Meridian Star

New Today

February 4, 2013

Virginia woman pieces together 17 years lost to amnesia

(Continued)

Some physicians have suggested to Shawnda that the cocktail of steroids and other drugs she was prescribed might have caused the memory loss, but Nath said that was unlikely. Still, he said that it's puzzling that she lost so much, so abruptly.

From 2005 on, Shawnda began counting her birthdays at zero, signifying that while her body is 38, she has only eight years and counting of life experience. She refers to herself pre-amnesia as "she" and "her," rather than "I" and "me."

She had to relearn virtually everything since adolescence. As her symptoms regularly confined her to the house and to bed, she watched TV for cues on the rhythms and tools of human interaction. The characters in daytime soap operas and syndicated sitcoms at night, especially "George Lopez," served as her examples of how to talk and act.

"I know that life is not a sitcom," she said in an interview in 2012. "But I also want people to understand that's how I've had to learn. I don't know any life any other way, because I lost my memory. People had the opportunity to come out of the womb and go through school and learn friendships and stuff. I lost all that."

She watched the same shows every day, latching onto anything that could become familiar in a hurry. She used her daughter's math homework to relearn multiplication tables. Even when Shawnda learned how to operate a cellphone again, she didn't know any of the names in it. Marsha told her what she could about the names she knew.

When Shawnda did try to reconnect with the people in the contacts list, their meetings were often awkward and pointless. Old friends would sometimes be frustrated that anything they brought up from the past was lost on her. For Shawnda, trying to explain what was wrong with her mind to someone she couldn't remember was exasperating. "I'd just sit in tears the whole time," she said.

Text Only
New Today
Biz Marquee
New Today
Poll

Do you think the city of Meridian should have tried harder to find funding to repair the dam at Long Creek Reservoir before deciding to drain the lake?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide