day what kid has PE, library, practices, dance, Girl Scouts and school activities. MY planner contains only MY stuff. I’m even trying to convert myself to fully utilize my Blackberry (hell, I pay enough for it so it should work for me) because I like my calendar alerts and easy internet access. I haven’t missed anything or been late to anything in several months. So in the end, I suffered from CRS but with a detailed diagnosis, a latte and a slice of cake, I cured myself.
Tanya’s an “exceptional military wife and extraordinary mother of two who has rediscovered life, love and a new reality” at age forty. She’s a friend and frequent contributor to Women at Forty.