An unfortunate mix-up

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2017

By Jean Brody

Just about the worst problem people have as they age is what happens to our brain.

I have written about this before, but I’ve got to tell you, when I wrote before I personally wasn’t having too much of a problem myself.

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Oh, I forget names and places I’ve been or how to get there, but without my car to drive, it did not trouble me too much.

I seemed to remember the important stuff until recently. Such was the case one morning last week. Let me tell you what I did because I think talking about what is bothering me helps, don’t you? It’s about my brain getting scrambled sometimes.

I was running late for breakfast. One of the last important things I do before walking down to the dining room is brush my teeth. When you’re in a hurry are you more apt to forget something or flat do it wrong? I do and my excuse this time was I was really in a hurry for my first hot cup of coffee.

You need to know that I have pretty bad arthritis in my knees and hands and, for years, I’ve been given an ointment called Lidocaine that I rub on my all those painful places twice a day.

It is essentially the same as dentists use to kill the nerve pain so they can fill, pull, and clean one’s teeth. Therefore, you can imagine how strong it is and how it works.

So that morning last week, in my haste, I picked up the two tubes to apply — Lidocaine and toothpaste. Without even turning on an overhead light, I sat down and opened the first tube. Rubbing it on my knees, my legs felt safe to make the walk down to the dining room.

Then, holding my toothbrush, I spread the other ointment generously across the bristles and began to brush vigorously.

It didn’t take but a few moments to know as my teeth, gums and even my tongue began to get plain numb.

The moment of truth passed through my brain. I, in my haste and loss of memory, had switched tubes. While my legs took on a sort of white glow but still hurt, my entire mouth felt dead as a stump.

When I tried to speak, I sounded like a Jerry Lewis mumble. My teeth sort of clanged together and the roof of my mouth didn’t seem like it was there at all.

I was even later for breakfast that morning. I knew if one bit of numbing Lidocaine remained in my mouth, my scrambled eggs would have slopped all over the table.

Lots of things begin to go wrong as you get old, but one of the toughest to deal with is memory loss.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.