A few days ago I had a really weird and quite scary experience... I was at my parents house, playing PS3 with my youngest brother, when my father came upstairs here and told us that he had just woken up from a nap on the couch and... he couldn't remember anything :eek:
I had no idea what he meant so I asked what exactly he couldn't remember, but he just said he couldn't remember anything at all so I thought of some things to ask him, such as what he had had for dinner that day (I ate dinner with them while there so I knew what they'd had that day... and I also knew it was my father that made it, which is pretty rare).
He had no idea! Even though it was no longer than two hours ago.
When I told him we'd had spaghetti, and that he made it himself... he thought I was joking at first.
Then I asked if he'd called my mother (who was at work at the time) and told her how he was feeling... and he said he hadn't gotten around to that yet... so I decided to call her myself right away.
However, she already knew - she had spoken with him on the phone twice already, the last time less than ten minutes ago :eek:
That was when I started getting really worried... so I asked him about the dinner again, this was just a couple of minutes later... and he'd completely forgotten again!
I asked him yet again a couple of minutes later and - again it was completely gone.
He had also forgotten what date and day it was, and everything he'd done that day (and previous days as well).
I even asked him what color this house was before they painted it a few weeks ago... it had been yellow for years and years, but even so - he guessed wrong. In fact he guessed the color the house used to be *before* they painted it yellow, which must be at least 7-8 years ago.
He also kept asking the same questions over and over again, every few minutes... of course replying was of little use as he'd just forget it completely in a minute or two.
So I decided to call the doctor, the 'emergency service' thing you can call at any time to get immediate help... after telling the woman there what was going on, she told me she'd send an ambulance immediately.
My father wasn't pleased with that at all... he felt perfectly fine, he kept saying it was probably because he had just woken up... even when it had been over an hour since he did... I guess because he kept forgetting everything so it seemed like just recently to him.
But it wasn't just that... even though he could speak and behave quite normally, I noticed one very odd thing - his mood seemed very good and he would just laugh at how much he kept forgetting, as if he found it funny.
Now, normally he is quite the hypocondriac, so you'd think he'd be desperate to get to a doctor or hospital as quickly as possible, but yeah - he didn't think it was necessary so he protested when I called... and every couple of minutes until the ambulance arrived, as he kept forgetting so whenever I mentioned the ambulance (like when wondering when it would get there), it was news to him every time and he reacted the same way over and over.
As you can imagine, this was quite a scary experience... my father isn't exactly young anymore, he turned 60 a while ago... so when something such as this happens, you can't help but worry that this might be something really serious.
Luckily the story ends well - he got his memory back a few hours later, at the hospital... he didn't go all the way back to normal until around 24 hours later, but the worst part passed much faster, in around 4-5 hours.
After he left in the ambulance, I sat down at the PC here and started googling, trying to see if I could find any clues to what it might be... I ended up reading about something called "TGA" (Transient Global Amnesia) on Wikipedia and the description there really nailed the symptoms I'd noticed in my father.
So when my mother called me from the hospital the next day and told me they'd given him a diagnosis, I immediately told her to stop and not tell me... and asked if it was something called "TGA"... and it turns out I was right :cool:
Goes to show all you need to be a doctor these days is an internet connection :D
So to sum it up, TGA is a condition where they don't know what causes it or exactly what happens... they seem to know very little about it.
But the important part is - one thing they seemingly know is that it's nothing dangerous, people go back to normal without suffering any permanent damage and without a significant risk of it happening again.
Here's the Wiki article about the condition -
Some quotes -
[quote]Transient global amnesia (TGA) is "one of the most striking syndromes in clinical neurology"whose key defining characteristic is temporary but almost total disruption of short-term memory with a range of problems accessing older memories. A person in a state of TGA exhibits no other signs of impaired cognitive functioning but recalls only the last few moments of consciousness plus deeply-encoded facts of the individual’s past, such as his or her own name.[/quote]
[quote]A person having an attack of TGA has almost no capacity to establish new memories, but generally appears otherwise mentally alert and lucid, possessing full knowledge of self-identity and identity of close family, and maintaining intact perceptual skills and a wide repertoire of complex learned behavior. The individual simply cannot recall anything that happened outside the last few minutes, while memory for more temporally distant events may or may not be largely intact. The degree of amnesia is profound[/quote]
[quote]One of its bizarre features is perseverance, in which the victim of an attack faithfully and methodically repeats statements or questions, complete with profoundly identical intonation and gestures "as if a fragment of a sound track is being repeatedly rerun." This is found in almost all TGA attacks and is sometimes considered a defining characteristic of the condition.
(End of quote, my comment - had I not been so worried, this would have annoyed me quite a bit!).
[quote] In a large survey, 11% of individuals in a TGA state were described as exhibiting "emotionalism" and 14% "fear of dying"[/quote]
The bold part there is what I suspect my father was having, since his mood seemed so good and how he wasn't worried at all despite what was going on.
[quote]The person suffering from the attack may vocalize signs that 'they just lost their memory'[/quote]
Exactly that was the first thing my father told me when entering the room we were sitting in here, as I described earlier on.
Anyway, yeah... that was certainly something out of the ordinary... I've never seen anyone with such profound memory loss before, not even in movies (and yes, I've seen Momento... but the guy in there could remember stuff for longer than my father could).
I've naturally also witnessed older people, even demented people, where the memory is nearly gone... but in none of those cases have they forgotten as damn quickly as my father did.
That might sound odd, but keep in mind - even 5 minutes was way longer than my father was able to remember. In fact I think it was probably one minute or less.
I'm just glad it turned out to be something not serious at all! :eek::eek: