AUTHOR: Noel Murphy
I have suffered from memory loss for as long as I can remember.
Even in school, I had difficulty in remembering things. Teachers would get frustrated with me and I, in turn, would get frustrated with them. This lead to a kind of Mexican stand-off between us. One in which I veritably lose and then abandon all hope.
I always had to have lists. Lists of everything I had to do. And a list of all the lists I had to make. Still to this day I have to write on my hand to check the list which I have written. This all came to a climax when I was 15 years old when I got lost in my hometown and couldn’t find my way home. I honestly couldn’t recognize any of the familiar surroundings.
It was around this time I started to fall-A LOT. Now I was never what people would call athletic when I was a kid. In fact, I was really more a book and a bar of the chocolate type of kid. Now I tried. With the family being from east Galway, I took up hurling. I was useless. Actually worse then that, I was a complete spanner!! I had no balance and couldn’t run and kept falling. So my coach put me in goals. I let in a record number of score that year. A record I still hold to this day. BEAT THAT DAVVY FITZ!!! Anyway, after falling over my feet one day and not remembering my address, the family eventually brought me to our GP and he in turn panicked and told my family to get me to a hospital ASAP. Long story short-after a few weeks they diagnosed me with a thing called Hydrocephalus-or fluid on the brain for those of us who hate latin and greek.
So at least now I knew why my memory was so shit. But that was small comfort to a guy who was constantly looking for the glasses that were on his head. But we struggled on.
Teenage years were a pain in the hole. My first sexual experience involved a girl named Bridget or Eileen or Sandra. I think. In the midst of her; let’s just say “performing a sexual act” on yours truly I screamed out in ecstasy “I love you whatever your name is!!” to which I received a slap. It wasn’t my fault. I actually did love Whatshername at that time. I just couldn’t remember her name.
It got worse in my 20’s when I actually had to work for a living. I worked a rota in a supermarket, it was a stressful job telling customers that we have none of that in stock and hiding in storerooms and rubbing peoples sausage rolls on the dirty ground before serving them. Anyway, we had a rota. One which I could never remember, so I’d end up in on days when I was supposed to be home and home on days when I was supposed to be in. Eventually, I was fired. Twice.
Relationships are hard when you suffer from memory loss. I have been dumped numerous times for forgetting meet-ups or birthdays or anniversaries. One year, I even forgot it was Valentines Day. There I was sitting in my jocks on the sofa at home watching Star Trek-Deep Space 9 while she was sitting in a restaurant in Burr in County Offaly. Anyway, Bitchface MacNulty (Not her real name) dumped me.
I wish I could tell you this is one of those “feel good” articles in which the protagonist goes through a struggle and comes out the other end learning lessons and overcoming their difficulties. It’s not. I still have major problems. But the way I look at it is……At least I’m not Robert Mugabe right now.