Sunday, October 29, 2006
BSF & MMI
These two acronyms can be very handy for an oldie like me, especially if you have embarrassed yourself as I did today. I met in my village an old acquaintance whom I had not seen for many years except, as I thought, on the previous day in the local town. "Hullo!" I cried jovially, "twice in two days - would you believe it, after all this time?" She gazed at me in astonishment and asked me what I meant. It turned out it had been someone quite different I had seen the day before, but on that occasion I had got away with it, and not revealed that I had thought she was someone else. What I should have done this time was explain that I was suffering from BSF and on that account should be forgiven - and then make a quick exit before she could ask what I was talking about.
If you have not come across the acronym, it stands for Benign Senescent Forgetfulness, and is something that many of you will recognise, I am sure, even if you have not yet done your three score years and ten. MMI stands for Multiple Minor Impairments, another common experience among older people, even if they are generally in good health. I rather fancy popping into my doctor's surgery and saying that I think I have 'an attack' of MMI, and trying to keep a straight face while he tries to decide how to respond. Seriously though, I do like to use correct medical terms if I can, because I love words of all sorts, and I like to learn and retain them if I can, just for the sheer pleasure of knowing.
But about this tiresome BSF: memory loss is an impairment due to age, like failing eyesight and hearing, creaky joints and hair loss, but those who do not suffer from it tend to be impatient with those who do, and what is worse, in some cases to attribute stupidity to them as well. This is painful and humiliating and does nothing to improve our self-confidence. I have examined my own experience carefully over the last year or two, and I am prepared to state that BSI has caused me no accompanying loss of intelligence.
The losses I am aware of are in my short-term memory; my ability to make quick mental connections between related information (such as writing a comprehensive shopping list), and to absorb a lot of information at once (such as scanning the supermarket shelves); my vocabulary and spelling also seem to have suffered, and perhaps to some extent my judgement. And my attention span is getting noriceably shorter.
But I believe that, albeit more slowly than in the past, I am still capable of imaginative and creative thinking; of planning and organising; of determining a critical path of action to be taken, and so on. And I hope that my blog, amongst other things, stands witness to my claim, of an enduring intelligence level at least no worse than I was born with.
[I have borrowed the two cartoons from The Oldie magazine, which I hope they will not object to, as they are just what I needed to illustrate my title for this blog. ]