I Miss My Mind

How has it come to this?

Today I couldn't find the keys to my office. It's private practice day. I had patients lined up and scheduled on the hour throughout the day...And I couldn't find my keys anywhere.

It is beyond walking from the bedroom to the laundry room and forgetting why I wanted to go the laundry room in the first place (paper towels, which for some unknown reason I then turned around and grabbed from under the kitchen sink.)

I thought I was doing better with this losing-my-mind stuff. I put my keys in the same dish in the front hallway (not there.) I put my purse in my office (depending on whether it's the brown or the black one. Whichever one's not in use is allegedly in my office closet but then, so is every other valuable piece of paper, photograph and piece of equipment I own but don't use...like the fax machine I pull out from beneath all the photographs only on occasions when I MUST send a fax before a nursing home day.)

The keys to the office stay in my purse or my car. Period. End of story. So where the hell were they? I know, the last damn place you look, that's why they call it "the last place I looked!" Why would you keep looking after you found the lost item? Unless of course you're me and you forgot what it was you were originally searching for.

I had to send my 8 o'clock patient home, run back to the house and try to find the spare keys. There are six keys to get into my office, but I make do with three....It's a long story so just trust I can do it with three.

I found two. Luckily when I returned just before 9 someone was already in the building, so my two keys worked fine. (Until this afternoon when I realized they did not work fine after all, I'd just left my office unlocked for five days!)

I dash off at 11 to let the dogs out and meet Marti for lunch and this time I leave my glasses in the office! Be afraid. I am driving without glasses and in a hurry and I REALLY need to wear my glasses. I'm just so used to wearing one contact lens that I forgot and drove off blind. (I wear one contact lens because then I can see, kind of, things in the distance and still read small print.)

I'm only wearing glasses today because yesterday I tried to multi-task too early in the day and without enough coffee. I tried to clean the shower stall while also cleaning my body. A bit of Soft Scrub with Bleach somehow missed the tiles and flew into my eye.

I hate when that happens.

I think maybe I have PMS. PMS makes me nuts like this but I'm not real regular, so who knows?

I tell all this to Marti as soon as we're seated.

She shakes her head. "That's not it," she says. "We're just stressed."

The waiter is having a worse day than I am. He has to try four times to bring me my lunch...but then it was my lunch and not Marti's so maybe losing my mind is contagious.


My one o'clock has wonderful tie-dyed socks and I covet them.

At two o'clock I have a free hour. I run home, throw a pork loin roast into an oven bag, coat it with cranberry jelly and Thai chili sauce, set the oven to slow cook and dash back to the office for the next session.

My three o'clock isn't quite as depressed as last week. He looks more animated. He talks without me having to drag the words out of him and I am relieved to see him better.

My four o'clock is a couple.
I marvel at them. They are so young and I am awed by their ability to keep their marriage going for ten years without enough money, with her working three jobs, 7 days a week, and both of them coming from dysfunctional families of origin. They are back on track after a tense time and it is time to send them back out into the world.

I say, "Think of me like a shovel. You don't carry a shovel around everywhere you go, do you? No, you keep it out in the shed until you need it. When you need me, I'll be here."

I will miss them.

My five o'clock I am seeing for the second time. She had to cancel our last session. I picture her in my head, a middle-aged woman with a deeply lined face. I am shocked to see a woman who looks a good fifteen years younger walk in and sit down on the overstuffed, white loveseat.

She is working, going back to school, caring for a brother's family, and driving to Duke hospital three or four nights a week to be with her mother who she thinks is getting better maybe, but I know is dying.

She says, "My mom died three days after our first session. Is it bad for me to feel relieved and lost at the same time? I mean, I miss her but for some reason I feel as if a burden has been lifted from my shoulders."

I smile at her. "That is absolutely normal," I say. "The journey is different for everyone and you will have lots of ups and downs. You will get better at life without her, but you will never forget her. You will never be the same person you were before she died." And then I asked, "Do you find yourself seeing more of your mother in your brothers and sisters, in yourself, since she passed?"

The woman's eyes widened. "Yes!"

I nod. The journey is different, true but it is also the same- grief is a worn pathway we all will travel at some point in our lives.

My five o'clock leaves and I check my cell. Two missed calls and a text from one of Those Who Shall Remain Unnamed- The Youngest Unnamed One. "Where are you?! I need $30 for judo and you have to sign some forms!"

I text back "I'm on my way. B hm n 5."

I drive, listening mindlessly to the radio, pull up in the driveway, step out of the car, and just like that three words jump into my head. "Brown leather jacket."

The keys are in my brown leather jacket. I know this suddenly, without question or hesitation. They are in the jacket I have only worn only one time this year, five days ago during a cold snap.

I come through the door, slip the car keys into their dish, walk to the coat rack and slip my hand deep inside the pocket.

I wrap my hand around the six keys and four supermarket "VIP" tags attached to a plain silver keyring.

And I am even wearing my glasses.

It has been a good day after all.


Anonymous said...

My 98-year-old grandmother just returned home after being in a nursing facility for 3 weeks (she had fallen off her ottoman). They are concerned because she doesn't know what day of the week it is. Do you know how many times today I didn't know what day it was?

Great post. Thanks for sharing. Jill

Anonymous said...

Oh to be 98 . . . .