Monday, February 11, 2013


For years, DH has carried on about how bad my memory is.  When we dispute the past, he insists that his recollections are the only possible fact; that the way he has seen the world (or the way he thinks he saw it) is the way it really was.  I know that perspective can color memory, and so I am OK with the idea that we remember things differently, and that our members are selective - we tend to remember only things that are important to us.  But it really irks me when he refuses to acknowledge that my memories are real, insisting that if he doesn't remember it, it didn't happen.

In the past couple of weeks though, I have been completely vindicated.  In fact, two recent incidents have left me wondering if there are real problems with HIS memory.  To be sure, there have been hints of the infallibility of his memory for years.  The kids are the first to point this out, since it is the fine point of family "deals" that have most often been in contention.  For example: we don't generally allow the kids to download music with explicit lyrics, since there is usually a "clean" version that can be substituted.  But of course the lack of an edited version on itunes doesn't mean that one doesn't (or shouldn't) exist.  To keep the kids from insisting that no other version was available at the time of the download, we made a rule that if the 30-second sample contained a multitude of nastiness, purchasing the song would be verboten.  Naturally, some swear-laden songs have slipped through the cracks, even though the boys followed the rules to the letter of the law.  Dan has gone bonkers every time he's heard the kids playing one -- reiterating the main rule (no songs with swears), while they insist they did what they could to avoid them.  The end conversation has never turned out well, and the kids end up bitter that DH consistently forgets the details of our agreements.  I had always chalked this up to the fact that DH is a busy man with lots on his mind.  The disputes have tended to be about relatively minor things and I have been able to get both sides to move on to other things without too much disruption. 

Then, just over a week or so ago, OS reminded me that he really needs a new mattress.  This is a fact that is not at all in dispute.  He has been complaining for over a year that his mattress is uncomfortable.  And it isn't surprising - it is close to 10 years old and the indentations of his body are visible every time I change the linens.  No amount of flipping the mattress makes a difference - the mattress is simply worn out.  YS's bed has similar problems, but they don't seem to bother him as much (but in time we'll get him a new mattress, too).

When OS first starting complaining, DH was unemployed and it didn't seem like the best time to make a big purchase.  I compromised by buying both the kids new pillows and discussing other methods of getting comfortable enough to go to sleep (see my post on Catching Some Zzzzs).  There never was any question, though, that his mattress would have to be replaced and that once it was, OS would undoubtedly be more comfortable at night. 

So when we finally made the long-awaited purchase recently, I was shocked to hear DH carry on and on that he never knew how bad the mattress was.  Frankly, I wouldn't have been surprised if he had forgotten the whole incident (probably pretty minor in his life), but to have remembered that OS asked for a new mattress and not remember that he did so because he was uncomfortable and probably therefore not sleeping as well as he could was amazing to me.  Why then, did DH think that OS wanted a new mattress?  Our kids are not the type to just dream these things up for no reason.  OS was as surprised and baffled as I was by DH's reaction.  But DH insisted that although he knew OS wanted a new mattress, DH had never been told that it was because the old one was in bad shape and was affecting OS's sleep.  DH actually became a little angry as we tried to jog his memory, and so I let it go and we moved on...

...Until last night at OS's end-of-season sports dinner, when DH was downright hostile to OS's coach about the effect of a series of stingers that OS experienced this year.  DH was insistent that it was a shoulder injury not a neck injury, although the very definition of stinger includes nerves in the neck.  He went on and on about how he felt "ambushed" by mention of the slight bulge in the spine (seen on an xray, but not mentioned on the MRI report), even though I know we discussed it -- it was the reason OS had an EMG.  He accused me of withholding information, when in fact, it is his poor listening or memory that is to blame.  Just to be sure, I asked OS if he remembers the conversation as I do -- and he does.  So I'm vindicated!  And yet, I find this whole thing so worrisome... not just the hostility surrounding these incidents (although, for sure, that is a bother), but the key concern that DH is, in fact, losing his memory.

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