What were you doing last Thursday morning, Oct. 16, from midnight to noon? I’m asking you, because I have NO idea what I was doing, saying or thinking. And that experience left me both a bit frightened and quite humbled about the importance of memory.
I suffered a brief bout of Transient Global Amnesia, which is a sudden, temporary episode of memory loss that usually can’t be attributed to a more common neurological condition. It’s not a sign of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and I did not have a stroke. By definition, at least from the Mayo Clinic, TGA meant my recall of recent current events simply vanished. Consequently, I kept repeating the same questions because I couldn’t remember the answers I’d been given. My wife says that’s not that unusual anyway—ha ha.
Because I was still at home at the time (my wife noticed it about 6 a.m. when we usually start our day), there wasn’t a fear that I would get lost driving somewhere, and those who suffer it when they are driving don’t usually lose track of safety rules—they often just forget where they were headed.
By lunchtime, everything was back to normal. I remembered everything that happened before and after my TGA event, and even felt well enough to cover the Bountiful-East football game that night (something East would probably like to forget—a 49-7 loss). There were no after effects this past weekend, and other than reading just about everything I could find online and in print about TGA, we pretty much moved past it.
Amnesia always seemed like something Hollywood created in numerous movies and TV shows, a way a character could “suggestively” forget certain incidents or events to dramatize a story arc or be excused for their bad behavior. But it’s become very real to me now. The ability to recall is something that I will never take for granted going forward.
My wife said she tape-recorded some of our dialogue last Thursday morning, where I spoke to my boss, a fellow coworker, and her—and can’t recall any of those three conversations. She said nothing proved embarrassing. I’ll trust her on that one.
I’m sharing this simply because, as with a lot of the columns I post, I think some of my personal experiences serve as learning opportunities. Since my event, I’ve found myself more focused on the things that truly matter—family dinners, morning walks with my wife and our crazy dog, and phone conversations with my children who all live out of state, to name a few. I wake up every morning and immediately begin thinking about the day I’ve just enjoyed, and the day ahead of me.
We often hear about living one day at a time. That’s a little more significant to me now, especially realizing that almost half of one of those days I lived is nowhere to be found in my memory. I’ll cherish all the ones that are, and are yet to be, a little more.