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Wait, what was I saying?

Wait, What Was I Saying?

Pill Reminder

Last week I was filling up my weekly med box. It’s big. I have one row for morning meds and another row for evening meds.  There’s something like 14 pills in there per day over 9 different meds (including OTC supplements). It’s a lot. I actually have it written down so that I know which med I take at what time of the day. It takes a little while to fill up my pill box. It also acts as a reminder of what I’m running low on.

During this weekly task, I threw away an entire bottle of Clonidine by accident. I mistook it for an empty bottle that I put in the trash. A hand palm to the face and lots of mumbling to myself about how could I have done this? I was able to retrieve the bottle, since it only took me about four hours to realize my mistake.

To Do List      

Today, I wrote out a list of random things that I need to do. Consider it a serious Type A personality trait. Over the years, though, I realize that this is a necessity to keep my Migraine brain straight. After making some progress, I went to cross out the items I had accomplished. I wrote “make dinner” twice. Really, Katie? The list was only 10 items long and two of them said to make dinner. Truthfully, I don’t make dinner very often but was determined to do it tonight. At least I got to cross two items off the list when I really only did one task.

Wait, what was I saying?

Recently, I was having an in-depth medical conversation with a friend of mine who is a doctor. She is very invested and interested in my current medical condition. I had a perfect train of thought and wanted to make a point about a treatment I had just received. Instead, I completely stumbled mid-sentence. Completely blanking on not only what my point was, but what in the world was I talking about? I looked over at my boyfriend for help, hoping he was following my train of thought and could finish my point, but he had no clue. All I could do was admit that I completely blanked and blamed it on not feeling well. Luckily my friends know me well enough and just changed the subject.

Migraine Brain

I bring these things up because I find myself forgetting things more than usual. Could it be medications? Could it just be that my brain is tired from firing constant Migraines and doesn’t work like it used to? Is it just old age? I have no idea. I just know that it’s frustrating. That’s why I have to-do lists, calendar reminders and keep journals of questions and ideas. But even those aren’t fool-proof.

I don’t always trust my judgment or my memory so I sometimes become quiet during a normal conversation with friends, letting them carry the conversation. It wasn’t always like that. When I was working, my boss relied on me to remember serious details about 30-50 complex commercial real estate deals. I could remember the most minuscule detail about a loan we closed four years ago and hadn’t looked at since. I used to pride myself on being the go-to person for institutional knowledge.

It’s just another casualty of having Chronic Migraines. I can implement measures to use as a crutch, but it’s not a guarantee that it will always help. I worry about looking stupid in front of others or forgetting an important errand I promised to do. All I can do is blame it on the Migraine Brain.

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

Comments

  • jrhodes
    3 years ago

    I can so relate to this article from filling the pill box and mistakenly throwing out a full bottle of pills to blanking in mid-sentence. I also used to be so competent at keeping details of many projects mentally at hand and the words of state and federal regulations right handy, word-for-word. But not now. It is only in recent years as I have learned more about migraines … the migraines that I have had since my mid-teens … that I have realized how much that they have affected me. I keep notes, keep calendars…they all help. Thanks for your column. jr

  • sarah
    4 years ago

    Oh, yes. Been there so many times. To make lemonade out of a lemon, at least we now KNOW what is causing our “brain farts”. I used to think, “Am I stupid? Mentally challenged? Why doesn’t anyone else (who I knew at the time) have this happen?” Now, at least I can point to these !@#*!@#!! chronic migraines.

  • kim716
    4 years ago

    Thank you! Yes! I hate when this happens. I used to be so good with details and still am to a certain extent, but now my boss tells me “maybe you should write that down”. I know he doesn’t mean anything by it because we’ve had conversations about my frequent migraines, but it can still be embarrassing. The brain fog is definitely better since I lowered my Topamax dose. But I still have moments when I completely lose my train of thought in the middle of a sentence – forgetting the entire point of what I was saying. And forgetting words – words I use every day – it’s almost like they aren’t in my vocabulary anymore. It is SO frustrating.

  • MargoW
    4 years ago

    Thanks for posting this. As a chronic migraineur for over 34 years, I can attest to the fact that these symptoms get worse every year. They happen to me more and more frequently along with substituting the wrong word all of the time. I call it migraine fog or fibro fog. At least one of my doctors blames it on the meds I’m on but I don’t think that’s the root of the problem and it’s getting worse without a change in meds or as I reduce my meds. It’s especially bad when I’m having auras leading into a full blown migraine.

    In any case, when these things first happened to me, I was sure I was having a stroke. The aphasia scared me a lot. I spent three days in the hospital having all kinds of tests (an underlying heart condition was discovered as well).

    I make lists for everything, set alarms and reminders, and my daughter helps me out even though she has many of the same symptoms.

    While I’m sorry that you have these issues, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  • MargoW
    4 years ago

    Thanks for posting this. These symptoms happen to me more and more frequently along with substituting the wrong word all of the time. I call it migraine fog. At least one of my doctors blame it on the meds I’m on but I don’t think that’s the root of the problem and it’s getting worse without a change in meds. It’s especially bad when I’m having auras leading into

    In any case, when these things first happened to me, I was sure I was having a stroke.

  • Meggietye
    4 years ago

    Thank you for posting this…I was out for lunch with 2 nurses and a physician today and lost my ability to finish sentences 3x. Everyone understood, and covered for me, but I Totally get where all of you are coming from.

    I would like to share that I am doing quite a bit better this spring and summer than I have been in 21 yrs…despite my heat/humidity & sunlight triggers. As crazy as this might sound I decided to completely change the way I was eating and see if that made any difference to my migraines. I have been wondering for some time if foods were triggering any of these attacks. I have asked doctors about this and they all said food had no impact on migraine…which didn’t sit well with me, my gut said differently. I went on an elimination diet..and I mean I really eliminated a ton of stuff! I went to the library and got JJ Virgin’s book and went from there..out went the dairy & soy & wheat, sugar, beef etc etc. I am slowly adding things back in one by one but so far everything I have added back triggers migraine in me, so that is dairy, gluten & soy, so far. I am totally amazed. I am not cured, but it has taken about 50-70 % of the impact away from each migraine. My family can hardly believe the difference and how much change I have undergone since April, (4 mths in now).

    I was actually out for lunch for 2.5 hrs today..plus I went make-up shopping in a strange department store and found the counter by myself. I haven’t been able to do that in many years. I lost my train of thought and needed some prodding a few times but considering the circumstances I think I did pretty well!

    So, I am eating pretty clean now,,and still learning everyday how to get better at it,,I will continue this way of eating since it has been so good for me. summer sunshine still brings on migraines so I wear my Theraspecs to protect my eyes (and my floppy hat) and I still lose my words and my train of thought but hope it is not getting worse. My Mom had this too then she had AZ ..but I am not even going there. They say sugar is our new brain & heart poison so I have banished it and just hope for the best 🙂

    Blessings to each of you. I totally understand where you are coming from. I think you are each very strong 🙂

  • jrhodes
    3 years ago

    Meggietye, even though it has been some months since you posted, I wanted to support you on your new diet. Some medical people don’t know about migraines and food. I am unsure why. I have found that learning food triggers and avoiding them has been so helpful over the years. One area that I have found a bit tricky and important is keeping away from the triggers when going places where someone else is preparing food. Even when people want to be supportive they can make mistakes about what foods work and what foods don’t work. So I have found that it can be helpful to take some trigger-free food and bring a dish to share and keep some in the car for emergencies. For those of us with food triggers it is always good to have trigger-free food available!

    Bless you.

  • Diane
    4 years ago

    Maggietye, the doctors you asked obviously know nothing about migraines because many foods are known to trigger migraines. All processed foods, cheese, chocolate, just to name a few.

  • mrst53
    4 years ago

    This is me all over. I am going to let my husband read this. He thinks I am ignoring him, when I try to answer him, but there are times I just can’t get things out. I can see the words, but they just won’t come out. I am 62 and I have had migraines since I was 12. 50 years of these things and at lease 42 years of hard meds. I wish I knew whether it was the migraines or the meds. I too make lists, use post a notes, use my best friend, write emails to other best friend, keep my passwords on the computer, use calendars, use pill containers to keep my obscene number of pills strait. I want the headaches to stop and I want the fog to go away so I can think again. I used to have a job where I could manage all the parts and equipment going into all the Air Force bases on the east cost and Europe. Now I would be lucky I could remember the names of the Air Force bases let alone the part numbers or the guys names. I can’t remember names, telephone numbers or how to spell words words any more. My Mom had Alzheimers, Is this early AZ or Migraine Fog? Who Knows? I don’t think the Doctors know either, and that’s scary.

  • Stace31601
    4 years ago

    AZ scares me, especially with my memory as it is now. I am 32 years old. AZ has been prominent on both sides of my family. My son, my family, my friends, and my co workers fill in so many of my sentences and remind me what I was thinking or what I even started to say. I have trouble getting what I am trying to say out, I can see it but can’t get it out of my mouth. Some times I hear what someone says but it is like I don’t process it, so they have to repeat it again for me (sometimes more then once).

  • menopausalmigraineur
    4 years ago

    Katie I too was a professional whose intellect was relied on. I ran multimillion dollar computer projects and kept details straight in my mind. 5 years after the migraines that had been “under control” since before puberty went to chronic daily clusters I had my husband , my two toddlers, and strangers in the street ending my sentences and supplying words…Mom’s Swiss cheese brain effect with the ever moving holes. My worst nightmare. Having a disability that affects my intelligence and being very much aware of that fact. I’m going on 24 years of daily grinding or piercing pain now and have whole areas of things and memories that I know I should remember and don’t because I have the physical proof that whatever it was happened. But lists and people you can trust and smart phone calendars are your friends.
    I use notebook aps religiously.
    Since my pills were always running out at different times of the month and I’m a diabetic with insulin and need to keep blood pressure I went to a bit simpler system than filling the box (plus I have neuropathy in both hands, hard to do when you can’t feel your fingers!)

    I have 2 open small slide colored boxes on my headboard that are labeled; one, Rx the other, vitamins, & my current insulin and some needles and a spare blood meter are kept there. On higher shelves are nicer unlabeled boxes with the sharps container, unused syringes, and test strips. The open Rx slide box has ALL my prescriptions in it. Except one that is in my purse I use three times a day. The other “daily meds get setup every night when I take my night meds and put into a prescription bottle in my purse (so they can be easily accessed and luckily they are all VERY different looking. This could be done at any time of day that consistent.) I have one other bottle that is labeled vitamins and has ALL the vitamins I take during the day in it that is filled at the same time when I take the one sublingual. This lets me properly space out the C and calcium, etc and I don’t have to flippin figure out where I am in the pill case. And since I look at the actual bottles nightly I call them into my pharmacy at that time and can make a note on my calendar. 🙂 When I pick new, I merge bottles, and recycle the old one. I also keep two extra bottles on my headboard one with an extra “day” setup, and one with my “night” pills because those I just pull from the bottles and take when I ‘m readying the next day and sometimes I ‘m sick or tired and don’t feel like it. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but actually it takes most of the thought and memory out of the process and I take so many pills I grew out of those boxes. When I got to three I realized it was ridiculous and I was spending all of my “good” time in a week managing my pills and not really living my life! It had to stop! Since I’m a project manager by bent as well as degree, it got organized! LOL Keep your humor with you at all times…and hopefully we’ll all figure out solutions and ways to deal instead of watching our careers and lives circling the drains that we can’t remember flushing them down.

  • Stace31601
    4 years ago

    Thank you. I have driven the same route to work for over 2 years and sometimes have to go back home and try again or break down and call someone, to help me find my way. I do not have a smart phone but I do use google maps religiously just out of fear. It feels like I do better with places I have never been to then places I go to regularly. I am one that if you read the side effects and stop taking if this occurs, well that is usually me. So the only treatment I am on is Botox (on my 3rd session), so now they are back to full force. I do not know why I am forgetful…is it because of the migraine, because I am in pain, is it because I am so exhausted, or is there something else that I do know about.

  • Diane
    4 years ago

    All of the above. Pain & exhaustion both effect the brain & can cause forgetfulness & so can “migraine brain”. I’m in the same boat. I have to write things down & then I forget where I wrote them. I constantly lose my train of thought & can’t think of the simplest words I want to say. It’s so frustrating but I’ve had to learn to live with it. In my case it’s also the side effects from the meds, but without the meds I have no quality of life so it’s a catch 22.

  • Sean
    4 years ago

    I know exactly how you feel, from the amount of meds to the memory to the making of lists to being very careful of what gets put into the trash. There are moments when I’m just clueless as to what my Dr. is talking about and wonder later why, its so obvious later and hate that there isn’t anyone I can bring with me when I have to see him. I’m making a list this time of things I need to ask him about but that’s only one half of it, remembering what I’ve said to him in response to questions and not believing that I’ve said so and so to him on previous visits when that’s not the case. Three of my relatives on my mothers side including her, went out with alzheimer’s but I’m only 55 and it didn’t hit any of them till their ’80’s, right now it’s just memory and misspelling words I should know, just getting letters in wrong place when writing, needing dictionary on a regular basis and thank goodness for spell checking. But yeah, I wonder too is it the migs or the meds or just all of it ?

  • 1f9jf4
    4 years ago

    This couldn’t be more me… It’s a scary feeling to have this happen to you. Trying to explain it to even your family makes you feel like an alien. I first blamed it all on the topamax I was taking but now I feel like all these years of excruciating pain have actually killed brain cells!!! It really is a lonely feeling, I keep wondering how bad it will get?!?!

  • bluebird
    4 years ago

    thank you for capturing this aspect of chronic migraine!
    grateful for a partner who sometimes will finish my sentences when I need the help and can doe it kindof seemlessly. I then have to not resent having my sentences finished when I am capable of finishing them myself!!!! My partner can’t always know I am able. Ironies of life with chronic migraine.

  • Nina Rose
    4 years ago

    I’m 21 and the “wait, what was I saying” happens to me on a regular basis. The most embarrassing time was when I was in a small class and whatever it was our tutor asked (I can’t even remember now), I decided to speak up and answer and said something like “they did some good things”, meaning to continue with what they did and suddenly all I could say was “like…like…I dunno…like…” I had completely forgotten what I was meant to be talking about and I turned to other classmates for hep but they obviously couldn’t guess what it was I wanted to say. So embarrassing, I’m going red in the face just thinking about it. I also sometimes kind of know what I want to say in my head but I can’t get any words out. It’s like I can visualise what I want to say but I can verbalise it :(.
    I’ve had chronic migraines since July 2012 and only recently started to get one or two days migraine free in a month. Hopefully that will make a difference to my memory. It couldn’t be an age thing in my opinion because I’m still quite young!

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