Memory and technology

By September 11, 2022Andromeda's Vortex

By Farah G. Decano


I have stared at death in the eye.  He was not there to take me though.  He was after my father.  I remember his last 72 days in our world.  While he was in the hospital, he combatted one infection after another, and other complications.  We could have easily surrendered him to the dark messenger, after all, he was 85 years old.  But no.  We refused to hand him over.

A few years earlier, my father expressed to me that if we valued someone, we must fight for his/her life.  Using the same standard, we waged war against his impending death.  With a tube inserted in his trachea, my father found his voice in me.  I spoke what I believed were my father’s thoughts to my family.   I also assured him that we would battle it out against the darkness that was swallowing his being.  He was supposed to be operated on when Mr. Joe Black aimed at my father’s heart and struck him with the ultimate blow.

Yes, our family may have lost Papa to death but we have triumphed against the lure of pragmatism.  We proved to Papa that our love will not be sacrificed at the altar of financial convenience.

Now, I am staring at another creature – a possible dementia.  This time, my mother’s.  I can imagine the slow fading of memory which, when full blown, is akin to death.  If her ability to recall slips, then it will be similar to losing a lifetime of experiences and events including all the people in them. I have no wish to be forgotten by my own mother.

How painful is it for a husband not to be recognized by his Alzheimer-stricken wife?  How frustrating is it for a child to be passed upon as stranger by his or her own parent?  I have heard all the drama behind memory loss.  And I am not going to sit here and allow this to happen to my mother.  I will resist any sneaky brain fog that may cloud my Mama’s memory.  Not so fast, Miss Demens. I have music, Bishop Socrates’ recorded homilies, and puzzles as weapons, including frequent lakwatsa!

How my Mama loves lakwatsas.  She gets dressed faster than me because she is scared that I will leave her behind.  “Singa ka mandaragem,” she tells me.   Yes, I move fast like the wind, so my mother knows how to cope with my alertness.  Sometimes, I’d wake up in the morning with her already dressed up, ready to go anywhere I intended to go.  I could only smile and shake my head.

Taking care of an older parent may be an annoyance to some, but with Mama, I am actually more amused!  She amazes me with her antics.  I am glad that she is more relaxed as she advances in age.  So relaxed that sometimes she manages to pull a trick on me.  I often wonder whether Mama was a headache to my grandmother.  Of course, Mama denies this.  She manages to do funny stuffs to and with me.  Oh well…what is that famous line again? “Anak ka nga ng nanay mo,” it is.

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With the recent discovery that our brain is neuroplastic, I believe that learning new skills is possible regardless of age.  The resistance to the use of a new digital system in teaching is understandable because of the complex methods that both the professors and students must imbibe quickly. 

There is nothing wrong with embracing technology for as long as the same does not pose any threat to health and the environment.  After all, systems are invented to make our lives easier.  All we need to do is to get the hang of it, and life will become better. 

I am beginning to enjoy L-NU’s virtual classrooms.  With just a few clicks on my mobile phone, I, as the Dean, am able to briefly monitor the holding of classes, check on the number of students per subject and monitor the assignments given.  And all these I can do while I am in the comfort of my home attending to the concerns of my mother.  What a happy convenience!   

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