Fight That Brain Fog
"Where are the keys?"
"Sam! Bear! Rover! Ahhh!!! Hey dog come here! ... What is that dog's name?"
"Excuse me, will you repeat that... again?"
Don't you hate brain fog? I had some intense brain fog during and shortly after both of my pregnancies. I had considered myself a fairly smart person, one that could learn anything quickly. Then I had kids, and they sucked every bit of those brain cells from my head. I could barely remember the names of the people that I worked with, and my memory lasted, maybe thirty seconds. It was not fun at all. Just after the birth of my son, I hated when people would ask me what his name was because I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to remember. I mean this is my son! I should be able to remember something as basic as his name.
What causes brain fog with COPD?
This is something that many COPD patients deal with daily. Sometimes it is from medications, but many times it is related to oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. It becomes something that some people just learn to live with. Here are a few suggestions to combat that foggy brain.
How can brain fog be combated?
1. Play games that force you to think. Crossword puzzles, Scrabble, or Sudoku are just a few that can keep those juices flowing. Of course, when you find something that you enjoy doing, these can be loads of fun as well. When you add a friend to the mix, like with Scrabble, now you are fighting the fog and loneliness all at one time.
2. Keep a pad and pen, or smart phone close by to write down the things that you need to remember. For example, you may have an appointment scheduled later in the week at the doctor, and you have what may seem like fifty questions for her. Write them down. Now here is a very important part of this. Keep that list of questions with your things that will be going with you to the doctor (purse, wallet, jacket, basket of a rolling walker). Having a list of fifty questions left at home will not help nearly as much as having the list with you. One good thing is that for people who learn well by seeing or writing, the simple act of writing the questions may help you remember them.
3. Talk about things that you seem to forget easily. By continually talking about them, you are giving yourself more chances to physically hear it. For people that learn by hearing, this can help you remember. The more that I talked to my family about my son, using his name in the conversation, the easier it was to remember.
Brain fog is very real, and it can be one of the most frustrating parts of enduring acute illness. Try to keep it light. Give yourself a break, and laugh at yourself from time to time. When you keep the perspective of all that your body is doing to convert the air that you breathe into the life sustaining oxygen that you need to survive, through the limitations of this disease, you should be proud of your resilience.
Now call over that dog with no name and feed him some cat food. He won’t mind, as long as you’re around to give him love.
Do you have a COPD exacerbation tool kit?