I became forgetful in my 40s. At that time I was too young to attribute it to old age. There were no diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia yet, and I’d never heard of “fibro fog.” So, I accepted it as a personal limitation, and I began to write things down. I knew if I didn’t, I’d forget it, whatever it was. I’ve been a list-maker ever since.
Over the past few years, I’ve realized more and more that I needed the information on those lists even when I wasn’t at home. For a while, I carried them with me wherever I went. Until I forgot. And then I couldn’t remember whether I’d forgotten to bring the list or whether I’d even made such a list. That’s when I began to use my cellphone instead of pen and paper.
These days, everything I know resides in my phone. Every commitment I have is entered carefully into my calendar. For medical appointments (I have many) I include the questions I intend to ask along with the address, the time, and who referred me.
Almost everyone today has a phone and a contact list. Mine is a bit different, though, because of all the extra information it contains. In addition to the usual name, address, phone number, and email addresses for friends or acquaintances, I include everything I know about that person in the Notes section.
I enter information such as how I met them, what they do, what they did previously, children’s names, marital status, pet names, etc. It saves me from having to ask the same questions over and over when we meet, which is embarrassing for me, and I’m sure is annoying for them.
For business contacts, I always include who referred me, as well as any previous experience I’ve had with them, along with the price. Without that, because of my brain fog, I’m likely to hire someone I’ve used before who did subpar work or who charged too much.
Writing this column is normally done on a Sunday because it’s due on Monday, and I’m motivated to complete it in a timely manner rather than labor over every word or seek an unreasonable level of perfection. Of course, “Write my column” is an item entered in my calendar every Sunday. If I have other plans for a Sunday, I move the item on my calendar to Saturday instead.
This Sunday happens to be an annual event that I’ve committed to attending with my husband, health permitting. Unfortunately, I’ve just this minute (Saturday afternoon) remembered that fact. The reason? I’d forgotten to move “Write my column” from Sunday to Saturday. Sure, I still have time to write the column. It’s not the end of the world. However, it sure made me aware of how reliant I’ve become on my phone. It’s become my mini-brain, my fibro fog fighter.
The really scary thing is that I’m not sure how to back up my information. What if my phone gets lost, stolen, or destroyed somehow? I need an electronic guru to help me prevent this frightening possibility. Or maybe I don’t. It may be that all my information is backed up and safely stored in the Cloud someplace. It’s the not knowing that bothers me.
For now, all I can do is to make sure I keep my phone in a safe place. Pants with deep pockets and jackets with zippers are my favorite phone keepers. I’m also fond of purses with designated phone compartments, although I’d prefer not to carry a purse. As long as I can remember which one of those places I saw my phone last, I’ll be OK, for now.