Transient Global Amnesia
Sunday, April 7, 2013
I stared at the screen of my iPhone where it said, “April 7,” and it seemed wrong, as if this was some sort of dream. “It’s not April!” I said. I stared at the screen of my iPhone where it said, “April 7,” and it seemed quite wrong, so I said, “It’s not April!” Unaware that I had just done this several times, I did it again. And again. And again.
So Heather tells me.
I remember none of it. Except, as I returned to normal after about thirty or forty minutes of this repetitive behaviour, I now recall looking at the screen, disbelieving that it is April, then slowly beginning to figure it out that, with a week to go before Heather’s birthday it has to be April. Somewhere in there I also looked at my emails, many of which were replies to messages that I had sent out last night, and at first they made no sense. I could read them; I understood all the words; but why that person was writing at this time was not clear. And yet slowly it became clearer... and I was myself again.
Except that Heather had already phoned Troy and Marysia. 1 I quickly typed them this text message: “Heather thinks I’ve had a stroke. I’m functioning now. But I wasn’t a short while ago. T.”
Troy typed, “I’m leaving now. Shouldn’t I bring Marisa?”
And I replied, “I would think so.”
They came, and the consensus was that whatever had happened, it demanded a trip to the emergency room. Marysia said, “Go to the St. Boniface Hospital.” And so we did. I knew something serious had happened to me, and I went along meekly, Heather driving.
We were seen pretty soon, but by this time there were no apparent signs of the event. I was measured, I was peed, I was bled, an intravenous needle was inserted into the back of my hand, “just in case,” and I was sent back out to sit with Heather in the Emergency waiting room.
And “waiting” is what we did. For four or five hours.
Troy and Marysia showed up around 1:00 PM. Marysia had baked some excellent cranberry bread, which she presented to me. It was much appreciated, because we had eaten neither breakfast nor lunch.
And the two of them proceeded to stay and keep us company for almost two hours! I really appreciated it.
I was finally shown into the examination room, and a pleasant, energetic young doctor came in to have a look at me. When he heard the story and tested my reflexes, he declared that I had not had a “TIA,” but very likely it was a “TGA” – Transient Global Amnesia. A TGA is something that is poorly understood, he said, but relatively harmless. He ordered a CT scan, and said that I would be given an appointment with a neurologist sometime in the weeks ahead. When the CT scan was done (and what a high-tech gizmo that was) it reported all systems normal, and the doctor said we could go home. Oh, and he also said that from now I should take a daily dose of children’s Aspirin.
We went by Troy and Marysia’s to report in (Marysia strongly agreed about the Aspirin), then had a lovely dinner at Swiss Chalet. And you had better believe, we were hungry!
Now back home and comfortably ensconced in my big recliner, I’ve written to all my kids. Troy evidently phoned some or all of his siblings, and Ariel called here, very concerned, so I figured I’d better email them to say that I’m alive and that my brain still works (as much as it ever has, anyway). And I looked up TGA in Wikipedia.
The Wikipedia entry describes what happened to me exactly – so I’m confident that TGA is indeed what has occurred. It also says, “TGA is universally felt to be a benign condition which requires no further treatment other than reassurance to the patient and their family.” Which is nice.
While I was writing this, Marysia came by. Troy had called a while ago, and I admitted to him that on coming home from the restaurant we had forgotten to pick up some children’s Aspirin. So Doctor Kosowan – our daughter-in-law-to-be – came barrelling into our apartment with a bottle of the stuff. I’m deeply touched by hers and Troy’s multiple attempts to care for me today.
1 Marysia Kosowan is Troy’s fiancée. She’s a medical doctor. Generally known as “Marisa,” she also likes to use the more elegant spelling, “Marysia.”
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