The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

November 18, 2012

Back in the games again

WASHINGTON — It is with some degree of shame and trepidation that I am about to make a confession. Those who don't know me particularly well may find it a little creepy while those close to me will, upon seeing the disclosure in print, simply shrug and say they've known it or suspected it for some time now and will wonder why in the world I would chose to go public with such a personal revelation.

In any event, here it is: I suffer from E.D.

My girlfriend and I have known about the condition for a long time but only recently did I decide to try and do something about it - for her sake as well as mine. It is my hope that, as is often the case with conditions such as substance abuse or depression, admitting the problem and talking about it openly will constitute an important step on the road to recovery.

Education Dysfunction is a condition that affects the hippocampus and the memory reserves located in the medial temporal lobe of the brain. Age, stress, and other health conditions can result in restricted blood flow to the area and as a consequence the brain does not function properly making acquiring and imparting education or knowledge difficult or impossible. Though common among males of my age, the condition is not normally something people talk about in public or in mixed company but I'm hopeful that by coming out this way not only will I improve my own chances for recovery but may also serve as an inspiration for others similarly afflicted.

Before the onset of the disease I was fairly adept at Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy, Bill OÕReillyÕs News Quiz, and other games that reward an abundance of essentially useless knowledge. Back in my hey day I routinely defeated both of my children in such contests and even held my own against acknowledged champions of the sport like my old law school friend Bill Beckman, my law partner of many years Harry Hanson, and the renowned Todd Lancaster here at the Times Herald.

But because of the ravages of E.D. I descended into the ranks of the second rate - barely smarter than the proverbial 5th grader, an embarrassment to my family, my peers, and myself.

Until finally, one day not all that long ago, I hit bottom. While soaking in a claw foot bathtub on my deck, aimlessly tossing baseballs through a tire hanging from a tree limb in my back yard, trying without success to remember the past three World Series winners and my grand daughter's middle name, I was suddenly overcome with self-loathing and despair. I knew there was a "V" in the name but that was all I could remember. Verda? Verne? Dear God, what's happened to me, I cried aloud then burst into tears, buried my face in my hands and thought fleetingly about drowning myself in the claw foot tub.

Instead, I pulled myself together and visited my doctor.

He told me about an assortment of medicines that might help, including the familiar Memagra, Cialory, and Limemtra. All target the temporal lobe he said, increasing blood flow to the area, making it larger, fuller, and sturdier.

After only a few days on the meds my performance in the game room returned.

My suddenly reinvigorated hippocampus spewed knowledge with a force and volume I'd not experienced since my 20s.

Suddenly I was ticking off the names of every World Series champion since World War II and their opponents. Song titles, lyrics, artists names and dates came pouring out of me along with a host of world capitals and even a handful of potent potables.

Like all meds of course, memory enhancers are not without risk. Common side effects include headache, flushing, indigestion, vision and hearing changes. And virtually all of the available prescriptions warn, "if you experience a recollection lasting more than four hours, contact your nearest liquor retailer or medical marijuana provider immediately."

Oh, by the way. Her middle name is Victoria.

***

If you would like to comment on this or any of Blake's columns, his email address is: blakechambers51@gmail.com

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