The last 10 days or so have been a blur, almost literally.

In retrospect, Enhance Your Vocabulary Week, and the minimal effort it required, must have been divinely inspired. Otherwise, there might have been no blog updates.

I had just been whining to you about a sinus infection which, by the way, has turned into bronchitis. But this isn’t about me.

Last Friday, something very strange and frightening happened.

My husband lost all memory for six hours.

That morning, he got up, showered, shaved, dressed for work and then, as if a switch had flipped, so did he.

His retention was lasting no more than about 30 seconds. He didn’t know what day it was or what it meant that our calendar said “Beach” on the following day. He couldn’t tell me whether or not he had eaten breakfast and he didn’t remember dinner the night before or our son having just visited. Every 30 seconds the questions started over again, “what day is it?” and so on.

I took him to the emergency room where they saw him immediately. Actually there’s not much going on in the ER at 9 in the morning. They asked him a series of questions, none of which he could answer, except my birthday. When they asked him my name, he used my maiden name.

When asked who the president is, pausing a long time and synapses sizzling, he replied, “Obama, I hope.”

His EKG, CT scan and MRI came back completely normal, as did all the other routine tests. Within six hours, his memory returned, bit by bit, except the hours of the memory lapse—and he still doesn’t remember that.

They admitted him and kept him an additional 24 hours for observation, releasing him Saturday night. I then drove us to Rehoboth Beach, where we meet out-of-town friends every year.

Two hospital physicians and, as of Thursday, another doctor, agreed on one thing: it’s a mystery. One said it was a transient ischemic attack, often called a mini-stroke. Others said it was amnesia, which occurs suddenly, without warning, and typically never returns. Amnesia wins, two to one, until we learn otherwise.

Until now, amnesia has been a distant concept. All I knew was what I had seen in the movies, usually involving a helpless waif bumping her head and whispering, “Who am I, where am I?”

Now that we know it’s nothing serious, perhaps it’s best we forget it ever happened.

But before we do, I’d like to thank the special soul who stayed in touch with me throughout the trauma via dozens of text messages and by phone, the loyal friend who sat with my husband in the hospital all day Saturday and bought me dinner in the cafeteria, our dear friends who pampered us at the beach and the angels who left homemade chicken soup at our front door, as well as all those who’ve sent prayers and best wishes our way, including my cousins who are living their own nightmare.


Filed under Family and Friends, Health

11 responses to “Amnesia

  1. Marcy Fisher

    Monica and Marty: I like the “typically never returns” part. But you must feel shaken. How frightening. Be well and know that you have a large fan club rooting for your health and security. Marcy

  2. Carmen

    Riding on Marcy’s post, I pray this remains ‘typical’.

  3. How odd, and scary! Tell Marty we are thinking about him.

  4. Sheree

    Would have held your hand too had I known. Take care of yourselves and each other. And…don’t forget…we love you both!

  5. William Greene

    I am glad you filled us in after an apparent recovery. I once had a TIA and it is frightening. To think that Marty was suffering, even for six hours, would be more that I could bear.
    God Bless both of you.

  6. susan oppenheimer

    Monica, just now read this. Am glad to know Marty has regained his ability to remember. Know this scares you all. I am thinking of you with love and concern.

  7. Alyson

    We are relieved to know that you both made it through this Alfred Hitchcock scenario. Nothing beats beach therapy! Love to you all.

  8. Anne P H

    Oh my, Monica and Marty! So glad this is past and that Marty’s back to his ole wondrous self. Glad you had angels giving support. We’re thinking of you from a distance. Big hugs from Anne and Keene

  9. Marty

    Friends and loved ones are gifts from God. Having a mate who takes care of you 24×7 cannot be adequately described. Being able to show up at work on Monday morning is a very good thing.

    Thanks all…Marty

  10. Lou

    Just read the post and we are happy to hear the most recent good news right after learning about the scary part. May amnesia never return!

  11. Joyce

    Holy cow! Just read this and am so sorry to hear about your ordeal. I seem to recall reading an article in the Post health section about this very phenomenon. Let me see if I can find it and send it to you.

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