I can still recall from early childhood a tiny, beautiful little flower that would bloom in the early Spring, showing itself off with light green leaves and clusters of small blue, pink or white flowers. This plant was affectionately named Forget-Me-Not and was often used to brighten up someone’s life who may have experienced ill health. Often, when visiting a friend, a plant of Forget-Me-Not was offered as a symbol of friendship. I am grateful that I still remember the beauty of that plant. I can also remember when Nat King Cole sang the love song, “Unforgettable,” which was rerecorded a second time by his daughter after he had passed. I can also recall the beautiful ballad, “Memories,” which has been recorded by many artists.
Unfortunately, everyone’s memory does not remain the same as we wander down life’s path. Forgetfulness may be minor in some cases and major in others. To illustrate this, I remember a joke that goes as follows. Two elderly folks were sitting in their living room looking at television. The gentleman rose from his seat and told his wife that he was going into the kitchen to get some ice cream and would she like to have some? She replied, “That would be nice.” As he got to the kitchen door, he asked his wife whether she would like some chocolate syrup. Again, she gave a positive reply. She then told him that he should write her request due to his forgetfulness. After several minutes, he returned with a plate of scrambled eggs. She looked at him questionably and said, “I told you, you should have written it down. You forgot the bacon.”
A wonderful patient named Oliver Manning, whom I took care of for many years, wrote this poem concerning forgetfulness:
All Mixed Up
Just a line to say I’m living
That I’m not among the dead
Tho’ I’m getting more forgetful
And more mixed up in my head.
For, sometimes I can’t remember
When I stand at the foot of the stairs
If I must go up for something
Or, I’ve just come down from there.
And before the fridge so often
My mind is filled with doubt
Have I just put food away or
Have I come to take some out?
And there are times when it is dark out
With my nightcap on my head
I don’t know if I’m retiring
Or just getting out of bed.
So, if it’s my turn to write you
There is no need for getting sore
I may think that I have written
And don’t want to be a bore.
So, remember, I do love you
And I wish that you were here
But now, it’s nearly mail time, so
I must say, “good-by my dear.”
There I stood beside the mailbox
With a face so very red
Instead of mailing you my letter,
I opened it instead
The great scientist, Dr. Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915), recognized and described a form of severe forgetfulness known as dementia in 1906. He described this pathology in the brain of a very young woman. Under the microscope, the nerves demonstrated clumping of the neuro-fibrils and appeared disorganized. The patient also had experienced during her lifetime forgetfulness, depression and hallucinations. This neurological condition was named after the scientist, Alzheimer’s Syndrome.
The cause of this condition remains unknown; however, research has produced drugs that have been shown to decrease the progression of this disease, though not cure it. It is important that Alzheimer’s is diagnosed early in order to prevent progressive deterioration. Adequate nutritional supplements, namely vitamins and minerals, are important since appetite may be poor. Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine should be avoided. Good conversation and visual stimulation in the form of arts and music can help maintain mental balance. Visits to museums and gardens can be stimulating. If a nursing home is advised, it should be carefully chosen with a sensitive staff in mind.
After reading the above article, Please Forget Me Not.
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