Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Monday Memory Test and Dance

Most of Monday I spent at the VA hospital, having a battery of memory tests. There wasn't any poking or prodding, just lots of forms to fill out, questions to answer, and so on. The questionnaires on medical history and injury felt helpful in reminding me of some healthy habits that I could renew or revive, such as walking on days on which I don't formally exercise.
The afternoon memory tests included some attempts to make them part of everyday behavior. There was an exercise in looking at things in the yellow pages, using a laminated yellow page, and we joked about how that test might suffer in the future from the disappearance of that institution. 
There was a card game involving detecting rules in force in the context of changing rules. For cards were laid out, each with a difference symbol shapes, quantity and color. The game was to place a new card next to a stack and get the response correct or incorrect. At first I matched by number, which was correct. Then after about 7 placements, the rule changed. In retrospect, I don't know whether there was a set run of rules, or whether the gamemaster simply changed the rule every so often. Each time there was a rules change, I guessed that the next rule would be one that we hadn't done lately, and thus, other than each initial rule change incorrectness, I got no incorrectness at all!
In contrast, I feel I did poorly on the games that were watching a screen and hitting the bar immediately if the small picture was of a city but not of a mountain. To keep up the pace I hit the bar quickly and, it seems, before I really figured out the difference. The photos look very different when you look at them, but somehow when you're in a hurry, the urge to respond is faster than the pattern recognition, it seems. I had the same problem with a similar game involving showing letters.
I did pretty well with a game involving the use of symbols substituting for Arabic numerals. In fact, in the second such game - involving writing the Arabic number for each symbol, I nearly got to the last row of the form and in the final game - involving speaking the Arabic numbers for the symbol - I finished off the page. The investigator said she had not seen that before.
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After the experiments, and reminder of the next move (the PET scan) I brought up recruitment. They said that there was no organized recruitment for experimental volunteers, and that getting volunteers was an issue. I think this is something where VAF can be helpful.
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I was sure to get to Zumba that evening. It's my favorite exercise, and I get a lot of positive feedback which is healthy in itself. It was kind of funny last week when one of the women with whom I'd had occasional conversation - and whom Kris had said was flirting with me - mentioned her husband. I hadn't seen a ring, but I had mistaken polite, happy and normal conversation for flirting. Well, that's a lesson that it's never too late to learn. Anyway, I'm just dancing and having fun, and that is enough.
One dancer, with whom I was discussing the Saturday barre class, suggested I check out the barre class across from the Fauntleroy Y on Wednesdays. I am perpetually worried about finances, but I get so much from dance as exercise that I will think of this as an investment.

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