What’s The Word I’m Looking For?

This is what I woke up to today:                                                       

 Decreased kidney function leads to decreased cognitive functioning

Decreased kidney function is associated with

decreased cognitive functioning in areas such

as global cognitive ability, abstract reasoning

and verbal memory, according to a study led by

Temple University. This is the first study describing

change in multiple domains of cognitive functioning

in order to determine which specific abilities are

most affected in individuals with impaired renal


EurekAlert! managed to blow whatever was left of my mind before I even had my morning coffee. (I do relish those two cups of this java joy a day.)

I was stunned. I know I’ve been grasping for the right word when I speak and wondered why this was happening at the relatively young old age of 65. I’d accepted this would eventually happen, but later… you know, when I was old.

I started thinking about cognitive functioning and wondered what that really meant to me as a chronic kidney disease patient.

According to Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition, cognitive function is defined asan intellectual process by which one becomes aware of, perceives, or comprehends ideas. It involves all aspects of perception, thinking, reasoning, and remembering.”

Is that why I’m so slow to pick up the clues other people are dropping all around me?  Is that why I have sudden revelations about a comment or an event days, sometimes weeks, after they occur?

I took a little break just now to brush the retainer the sleep apnea dentist had fashioned for me. While doing so, I idly glanced at the sun-catching mock stained glass hanging over the utterly useless garden tub (Does anyone know the purpose of these things?) and the truly ugly duct tape I’d covered the window surrounding it with ten years ago.

Why had I never simply removed that ugliness?  There is a shade covering the entire window – mock stained glass and just plain glass – which I could lower if I wanted privacy. How is it I’d been bothered by the ugly gray duct tape for ten years and never realized it wasn’t necessary?  Was this part of ckd creeping up on me before I even knew I had it?  This does not bode well.

I have slowed down.  There is no question (Hah! I was about to write “in my mind,” but that would be cognitive, wouldn’t it?) of that. I see it in the way my lists have lists of their own.  I see it in my preference for doing film where you only need to memorize a few scenes each day, instead of theatre where you need to have the entire script memorized before the play opens. And I see it in the way I have to carefully order – in writing – what I’d like the class to learn each day for my college work.  I’ll miss that off the cuff ability I seem to have lost.

But wait a minute, what is this “global cognitive ability”?  Back to the dictionary.  I couldn’t find anything for global, but we   know that means across the board or including all aspects so I didn’t delve   any further into that part of the phrase. The American Heritage Medical   Dictionary tells us that cognitive ability is, “The mental faculty of   knowing, which includes perceiving, recognizing, conceiving, judging,   reasoning, and imagining.”So we are slower at these skills since we have ckd.  Add to that the slowing down we usually   associate with age and we are slower yet.

Well, no wonder I’ve noticed I’m slowing down! I have two separate causes for that.  But here’s the important part for me: I am simply slowing down a bit.  I am not stopping.  I am not giving up because it’s taking a little longer to figure out what it all means and what that word is I’m looking for.  So there is only one image in today’s blog.  Big deal!  I’ll live… and so will you.

There’s an old writer’s joke that is apt here.

Question: What is a synonym?

Answer: The word you use that means the same as the one    you wanted to use but forgot how to spell.

 It will get done, whatever it is.  I’m actually sort of comforted that there is a reason for my lapses, my stopping to think a little harder.  I’ve also noticed that my students seem to   think I’m smarter than I am when I do this. It’s that little five second delay while I choose my words that does it.

Lest you start to become upset at this study’s findings, I’m including a quote from the study which should set your mind at rest (I simply cannot avoid using that word today.).

“The brain and kidney are both organs that are

affected by the cardiovascular systems,” said

the study’s lead author, Adam Davey,

associate professor of public health in Temple’s

College of Health Professions and Social Work.

“They are both affected by things like blood

pressure and hypertension, so it is natural to

expect that changes in one organ are going to

be linked with changes in another.”

You can find the article at: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-11/tu-dkf111312.php

Bottom line: Everything affects everything, so why worry? Follow your renal diet, exercise, sleep and take any medications you need to.  Then have a good laugh (preferably at your own expense) and call me in the morning.  The findings of the study don’t change anything; they just help us understand.

Until next week,

Keep living your life.


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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Many thanks Gail, you really make my day!
    I am a stage 4 CKD 65year older young woman, and also have to find a synonym to complete my sentences. I must admit I was getting a bit
    concerned, although I have not yet voiced this to my children.

    I find your book comforting with the information I got, and have requested of my primary physician to refer me to a Nephrologist.

    Looking forward to your next blog.

    Yes, I keep living my life…..Shane.

    • Thanks, Shane. Have you read the book in addition to the blog? It has the same title. I wrote it because I had to research all the info the nephrologist gave me since I just couldn’t understand it in his office and I decided to share that research.

      But you say you’re stage 4; that’s not early stage. However, if you’re not on dialysis the book may help as much as the blog. You can get it in print or electronically from Amazon or B&N. If you’d like a personally endorsed copy, leave a message at 623-266-2609 and I’ll call you back to discuss payment. I’m so glad you find the book comforting (Secret: I do, too!)

  2. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

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