Monday, August 20

That Fine Narcoleptic Line

Narcolepsy can be tricky sometimes.

Everyone makes mistakes, has idiosyncrasies, or experiences periods of forgetfulness. Narcolepsy ramps that up to a whole new level. See, when the effects of narcolepsy are more dramatic (cataplexy, sleep paralysis, etc.), people seem more empathetic. But when the effects of narcolepsy are more mundane, people seem to doubt that narcolepsy is even the culprit behind the symptom. Consider the following:
My husband is often late for work. This is despite my best efforts in helping him to wake up well before he needs to leave, preparing his work clothes and lunch, constant notes and reminders (like the one next to the front door which reads, "Wallet? Keys? Meds?", and warnings from superiors at work regarding his tardiness.

My husband is extremely forgetful. (Is there a word stronger than "forgetful?") If he has a grocery list with ten items in hand, he'll forget one. He forgot to stop and gas up the car so often that we finally decided to fill the tank on the same day every week, but he still forgets occasionally. Often, he's only made aware when his car runs out of gas and stops on the side of the road.

It is impossible for my husband to repeat a conversation that he just had. If someone calls us, it's best to let the answering machine pick up if he's is the only one available to answer the call. He simply cannot relay a phone message. Immediately after hanging up, he'll hold his head in frustration, struggling to remember what was just said.
The list could go on and on. They may seem like your everyday idiosyncrasies, but for my husband, they are just more of the annoyances that come with having narcolepsy. For me, it's a reminder that there is a fine line between (stereo)typical husband behavior and a narcoleptic's unavoidable errors. Sometimes the line is so fine... that I forget it's even there. I must constantly remind myself that my husband hates making the same little mistakes repeatedly... and I ain't perfect either.


  1. Every time I read your posts all I can think to say is "Yep". The husband thinks the same thing. I'm tellin' you, you are writing our story. We always read it together and almost every time at least one of us has tears in our eyes. I wish more people understood.

  2. I have this exact problem. It drives my husband nuts but he does (sorta) understand. The closest thing weve found to a solution is for me to carry a notebook and pen at all times and to make notes on Everything! My friends are now used to it, hubby makes sure things get moved to calendar and strangers? Well, they just think I'm a crackpot but I'm not arguing :)