Amnesia in accident

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by 63dot, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    norcal
    #1
    I had a head injury in March '93, major concussion, no seat belt, 40 mph, my idiocy basically.

    Since then I can remember everything pretty well since that point in time, but nothing before.

    Has this happened to anybody else? it came to light during high school reunion where most people knew a lot of details except for me.

    People, pre-1993 come up to me all the time in my small town and I have no idea of who they are. Post-1993 people, I have a very good memory of. Is the brain like a hard drive, when damaged, loses data? Apparently I recovered since I have an OK memory now, but only involving things after that accident. It's as if I got a new brain and started all over.

    Another thing, I was right handed before the accident in everything, but now I have a tendency towards being left handed in many things.
     
  2. Shaun.P macrumors 68000

    Shaun.P

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    #2
    Ouch that's very weird. Is there no type of therapy you could get where you try and focus on things pre-1993?

    Is your entire memory before 1993 wiped clean? Do you remember any of your childhood?
     
  3. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #3
    Very little. Wikipedia mentions something called retrograde amnesia where, let's say, from that example a concert pianist, gets into an accident, suffers amnesia, and will know what a piano is, maybe, but definitely forget "how" to play it.

    Luckily, I felt no pain during the accident. I always wear my seat belt today.

    The "cure", if you can call it that, is to be exposed to things, places, people before the accident. But how do you expose yourself to earlier things if you can't remember them? For instance, I went to Cal Poly before the accident, had great teachers, etc. but it wasn't until I actually drove back down there that a lot of memories started coming back. But really common stuff most normal people should remember.
     
  4. Shaun.P macrumors 68000

    Shaun.P

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    #4
    Are most types of amnesia not just temporary? Isn't this sort of verging on brain damage?

    What do your Doctors say?
     
  5. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #5
    Medical record says concussion, amnesia.

    Stuff comes back, and at different rates for different people. I have recovered some, but really have focused much more on my new life since the accident. I got married a few years later. I went to grad school. I have a new business. I have a puppy. There's plenty in the present to keep me busy and this was, in a way, a lesson to live in the present.

    I used to be very proud of my math skills. I had to relearn them and while better than average, they are not close to what they used to be. I don't know all my multiplication tables, for instance, I can't remember manual division, or geometry, but fondly remember game theory and statistical analysis, stuff way harder than multiplication tables. The earlier, easier math I learned prior to 1993, the harder stuff is all post-1993. But when I try and revisit simple math, it's as if I never did that stuff. I got a 690 on the SAT in math, out of 800, so I know I had this stuff down pat. It's just frustrating, but especially with pre-1993 people in my life who I may chance upon.

    When I was in high school, I was a shot putter, and the other guy doing that had bright red hair. We hung out a lot and did a lot of track meets. So I meet his platinum haired older brother on the street a few years ago and I believe it is the "red" haired guy. I was mortified that I could not remember my track partner and good friend from high school and that he had extremely red hair. How could I mistaken a platinum blond older brother for the same guy? It's only when the older platinum haired older brother mentioned that my friend, the red haired guy, was the one I was thinking about. These are not common memory mistakes. It sure sounds like retrograde amnesia but I am only guessing in the dark.
     
  6. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #6
    I'm no doctor, but this sounds like brain damage to me. If I were you, I'd go back to the doctor and get a CAT scan to see what might be going on. This isn't normal for a simple concussion. Especially if you're switching from right-handed to left for many things. See a doctor as soon as you can.
     
  7. Borjan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    #7
    Obviously, its all on wikipedia, but yes, from the sounds of things, you have amnesia. Retrograde amnesia to be exact, indicating that the memory loss is of before the accident.

    I'm doing a module related to it at university at the moment, and obviously whilst what happens isn't a good thing, I find it fascinating. I am no neurologist, but from university I know a thing or two.

    Basically, yes your brain stores information a little bit like a hard drive. Somehow, by billions of nerve cells firing and interacting with each other, you are able to store and retrieve memories. However, in your case, it is the brain injury you received meant that the cells in your brain lost connections with each other, that were vital for you being able to retrieve those memories. A bit like a main highway road suddenly being closed.

    Now, you can remember certain things right? that's because in a system with so many interconnections, you brain can use alternative paths to dig out some information.

    You've lived with it since '93 so I don't think you are in any great medical emergency. However, it is interesting that you aren't fully aware of whats happened, I would have thought the doctors would have filled you in. In any case, contact a local hospital and see if they can find time to explain things a little further. Like others have said, I'm sure they can help in pointing you towards therapy to regain some lost memories.
     
  8. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #8
    A few years ago, my father had an episode of Transient Global Amneisa. My mother nearly freaked out, and brought him to the hospital, where everything ended up just fine. I think the funniest part was that he called me about 4 or 5 times from the hospital to let me know he was alright. :D
     
  9. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #9
    My girlfriend had a little stunt kite accident some years ago and had a bout of amnesia. At first she got the date wrong (lost a weeks worth of memories), but over the space of a month they all came back and can now remember what happened moments before and after the incident. Suppose it wasn't as bad as a 40mph car accident though.
     
  10. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #10
    Though there were airbags in cars at the time nearly 16 years ago, my car had no airbags and having no seat belt on and going from 40 to 0 in less than a second and having my head break the fall is what caused the concussion. I am glad that your girlfriend got back all her memories as that is rare.

    People gain back bits and pieces and if they are lucky they get back most, but some get back much less like me. But what I don't remember I am not missing so I don't get that depressed. I would have really loved to remember the two homecomings and two proms I went to and that sucks that those exciting times are barely in my memory bank. I kind of remember my first kiss and that just faded into oblivion. I think it could have been the homecoming, or prom, or just some random night. It could have been foggy or it could have been a starlight night with a full moon, and those little details most people remember fondly are what I sorely miss. What little I remember I fondly remember and I hold it sacred. But my details of that type of life changing event simply pales in comparison to non concussion victims when we compare notes.
     
  11. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #11
    So today, I found out I was way into skateboarding before the accident, even though I skate now thinking I only really started getting into it now, even at my older age.

    Funny thing is, I don't know the "old" 80s style tricks, just the new skateboard style of this day and age. But one of the strange past people I knew said I was "really" into it, though, as usual I don't recall. It got me to thinking about the amnesia again.

    I do remember going back to the Cal Poly campus a few years ago and that brought back a certain portion, maybe most or certainly a comfortable amount, better than if I had not gone back.

    I met with an old Cal Poly roommate a couple of times and we reminisced and that brought back memories, or basically it helped since he is this really smart and that remembers everything. What is funny is that when I was down at the campus, I went to a nearby restaurant and ate some food that gave me a fair amount of indigestion. It wasn't rancid since I shared it with my wife, but it was probably something I can't tolerate. Certain, gassy vegetables or milk really upset my stomach. Thing is I ate the food not thinking twice so I forgot there was something that was not easy to digest about it.

    When I really feel brave enough, I am going to go through old photo albums and if possible, contact past people if they are alive. Since I am in my mid-40s, the adults of that period could long be dead. Let's say the average 45 year old can remember 40% percent of their past clearly and 20% percent vaguely, I would say that I have about half that so I am not that bad off, or I am in denial and should see the doctor, even this many years later. What do you guys think?

    The only adult, from my past I clearly remember, looks/voice/etc unfortunately has ahlzheimers and between us both, we are not exactly ken jennings. ;)
     

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