Thursday, March 22, 2012

Who's there? Sounds in the night

How to Remember With No Strings Attached

Written for the Orland Park Patch -- March 22, 2012

Arthur (Ed) Wall

Tom noticed it before I did. My cat sleeps more than I do, but more lightly, so he woke me up not long after I had gone to bed. He had heard someone in my TV room, and he didn't like that. Tom and I have lived by ourselves in an Orland Park condo ever since my wife died.

It was an alert neighbor, who noticed I had forgotten to close my garage door. He popped in to tell me about it. I thanked him, he left, I pushed the button to close the door, returned to bed and apparently sloshed the experience around in my head like the kind of dream that's still there when you wake up.

I had just celebrated in birthday, denying that my 87 candles had anything to do with the arrival of 80-degree weather. When I woke up with that garage door episode in my mind, I realized that it was time to deal with the hazards of short-term memory loss. Senior discounts may include a 20 percent reduction in memory. A 15 percent discount for eye glasses may be society's way of dealing with 20 percent loss of eyesight.

I don't get around as fast as I used to, even though I keep my power chair and scooter batteries fully charged. It is more than good luck to live just a mile from my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. I'm surrounded by good neighbors, so serene in their neighborliness that sometimes I don't even know who shoveled snow away from my door.

When there is no snow I glide around neighborhood sidewalks on my four-wheel scooter. I see other seniors, and juniors too, on wheels or on feet. A scooter will take its operator anyplace where the sidewalks go, despite the thumps from uneven walkways and the challenges of misfit mini-ramps from sidewalk to street.

There are a lot of us in Orland Park, Tinley Park and nearby areas who forget things. I don't want you to wake up some night to shouts from a good neighbor in your home, so I'll tell you what I did. I made a list of things I have forgotten at one time or another, and printed a form via my computer.

I've arranged this simple form on a half sheet of letter-size paper, so I can make a quick and easy check each night before bedtime. The things I need to check are whether outside doors are locked, the garage door is closed, the thermostat is adjusted, blinds closed, prescriptions swallowed, outside lights turned on and Tom fed.

The final issue, of course, is how to remember to fill out the memory form. If an answer to that comes in a dream, I'll let you know.

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