Thursday, November 20, 2014

Epilepsy Awareness Month Day 20: Memories

One impact epilepsy has had on Robert is on his memory.  I don’t quite understand why he has memory problems (which have definitely increased as time goes by) but I am positive it has to do with his overall decline from epilepsy, his brain surgeries, medications, head trauma and uncontrolled seizures. 

Robert and our childhood dog, Tara
Rereading that sentence makes me realize that I do understand why he has memory problems but I don’t quite understand the mechanics and details of it. Whenever I am unclear on something going on with Robert, I do some research and then talk to his neurologist about it.  Epilepsy Action “the UK’s leading epilepsy organisation” addresses the topic of memory problems in people with epilepsy.

Robert’s neurologist is aware of his memory problems but we haven’t done anything yet to resolve them.  I am not sure there is anything that can be done considering he has to be on all of the medications he is on and the damage to his brain from the traumas and surgeries has been done.

Sometimes after a seizure, Robert is confused and doesn’t know where he is or who we are. Recently, he has had trouble remembering who I am, in particular.  He has even said things like, “You’re not Trish” or “You’re like a sister to me” but these have been after a seizure. 

This morning, I was driving Robert to Day Program and was talking about the weekend when Robert said, “My sister Trish is going to pick me up that day.” 

I did a double-take (it was a quick one since I was driving).  It is possible he had a quick seizure that I didn’t notice but it was very disconcerting.  Eventually he realized I was Trish but it took a few minutes of talking to him for him to realize it.

What is amazing to me is that he remembers things from when we were kids (better than I do) but can’t tell me what he ate for lunch. (Although, he was able to tell me that he did not have Rocky Road ice cream last night for dessert so it was Rocky Road ice cream night tonight.)

Robert started telling a story at dinner out of the blue.  I grabbed the camera part way through and captured him talking about moving out to California, his favorite book which he read as a young boy and also about changing schools when he was in high school. 

He said he had to change schools because he was having too many seizures and the school asked him to leave.  I don’t remember this but don’t doubt it one bit. 

It broke my heart a little.

The clip shows how Robert struggles for words at times and also searches for a memory that he just can’t quite reach. 

The background noise is distracting so I apologize.  I didn’t intend to film him during dinner but didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to capture his memories. 

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