This morning I woke up perfectly normally, with my young granddaughter in her bed beside me, and sunshine filtering in through the blinds. I had been up late making tahini balls and washing up, something hard to do when playing with a four year old. My husband was already up, having gone to sleep early in the welter of storytelling required to settle the little one.
I went out into the living room, poured myself a cup of ginger tea, then (apparently) curled up in distress clinging to the kitchen bench. S asked if I was alright, and I answered that I was extremely nauseous. He came over to hold me and I collapsed. My next memory is sitting on the lounge, with him asking me stupid questions, such as where do we live, what is this address? I answered full of confidence, giving our address from twenty years ago! I did feel annoyed at this interrogation. However everything looked odd to me. Why was the sewing machine on the dining table? I had completely forgotten all the current details of daily life. I forgot Eddy was having a sleepover with us, even though I had just seen her in our bedroom. I forgot our neighbour was in hospital where I had just visited her the day before. I was shocked to hear of her illness, then we were both suddenly worried that I might also have viral encephalitis. Everything felt weird. S took my BP, which significantly was not low.
Our son and his wife arrived, summoned by a desperately worried man. My memory was returning to normal, but again I felt dizzy and nauseous. I needed to lie down. That was the final straw. S had already made an appointment at the doctor’s surgery for 3pm … but now he decided we had to go to the hospital and be seen sooner rather than later. Was it a TIA? A ministroke? All my limbs seemed to work, I had no particular numbness. Well, we got to triage in the hospital, found blood sugar, blood pressure, ECG all normal, then sat down to wait. The Emergency Department had just been slammed. Ambulances were queueing outside. Two very ill patients were waiting for admission. A child with an arm cast was waiting for a referral to physiotherapy. Another child was scoffing packets of junk food and harassing his grandmother. A neighbour and friend who is a doctor noticed us in the waiting room and came in for a chat. Another neighbour and friend who is head of nursing just phoned us to see how I was, because after three hours we finally agreed to leave and go home for lunch, before seeing the private practice doctor in the afternoon. So sad to see the two very ill women waiting for admission, and no doctor in sight.
We had been warned about a crush in the waiting room at the surgery, with a nasty winter flu going through the population. When we arrived it was almost empty, and we got in immediately … no risk of catching the flu bug. The doctor (not my usual) was terrific, positive, friendly (yes, he is a friend, you know how small towns are) and told us it was looking like Transient Global Amnesia. Lots of tests are the way to the diagnosis, which is basically eliminating every other possibility. These are all scheduled for the next two weeks, but meanwhile life will continue as normal!
If you are interested there are two links… one to the Mayo Clinic on the word Transient, and the other to Wikipedia on the words Global Amnesia. PS S offered to take a photo of me looking normal, but I think I have one!