I checked and it has been a week since I last wrote. I have been both busy and tired. In any event, I had a second set of tests this week. It lasted most of the day. Most of the time was spent on a variety of memory tests. For the last 3 days, I have been remembering different things we did and telling Andrea. So, I won’t be writing about all of the tests.
There was really only one surprise in all of them for me. When we had the previous appointment, he had asked if I had any fine motor skill problems. I had said no. Funny enough, I do. And it is something I never really noticed or thought of until them. You see, normally I have a tool of some kind in my left hand while I am working on something. And if I am picking up something small I always do it with my right hand. A habit built in by years of only having the coordination and control to effectively use tools in my left hand. I have a problem with picking up small objects with my left hand.
I did a 3 part test where I did something with my left hand for say 2 minutes. Then I did the same with the right. Now, before starting the test and having done similar ones before, I expected to do quite a few more with my left. The reason I was sure that would happen is that the larger motor coordination and control in my left arm is alot better than my right. But I didn’t do any more with my left. The time I saved in more precise movement, I lost trying to pick things up. The third part of the test was do the same thing with both hands coordinated at the same time. Between the deficiencies in the left and the right I only did 60% of what I had individually.
The only other thing that I thought would be worth mentioning besides the memory tests, was the math tests. I am really fast at math. In fact when I was in grade 5, I was faster at arithematic than my teacher was. I think the speed at which I do math in my head is troublesome to the whole issue of diagnoses (although I’m not sure of that). But when he was doing the tests he made note more than once of ‘very fast’. I was going somewhere with this and I lost it. That was 5 minutes ago. I guess it is on to the memory tests.
Now, in many ways I have a better than average memoty. But, in other ways it just plain sucks. It always did. I have noticed over the last few years that in the ways it sucks, it is getting worse. One of the tests was read me a list of words, I see how many I can remember. Read it again, I remember again. Now the thing is that there were 4 sets of 4 items in the list (although not in order). After 5 times, I could reel out the whole list a set at a time. Once I remembered what a set was (eg. vegetable), the 4 items were easy.
Then there was a list without any sets. Boy did I bomb that. So, the first thing I realized was that the more you worked it in ways in which it did not normally work well, the worse it got. Then we did a few other things. Now back to the list. What did I remember from the first list. I think I correctly listed all of them. How many could I remember from the second list? one. Then he read a long list of words (at least 40) and wanted to know if they were on the first list. I think I got them all right. Funny thing is that all of the second list was in there too. So, I remembered them from the second list if I heard them.
Realization 2 & 3 are that memory works great if it has a trigger of some kind and it works well on its own if I can implement a strategy. So, the issue is not really a memory one but a remembering one (i.e. recalling memories).
One of the other tests that really stuck out was a visual one of pictures of just people’s faces. So, first a face at a time for 2 seconds each. Say 20. Then a second set and I am supposed to identify whether or not I saw the person’s picture in the first set. Even though it was only 2 seconds, I remember faces really well and thought I would do really well at this. I thought that was going quite well until I saw one that I knew was a repeat in the second set. And I didn’t know whether it had been in the first as well. Then we did some other things for about 20 minutes. Then a third set of pictures, were they in the first set? Honestly, I was guessing at all of them. I had no idea whether or not they were in the first set. Aside from the memory issue, all of the first set were in the second and all of the third were in the second.
The one thing we did which I had alot of fun with (but only lasted a few minutes) were mazes. The last one took up more than half a page. Mazes on paper are one puzzle I was always good at. Before I touch pen to paper I solve them and find a path from start to finish using just my eyes. Then it only takes a few seconds to trace the route. They look so much neater that way. Besides you really don’t look that good at them if you have to backtrack with your pen 3 or 4 times.
If I think of more, I’ll write more. I am expecting either a report or more tests in a few weeks. I’m iffy on which way that might fall. I am somewhat expecting that the math speed thing is going to end up requiring more tests.