Perhaps the very first thing you want to do, when it comes to taking a memory test, is remembering that you took a memory test. There might be something else, but I’ve forgotten it. Marci and I were part of a clinical study a month ago, but I simply forgot to write about it.
As a bone marrow transplant recipient, my body has played host to many different oddities. Not the least of which seems to be my … my cognitive …
I have word retrieval issues, which isn’t a bit scary, being a writer and all. Apparently I’m not alone. So much so, that a team from Eastern Michigan University is testing the phenomenon which — until recently — I’ve pretty much just chalked up to Chemo Brain.
But no, even though Chemo Brain is real and affects a large portion of cancer patients, apparently those of us who’ve invited someone else’s stem cells to take up residence and play euchre in our bodies, have all had memory issues as well.
When I got an email asking if I lived within a few hundred miles of EMU, had a transplant, wanted to be part of a study, liked getting $25 for being part of a study and have never wittingly engaged in extra-marital affairs with a conch shell, I knew they’d found their patsy.
They wanted to study my “caregiver” too, so Marci and I had “the discussion” about shellfish love vs. un-shellfish love. Yes, she was clean too, but it’s always nice to check. So we invited the team over to our house and were a bit nervous until Beth and Natasha showed up.
Beth Gourley, a Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student and Natasha Fleming, a Masters Student in the Clinical Behavioral Program at EMU brought two different testing methods with them, computer-based and good old fashioned analog, 1970’s psychology exams.
DISCLAIMER: No electrodes were used in the study of Marci and Rodney, much to my chagrin.
While Beth took me outside to test my memory, Natasha stayed indoors to test Marci. Then we flip-flopped. I won’t bore you with all the crazy things we had to do. Some tests included remembering a geometric pattern, repeating a list of random words, tapping buttons in an increasingly complex order (much like that old Simon game) and trying to fit together shapes with our non-dominant hands.
I told them I wasn’t comfortable hunting for cheese in a maze, so instead they sent me to get some brie at Krogers, but told me to go a different way.
Okay, the shellfish and brie things were made up, but if I were doing a memory test, I’d definitely include them. Maybe that’s why I only made it to my sophomore year as a Psych. major.
The two women couldn’t have been more gracious and accommodating. We even had a mutual connection as our good friend had shot one of their weddings and lives down the street from them. It only took a couple hours and we have two, brand-spanking new Target gift cards and a blog entry as our payment.
If you are about to get a bone marrow transplant or have had one in the past few years, Beth would love to come to your place and study you too. I know that sounds creepy, but you can contact her here.
DISCLAIMER: Never mix shellfish and brie if you expect to live to tell the tale.