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It’s not dementia; it’s multitasking
By Bernie Suttle
At the end of any given day when I have regained any item I had misplaced or couldn’t find I consider it a very good day.
Our affluent society is quick to identify with diagnosis, create a professional class of caregivers, establish facilities for and identify with a strong name any usual but slightly abnormal human behavior.
For example, last week my wife said to me, “Please take the big travel bag down from storage and place it on the wicker table in the washroom so I can start packing it for our trip to Mexico.
I understood what she had asked me to do and was happy to get right to it. As soon as I arrived in the washroom, I saw folded towels on top of the wicker table that would need to be removed to accomplish my task. I thought to myself, “There might be more in the dryer that should also be put away” so I opened the dryer door and sure enough there were. I diligently folded those towels and put them on top of the wicker table with the other towels. Then I realized that I should clean the lint trap, thinking, “That’s the right thing to do when you’re done using the dryer”. So I opened the trap, cleaned the filter of its lint and threw it in the trash. I wanted to do a good job. Getting back to the towels, I took all that I had carefully folded to the linen closet where they belong but in so doing I noticed that the handle to the linen cupboard was lose.” I’ll fix that right now,” I said to myself. “All I need is a Phillips head screwdriver”. I went to the garage where my toolbox was stored to look for the screwdriver and alas I spied a small fry pan on a shelf next to the toolbox. “That’s an odd place for a frying pan,” I thought. “I better ask the misses wether it’s to be saved or taken to the thrift store”.
This was how I ended up appearing before my wife with Phillips head screwdriver in one hand and fry pan in the other. She looked up with a concerned expression, smiled and asked me kindly, “Is the big bag ready for me to pack?” I was slow to respond, not wanting to list all the things I’d been doing and because, for the moment, I’d really forgotten all about the big bag.
This was not my first muddled experience when trying to accomplish “A” while also dealing with “B”,“ C” &”D”. I remember the day I tried to carry too many things to the garage, most of them for the trash, and subsequently, after searching all over, including the downtown streets where I had been that day, my wife found my lost wallet in the trash barrel. And now this.
When this kind of activity is witnessed in today’s society one can be put on the road to the “Golden Years” complete rest home.
I know that should the day come when they take me away I’ll be screaming to all that will listen, “ It’s not dementia, it’s multi-tasking”.