Hide and Seek with Words


Have you ever had one of those moments when you are telling a story and you can’t recall a certain word or name of a person? Whenever a word escapes me, I do 2 things. First, I look up in the sky for it. For some reason, I expect the word I’m looking for to just appear in a bubble above my head like you see in comic strips. Second, I start playing the word association game with the lucky person I’m with at that moment. I use some of the following phrases hoping that the other person will figure it out for me:

  1. It’s starts with this letter

  2. It means this

  3. You use it to do this

For instance, my daughter was listening to a song the other day by Booker T and the M.G.’s that I had heard before. It’s on one of the movie soundtracks that I own but I could not remember the name of the movie. I said, “I love this song. I bought the CD years ago. John Travolta was in the movie and I can see the CD cover in my head. It’s such a great movie but I can’t remember the name of it.” She started shouting out movie titles but none of them were correct. After we changed the subject and moved on, the title of the movie came to me and all of a sudden I shouted out, “Get Shorty”. She looked at me like I had 4 heads and said, “What?” and I said, “That’s the name of the movie soundtrack.” I knew it would come to me eventually. It can take a while to recall the word that escaped me but when I finally retrieve it from my brain, I feel relieved.

I’m grateful that I have a built-in excuse for my “brain fart” moments; I blame them on my Multiple Sclerosis. When I am playing the word association game with someone and they look at me after a few minutes as if to say, “Please spit the word out so we can move on”, I just say, “Bear with me. My MS has taken my word hostage but it will come back to me.” A friend of mine with MS has an even better excuse. She tells her family, “The word is on my lesion”. When her husband or son can’t recall a word and they try to use her excuse, she says, “No way. Find another excuse. That only works for people who have MS” and it’s true. Since our brains and/or spinal cords have lesions on them that inhibit our nerves from sending and receiving messages as they should, we sometimes have problems remembering. So, when we are in the middle of a conversation and we can’t recall a certain word or name we are looking for and it takes more than 60 seconds to retrieve it, our MS is at fault. Imagine playing hide and seek with your brain and the word you’re looking for keeps moving around and finding a new hiding spot. It may take a while to find that word buried in my brain and sometimes it escapes me all together but I am not a quitter. When I find the word, I shout it out with a smile on my face and when I can’t find it, I just make something up and my husband or daughter will call me out on it which makes us all laugh at the situation.

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