Some time ago I watched the video, Memento, a complex, often confusing movie that was rewarding, but hard work to watch. This was my second time watching Memento, and I have to admit it made a lot more sense the second time. One more time would help, too! At least two things make it a difficult movie to watch. It proceeds backwards in time, in a series of relatively short segments...and the main character (with whom the viewer identifies) has lost his recent short term memory, so it's a challenge to follow the action and make sense of what is going on.
The first reason I mention this movie (and the main reason I chose to watch it a second time) is that I have had a series of TGA (Transient Global Amnesia) episodes. Although not as severe as the disorder portrayed in the movie, and very short-lived (TGA typically lasts only about 4-5 hours), the symptoms are otherwise quite similar.
During a typical TGA episode I am unable to recall recent, mostly new information (names, numbers, dates...during my last encounter I had no idea what year it was, though I knew it was sometime in the 2000s), but am totally connected to who I am, where I live, etc. and have no trouble functioning (talking on the telephone, making decisions, etc.). Still, I can't remember certain details afterwards, and I repeat questions and comments over and over again (like an Alzheimer's patient) because I can't remember that I already said the same thing just moments ago.
Happily, this disorder generally manifests only once (although sometimes more often -- I have had it about six times), doesn't seem to be connected to any other physical or mental disorders, and as far as I know, is not predictive of any future cognitive problems.
The second reason I mention TGA is that I know of two other people on Ocracoke who have had TGA. My understanding is that it is an uncommon disorder. Information on the Internet suggests that the worldwide incidence of TGA is between 3 & 30 for every 100,000 people. The first doctor I consulted had no idea what was going on. But it seems strange to me that at least three people in this small community of about 950 people have had at least one TGA episode. There may be more, of course. But still, that's somewhere between 10 and 100 times the worldwide average. I'm wondering if the statistics for Ocracoke really are unusual. If you've had it, do you know of other family members or friends who have had it? Just curious.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of windmills on Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012113.htm.