Renee and I are learning to play bridge and I’ve got to tell you, at 71 years old, it’s no easy task.  While on an everyday basis, I feel mentally sharp, I know I’m not as sharp as I used to be.

Prior to my DBS (deep brain stimulator) implantation, I had to take a battery of tests designed to elucidate just how sharp my brain is and what losses, if any, I’ve suffered. Over the years, I sent hundreds of patients for NeuroPsych testing, oblivious to how anxiety provoking the testing was but fully aware of how depressing the results could be.

Taking the test was certainly accompanied by anxiety. I was used to prepping for a test and then “acing” it.  I couldn’t prep for this test nor did I “ace” it.   I showed subtle cognitive losses consistent with Parkinson’s and my age.  Flash forward to today and the harsh reality of learning bridge.

Bridge has lots of rules, point scales and conventions (made up of predetermined actions) to be remembered and, frankly, I’m having trouble remembering all of them. Sure, I’ll eventually learn to play bridge, but in doing so, I’m forced to face my mental losses and deal with the depression associated with those losses.

Hopefully, by forcing my brain to learn new tasks, I can lower or reverse future losses.  I’ll never get used to making mistakes, but I’ll make them, nonetheless.  At least mistakes in a card game are not lethal. 

Your health tip for today is: Exercise your mind.  Play Bridge, Maj Jong, Wordle Crossword puzzles, etc. If you are not as sharp as you should be, see your doc.  There are treatable forms of dementia.

Here’s today’s joke:  Three old ladies are sitting around a table playing bridge and bragging about their sons…

“My Freddie,” said Margaret, “Everyone should be so lucky to have a son like my Freddie. Once a week he brings me a huge bouquet of flowers, he’s constantly bringing me out to restaurants to eat.  If I so much as hint that I want something the next morning, it’s on my doorstep.”

“That’s very nice about your Freddie”, says Gertrude. “But with all due respect, when I think about the way my Sammy takes care of me, it just can’t compare. Every morning as soon as I wake up, he greets me with bacon and freshly brewed coffee. Every lunch he comes over and cooks me a gourmet lunch, and every supper he brings me to his house for supper, he truly treats me like a queen.”

“WELL!” Says Barbara, “I don’t want to make any of you feel bad or anything, but wait until you hear about my Harry, twice a week he pays someone $200 an hour just so he can lie on their couch and talk to them, and who do you think he speaks about at those prices? asks Barbara with a big excited double chin smile, “I’ll tell you who he speaks about! ALL HE SPEAKS ABOUT IS ME!”

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