What Happened?

A funny thing happened on the way out of the gym on Monday – I forgot where I was. I’d like to tell the story of what happened next. It’s off-topic for MedShadow: We focus on the side effects of medicine. This is medical, but not side effects. I had an unusual episode and I want to know if any of you have experienced this.

I had just finished working with a trainer. Ironically it was a strength and endurance assessment to gauge my progress from the past six months of training. So before I started working out, the trainer, Carlos,  took my blood pressure and I wore a heart monitor during the workout. Afterwards I went to the locker room and that’s all I remember about my actions for the next 90 minutes or so. I remember exactly how I felt: I panicked because I didn’t know where I was or what had been happening in the recent past. Anxiety off the charts. Fear because I knew that something very bad was happening and I didn’t know what to do.

Fortunately, I was surrounded by caring people. Carlos immediately recognized my confusion when I left the locker room. He assessed my condition, walked me home and (I heard later) made me promise to call my doctor. Carlos called me 10 minutes later and realized I did not remember the promise. Carlos called my husband, who was on a business trip in Denver. Carlos offered to call an ambulance. Instead my husband called my doctor who started calling my apartment.

In the meantime, I’m told, my cleaning woman, Evelyn, also knew something was wrong. I responded oddly to her questions. I sat on a chair in my bedroom, staring into space, petting the cat. She told me to lie down and I started weeping. She said that I confessed I didn’t know what room I was in or where to lie down. She got me to answer the phone when my doctor called the second time and she walked me to a cab. She offered to come to the doctor’s office with me but I refused.

I can begin to remember things starting in the doctor’s examining room. I don’t know if I paid the cab or how I got from the cab to the examining room. My doctor was concerned it might be a stroke. My husband’s assistant, Susan, had by then arrived at the doctor’s office and took me to NYU’s urgent care. She stayed with me for hours as they gave me an MRI, EKG, echocardiogram, checked my carotid arteries for blockage and administered an EEG.

I was in the hospital for about 24 hours. No stroke, no dehydration, no heart issues. No seizure activity, no epilepsy. The diagnosis was transient global amnesia. The doctors aren’t sure why TGA happens or what triggers it. The neurologist claims it’s rare and “almost never” happens twice (I hope)!

I’m fine now! I had near total amnesia for about 90 minutes, then my brain cleared. I felt crappy for the rest of the day and the next morning (still in the urgent care area of NYU) woke up feeling 100% me. I never expect this to happen again. But it was scary! Have you ever experienced anything like this? Anyone in your family? Did it recur? Tell me about it on our Facebook page. I’d love to hear your story.

Suzanne B. Robotti

Suzanne Robotti founded MedShadow Foundation in 2012. Learn more about Su and her mission.

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