I recently had a new realization after reading the book, The Vow. Nathan and I saw the movie for Valentine’s Day and it became one of my favorite movies. The movie is based on the experience of a real couple who were in a car accident where the wife lost all memory of ever knowing her husband. She had to learn how to talk, dress herself, and find out who she was all over again. To this day she never regained any memory of meeting her husband. (One of my favorite parts of the book was that she was treated at BNI after the accident. Too bad that part didn’t make it in to the movie script.)
I realized that in a sense the trauma my brain went through before surgery AND by having surgery is similar in many ways to the trauma that victims of car accidents and plane crashes go through. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s okay that I still have all the daily struggles that I sometimes have. After all, I’m a lot higher functioning than I probably would be if I still had the HH. I have days when I think, “I had surgery eight and a half years ago so why am I still this way?” As thankful as I am that I am able to live the life I do, I still have days of frustration over being forgetful.
I have found that I tend to repeat myself to others when I am most concerned about something or want to make sure that I tell someone something before I forget to tell them. For instance, this past Saturday I told Nathan about three times that I was planning to go to the Monday evening church service rather than the Sunday morning ones that I usually go to. I often think of something and know that I have thought about it before, but wonder if I actually told anyone what I was thinking. People have called these my “blonde moments”. I prefer the term “post brain surgery moments”.
I know that as patient as people are with my slight forgetfulness that it can also be frustrating for them. I am grateful for such understanding friends and family. A couple of months ago a woman in my Bible study who knows that I struggle with my memory said to me regarding a personal frustration of mine, “Megan, this is the third week in a row that you have brought this up. You need to let it go.” I felt so bad because I hate finding out that I sound like a broken record to people. I then feel self-conscious about saying anything to that person at all for fear that I am repeating myself too much for them to deal with. I was also bothered by her comment because she knows how much I struggle with forgetfulness.
Nathan has often told me that I have a better memory than I give myself credit for. That might be sometimes true. I feel that I have a very random memory. I can remember my seventh grade locker combo, but I can’t always remember what I made for dinner three nights ago. My parents have even described my education as “Swiss cheese”. Many times when I forget something I wonder if that is normal forgetfulness or brain surgery forgetfulness. Sometimes I have even been known to change my mind and not remember that I’ve changed my mind. My short-term memory may never improve more than it is has and I’m okay with that. Yet, at times it is still frustrating. There’s a good chance I wouldn’t think about my brain surgery as often as I do if I didn’t still struggle with it. Who knows, maybe 50 years from now I’ll be living in a nursing home with the best short-term memory of anyone else I talk to there and they won’t even realize I’m telling them the same things over and over.