The man in the white jacket I has met earlier returns. He tells me that he is a neurologist.
He asks, “How are you doing?”
I shrug my shoulders and raise my hands palm up, shake my head and smile, meaning, I don’t really know how the hell am I doing! Do you?
But Chris adds, “She is doing much better. She’s starting to remember things.”
The doctor explains, “You have Transient Global Amnesia. We don’t really know what causes it. Over the next few hours, you should regain most of your recent memories and your ability to make new ones. But you may never remember this morning. By tomorrow you’ll be fine. This probably won’t happen again. But we want to keep you overnight for observation.”
That’s okay with me. My body aches, a foggy confusion clogs my thoughts and I am tired, so tired. I am relieved to be surrounded by trained medical staff for the night and machines that monitor my well-being.
I ask Chris for my smartphone so I can look up Transient Global Amnesia (TGA.) My eyes burn and tire as I try to focus on the small glowing screen. After a few minutes I quit. But I first discover a few facts.
TGA is a rare neurological event. When it strikes, you lose the ability to make short term memories. Most people also temporarily forget the recent past, from days to months. You know who you, family and friends are. You still have what’s called “procedural memory”, you can do those things that you do by habit, like talking, getting dressed, even driving (although you might not remember where you are going.) Your personality, ability to interact socially, and even your sense of humor remain intact. Although basic memory returns, some people have cognitive and memory loss symptoms that linger for weeks and even months. The doctor didn’t mention this.