"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How is this Possible?

Have you ever discovered a talent you have, that you spent the last 22 years of your life, not knowing you had? Did that make sense even?

I think discovering a talent, makes sense under certain circumstances. Like, discovering you are really really good at playing soccer, but you never knew this because you never played. Or you are really good at drawing but never knew before because you never drew. Makes sense, right? In this case, I'd say its possible to discover new talents you possess at any given time in your life, from age 0 to age infinity.

So, who here considers a photographic memory a talent? Part of me wants to say it is a talent, because what else is it? A skill? Not really. A character trait? Sort of. Personality? No. Its a.....what? An ability, I guess?

Regardless of what it is, its definitely something I have discovered I have.

Which is the funny part.

LET me explain.

Lately, I have noticed in myself that I have some strange ability to remember numbers. I can take vital signs on 10 people in a row and then write them all down on a board after, providing that I took note of the vital signs in the initial time of it taking place. There are other times, that I've looked at a number on a scale on a patient, took note, and then went and did other things. 4 hours later I remember I need to document the patients weight, or the aide asks me what it was, and I can somehow recall it to even the tenth. Of course, It only happens if I see the number. If someone tells me, "Her temperature is 98.7", I won't remember it like....5 minutes later. But if I see it, I can pull up that image whenever I need it. It gets harder with temperatures because I look at so many thermometers so often, and each image therefore tends to look the same. Its easier with the scale, for instance- to visualize, because its uncommon to be weighing patients at night and therefore, be using a scale.

This skill is usually completely useless in life elsewhere at all times. So what If I can remember phone numbers from 5 years ago, providing that I took note of them at the time? When I was a grocery store cashier I used to remember the barcode numbers (usually over 12 numbers) for each individual water production company (poland spring, nestle, aquafina, etc) for the large containers so that I, as the cashier, wouldn't have to pick them up. I'd see them in the cart and scan it in manually. I was right every time. So, that was cool. And useful, for like-the 2 years I was a cashier.

I also have a photographic (sort of) memory when it comes to names. I can usually attach a first name to a last, on a patient I maybe saw once. Sometimes (most times) I can't even place a face to the name, but I can remember the whole name. For some ungodly, useless reason. Even if I had the patient 5 years ago.  Last night I had a patient with a rather unique last name. Somehow the name struck me so much, that it brought back the name of a mere acquaintance I haven't seen since the second grade. Yes, they ended up being related. Weird.

Anyway, this is the funny part:

Besides numbers and names, I have a HORRIBLE MEMORY.

I'm not kidding. It is truly embarassing. It makes me a horrible friend, person, girlfriend, granddaughter, neice, sister, etc.

I have spent the last like 5 years legit thinking I have early onset dementia. Oh yes. I do often walk into rooms forgetting what I came in there for. I do often forget what I was talking about MID-SENTENCE. It makes me a horrible friend because I often legit forget where we left off in your epic case of problems. And its not that I don't care, I truly truly truly do. I do care, and I am interested. But its like I am incapable of remembering the stories you've told me or havent told me, or where we left off about your boyfriend/girlfriend issues.  Therefore I am left with trying to pull off every time acting like I know exactly what you're talking about. But it goes both ways, I often (most times) cannot remember where I left off with you, either. I guess its just that so much useless stuff is stuck in my brain (like the barcode number for poland spring) that it has no room for important friend stuff. :-( It sucks and I'm working on it.

I just forgot the main point I was trying to make with this blog. Maybe thats my point right there...

oh! Right. Point is, aren't photographic memory people supposed to remember every single thing they come into contact with? Names, numbers, furniture placement, where they parked their car, answers to tests they took 8 years ago, friend stuff, etc.? So how, please- can I have a photographic memory useful for nothing- but not be able to remember important stuff? Its kind of not fair.

Its funny- If I see something that belongs to someone else and I want to take a further look at it by picking it up- I try really hard to take a mental picture of exactly how it was sitting previously. When I'm done looking at it like eight seconds later, can I remember that mental picture? No. Of course not. Then my unrelenting anxiety disorder comes out to play as I stress out the entire next week that you will find out I touched your....thing. Yeah.

I also remember thousands of lyrics that I memorized when I was 11, (i'm 23 now) but DO YOU THINK I can remember the Pledge of friggen Allegiance? No. If you asked me to sing the national anthem right now, a song I've sung a bajillion times in childhood, I'd fail- miserably. Ask me to sing some random song I liked when I was in middle school? Got it.

I'm telling you, my memory is clinically diagnosed (by me) as being completely useless and self-centered. Because obviously I can only retain non important things.

~A Writer in a Forgetful Nurses Body


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