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Fight that brain fog

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.

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:

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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • WillDoe
    6 months ago

    Tonya;
    I was about a third of the way through your article on Brain Fog when I realized that I had already seen it: yesterday..!
    I need to get back to exercising. I stopped going for walks when the weather got cool.
    Brain Fog seems to creep up om me.

    The Best!
    Will

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi Will – we understand – big time!
    Thanks for your post.
    Leon (site moderator)

  • lovinggrandma
    12 months ago

    This article made me sad, then made me giggle. I would get so frustrated at myself that I would call myself Blondie or bird brain- all the while very frightened that I was getting dementia. I am in 4th stage copd/emphesema and have had it probably for years before being diagnosed and hospitalized for it in Jan 2017. I’ve always been a multitasker and worked at a veterinary clinic for 18 yrs, and was the office manager for 6, so I’ve never been stupid but noticed I was slipping as early as 2010. I lost 3 siblings within 1 1/2 yrs, so I chalked it up to depression. Now, at least I know I’m not the only one that has what I’ve began to call “the copd squirrlies”. Thanks for this informative article.

  • Susanmarie
    1 year ago

    This article as opened my eyes to my forgetfulness, I go out of one room to another and forget what for, I have tried to answered my phone by picking up the tv remote instead and speaking into it, thus changeing the tv channel in the process. My main concern is since my exsaperation, I have been very clumsy, spilling hot water and mugs of tea, almost taking the wrong inhaler at wrong time, dropping things etc, is this normal with copd?.

  • Paula
    2 years ago

    I was dealing with brain fog long before I was diagnosed with COPD so I established a routine that ensures what I need can be located immediately. For my keys, I have them on a lanyard which I wear around my neck when they are not in the ignition – that way I won’t lock myself out of the car or have to dig and dig in a deep, dark purse to find them. If I’m not wearing them, I keep them in a certain small pocket in my purse. The same goes for checkbook, insurance card, credit card, and anything else I need to function in this modern world. I’ve had to write down my address and phone number to keep in a special tiny pocket because I’ve been known to forget them. In your “contacts” section of your cell phone, list your emergency contact(s) but before listing, type the letters ICE in capital letters which stand for “in case of emergency,” All first responders know what those letters stand for and will check your phone to see if you have listed any ICE contacts. And, yes, definitely keep your brain engaged in some activity that you enjoy – for me that’s Words with Friends and Spider Solitaire. Just remember you are not alone.

  • Janet Plank moderator
    2 years ago

    Paula, thank you for your helpful hints, these are great ideas!
    Janet (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Paula and thanks for sharing all your tips and hints for what works for you. I can see where these can be used by others as well, if they’re so inclined. Keep up the good work!
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Shirley Ann
    3 years ago

    I used to be a very avid reader of books. I had to always have one or two books going. I had to read an hour or two before sleeping every night. I had to leave work 5 years ago on permanent disability due to dilated cardiomyopathy. And soon after was also diagnosed with COPD. I have not read a single book in the past five years now. This makes me very sad because books used to take me away and relax me. However, I believe it is due to brain fog from my heart and lung diseases as well as all the meds I am on that I can no longer concentrate to read books. I have tried several times and after I read a few pages I cannot remember what I just read. I end up going back and re-reading until I get so frustrated I just quit trying. I cannot remember things to the point my grown kids get frustrated and angry with me. I am only 60 years old. I have talked to my dr about this and he assured me I don’t have dementia. I hate this as it can be very embarrassing. I do have a new iPhone and I use the calendar and notes section constantly to help myself remember appointments, family birthdays, etc.

  • Janet Plank moderator
    2 years ago

    Shirley Ann my heart goes out to you. It’s hard to so enjoy reading and other things, and having to give them up. Paula mentioned audiobooks, that might make a distance and bring some of the relaxation and enjoyment back to you. Have you had your eyes checked? Medications can cause problems. Do discuss the physical aspects with your doctor.

    It’s difficult when others don’t understand what you are going through, as it is for you. Leon shared a link, maybe you could share that with your family, as well as Tonya’s article here, maybe that will bring some understanding. You could also share the sites with them: copd.net and http://www.facebook.com/copddotnet.

    Know that we are here for you and your family. We can’t provide medical diagnosis, yet there is alot of information on our sites.

    Breathe-easy
    Janet (site moderator)

  • Paula
    2 years ago

    Have you tried audio books? Sometimes the spoken words hang around a little longer than what you read. I do understand you missing reading – I am right there with you though my problem comes from my eyes.

  • Beth
    3 years ago

    I have been experiencing this a lot lately. It is very frustrating.

  • lovinggrandma
    12 months ago

    Beth, I have too. I just hate it, and it’s embarrassing. I try to cope by saying something silly if I’m talking to someone who doesn’t know my problem. I never thought I would end up this way! Try to find some humor in a bad situation, and remember, you’re definitely not alone!

  • Janet Plank moderator
    2 years ago

    Beth, I hope you have found some helpful information on here that might be helpful. It can get very frustrating can’t it. I get some of that too. Are you finding anything that does help?
    Janet (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Beth and thanks for sharing your experience with the community.
    If you haven’t already, you may want to check out our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/copddotnet/

    The community has commented often on the published “Brain Fog” article. You may find it makes interesting reading: https://www.facebook.com/copddotnet/posts/1662381644019854?comment_id=1723302387927779&ref=notif&notif_t=share_comment&notif_id=1459712561279654
    Best regards,
    Leon (site moderator)

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