If you are in a geographic region where it gets really hot in summer, you’d have seen this interesting phenomenon. Sometimes, in the middle of a particularly hot day, it would drizzle, pretty heavily, and the moment the water drops touch the hot road, they would evaporate – poof. My thoughts have been like that this past week. So many thoughts overflow but just disappear as soon as they formed. The curse of midlife? Or that of the digital age that obviates memory?
Talking of memory, a scary thing happened a week ago. I had been suffering from migraine for days, and finally got to see my doctor. I took one dose of the medication he prescribed, and the headache disappeared. But the next day, I awoke with a wooly head, which I figured was just a harmless side effect that I could sleep off. Not so.
At a shop on that day, as the salesman swiped my credit card and asked me to punch in my pin, for the life of me, I could not remember it. Mind you, this is the card I use almost every day, and use the pin on an almost daily basis. I had not written this pin anywhere because I mean, how can you forget a four-digit number that you have used gazillion times in the past year? Apart from the vague notion that it started with a 3, I could not remember anything. The scary part is that that number is gone from my head permanently. Until now. I had to call the bank and change the pin.
Later in that day, I dozed off on a chair, and when I awoke to answer the phone, my head spun and down I went like a sack of potatoes. Thankfully, I had not passed out, and apart from being sore all over, I was alright.
The memory lapse and the fall terrified me. On a hunch, I googled the side-effects of the medication I had taken and bang – there it was – mental confusion and possible vertigo. I called my doctor and he prescribed another medication, but by now I was paranoid. My greatest phobia in the world is losing control of my mind and/or body, and I had lost control of both on one day.
I switched to lifestyle changes (earlier bedtime and better food habits) and took some traditional remedies (kashayams and choornams), and in a couple of days, my migraine was gone, and the mental fog lifted too. Whew !
But the funny part of this story is this. Before I googled the side-effects, I cried like a lunatic, hugged my family and said “I am starting Alzheimer’s, so if I forget you, don’t forget that I love you”. The kid and husband rolled their eyes until I was afraid, they’d popout.
As for the overflowing thoughts disappearing, I do not think that has anything to do with my mental prowess, just yet. Those thoughts were just passing ones, that did not command a more permanent spot in my working memory. I hope. Besides many of them were political, so they are better forgotten.
Lest I forget what I came here to write about, here goes.
My client in the US, wanted me to find research collaborators in the US for a few of our R&D projects. When I websearched using the keywords linked to the projects, I noticed something very interesting and probably disturbing – only one in 25-30 research papers in each of the topics (and they are not obscure topics but pretty state-of-art ones) was written by someone from America. Just a decade back, 90% of research conducted in my field were from America.
Does this mean that the amount of research being conducted in the US has fallen, or worse, does it mean, researchers in the US are not reporting their findings to the rest of the world?
I hope all of you are doing ok, as much as possible in these times. Stay safe and sane.