There are certain...well, I hesitate to call them skills. I mean, there's no real amount of "skill" involved but...
Anyway, there are certain common, mundane tasks that I seem to have lost the ability to perform easily or completely successfully.
Some are mental, such as performing long division in my head, which I've completely lost the ability to do - I know there's something something remainders and one number goes into something something - but most are physical.
And when I say "common" and "mundane," I really mean it. These aren't tasks that require an unusual amount of hand-eye coordination, or supreme reflexes. I'm talking basic, everyday tasks.
Now, granted, there have always been basic, everyday tasks that I've had some degree of difficulty performing, given that I seemed to have been designed for maximum awkwardness - reaching over and picking something up, particularly something with liquid inside of it, without knocking it over, for example - but these are things that I used to be able to do reasonably well, or at least without any noticeable difficulty.
I first noticed this trend a few years ago with straws. I was at some restaurant and grabbed a straw for my drink, and, thoughtlessly and reflexively, as I had done so many times prior to that, I pulled at the paper wrapping to remove the straw.
I couldn't do it.
I remembered how to do it, but I just couldn't make my fingers accomplish it. I ended up shredding the wrapper in my desperation to release the straw from its imprisonment.
At the time, I laughed it off.
Then it happened again.
And yet again.
In fact, it happened every single time I tried to get a straw out of a paper wrapper (and it was even worse with plastic wrappers).
Eventually I had to learn an entirely new way to quickly and efficiently remove a straw from its wrapper, but even with that I only have about a 40% success rate on my first attempt.
The next thing I noticed was the trouble I seem to have with tucking in my shirt.
Invariably, in the back, it will just get all bunched up, and only the smallest portion of it actually makes its way into my waistband.
There are so many of these little, losses of seemingly unimportant skills that I notice every day- too many to list here - that, in total, I'm beginning to wonder if it's something I ought to be concerned about.
(For the record, the aforementioned inability to pick things up - and also the inability to hold onto things once I have picked them up - is getting worse, which, honestly, I wouldn't have thought was possible.)
Even more disturbing, I'm beginning to notice that I'm having trouble talking. Again, it's very minor, and it's also oddly specific.
The most noticeable is the difficulty I have saying "It's Jon."
Generally, it plays out like this:
(Join conference call)
Host: Hi, this is [Host]. Who just joined?
Me: Hi [Host], it's Jon.
At least, that's what I intend to say. What I actually say is:
Me: Hi [Host], issshshhhjon.
To counteract this, you would think that I might try saying something else.
Well, as God said in Time Bandits, "I'm not entirely dim," so the thought has occurred to me, but I am a creature of habit, so it's difficult to change the script.
However, I have tried:
Me: Hi [Host], thissshshjon.
Even when I try to simplify it by just saying my name, I find a way to bungle that.
Still, I haven't let it disturb me too much, because, as with the random, inexplicable pains, and moments of sudden weakness, I dismiss it with the thought, "Oh, right. Nerve damage."
After all, before getting my diabetes under control, I did, clearly, suffer a great deal of neuropathy.
Which is, of course, disturbing in and of itself, but at least I know what it is.
How I feel it about that is a different matter entirely, but it is what it is.
Or, as I'd be pretty likely to say if I were on a conference call, itishwhassissh.