Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July

Five years ago on the 4th of July, I had an experience with amnesia. It was a Sunday morning and I had gone to the gym by myself. My gym buddy, Melanie, was in Phoenix visiting her mother. I got to the gym at 9:30 and was to meet my sister for coffee at 11.

I did my treadmill workout and I watched the clock to be sure I was on schedule. I have a clear memory of it being 10:21. After that I apparently lifted weights, said goodbye to the gym owner, Bob, and drove home. I have no memory of that.

When I got home, I started calling my sister's house, a number I knew by heart. Over the next 10 minutes, I apparently called her 23 times. Each time saying, "I'm in trouble. Where are you? I need you."

Neighbors outside on a patio heard my phone calls and came up to investigate. The fellow suggested he drive me to the hospital. I got my ID and gave him my keys. At the hospital, I was able to give the receptionist my name and social security number and insurance card. I have no memory of any of this.

At 1:23 I came to, of sorts, in the emergency room. I was talking to my sister. I had been asking her questions, the same questions over and over. Her answers seemed to satisfy me (why was I there? what was happening to me?), but I couldn't remember her answers for more than a few seconds.

The cat scan, which I do remember, showed nothing. No stroke, no tumor, no lesions. Diagnosis: transient global amnesia. It had come and gone. It occurs mostly to people who have accidents (car, bike, swimming). No one seems to know why it happens or why it happened to me that 4th of July.

I found it fascinating and frightening. I was scheduled to come up here on retreat two days later and to spend the week here alone. I felt uneasy about that and about driving, but in the end, I did it and nothing untoward occurred.

I hadn't remembered about the amnesia until the fireworks started. Curious associations, memories of no memory. 

1 comment:

scotkamins said...

"I hadn't remembered about the amnesia until the fireworks started. "

For me, THAT'S the really interesting part -- that it took explosions to remind you of a terrifying event that happened a mere five years ago!