I sat in my den Friday afternoon with lights off, curtains drawn and sobbed uncontrollably like a child for more than two hours. Not something a normally stoic person does but has happened more often in the last five or so years. I broke down and cried when each of our three older cats — two of which had been with us since our days in Washington — died in Amy’s arms.
This latest emotional outburst came not from the demise of a cherished pet but stemmed from death of a friendship and an incredibly stupid mistake on my made me 30 minutes late to a scheduled lunch Friday.
We set the lunch via text for 11 a.m. but I put it on the schedule of my iPhone at 11:30 a.m. He had suggested 11 a.m. and that was in the text he sent on Wednesday but I put the time in wrong on my phone and computer calendar.
I had requested the lunch to see if we could repair a friendship that ended more than a year ago. I value friendships and I wasn’t sure what caused the end of ours. Maybe it was something I wrote on a web site, or something I said or an action. I didn’t know but it had bothered me and when I ran into him at Food Lion this week, I asked for a chance to meet and discuss it.
He left the restaurant at 11:25 a.m. when I didn’t show. I thought I was only a couple of minutes late when I got there at 11:32 but realized my mistake when I pulled up the text on the phone and saw he had set the time at 11.
A simple mistake? In most cases, perhaps so, but this one came in a week when I had covered a court case and got a name wrong in the story I wrote. The name on the docket papers said “Jimmie” but I wrote “Johnny” in the story. Fortunately, editors caught the mistake before publicaton.
Then, in another story, I misspelled the last name of a victim, even though my notes had the name spelled correctly. Again, the mistake as caught by editing and was correct in the paper this week.
Plus I screwed up a time to meet for a lunch to repair a friendship. I put the wrong time on my calendar.
What, I wondered as a drove home from that latest mistake, is happening? I’ve suffered memory problems since the motorcycle accident in 2012. Some of that, a neurosurgeon at Carilion said, could be caused by the brain trauma suffered in that crash.
That trauma is TBI — Traumatic Brain Injury. It caused me to lose memory of most of a decade of my life. I now have to put appointments on a calendar because I can — and to — forget things like a doctor’s appointment or other things I need to do on a certain day or time.
My memory used to let me destroy opponents in games like Trivial Pursuit. Now I struggle to remember the name of someone I’ve known most of my life.
I left messages for the one I unintentionally stood up for lunch Friday. He has not responded. Sadly, that does not surprise me. I asked for the lunch and then didn’t show up on time.
A couple of weeks ago, I came across a CD on my desk. It contained some shots of a Floyd County High School athlete that his parents wanted. I had processed the shots and put them on a CD but have not located the note from the mother who contacted me. The shots were from two seasons ago.
These thoughts and others ran through my mind as a drove home from another screw-up. I walked into my den, didn’t turn the light on and sat in desk chair and broke down.
On Monday, I have an appointment with Carilion. I hope to resume occupational therapy to work on my memory and cognitive functions. I’ve also asked for a test of those functions. I took such a test five years ago and a new one might see if my memory is worse, better or unchanged from that period.
I’ve checked, and rechecked, the time for the appointment. It is one I cannot miss.