My husband was a paraplegic, so he had been in his wheelchair since he was 16. In the old days, for married couples, if one was on a disability pension, the other couldn’t work. So we had a very limited income, and that’s before I got brain injury.

I don’t remember anything about how it happened, but I think I had encephalitis. It’s a kind of brain injury caused by a virus transmitted through mosquito bites, which resulted in severe memory loss. However, it is not like I don’t remember anything at all. In fact, the actual event is forgotten, but the emotion of the situation remains. For example, if someone who had been nice to me walks into the room, I would remember that I liked him or her without knowing why, and similarly, if someone who had not necessarily been nice to me walks into the room, I would remember that I disliked him or her.

Anything with a time deadline, anything that involves any kind of stress or pressure, or too many stages or steps makes me go into a panic mode. The worst is cooking, because I may forget how long something was in the stove and what ingredients I had added.  So as long as the task is very calm and very one-step-at-a-time, I am fine. As to deal with my memory problems, I’ve started to write everything down including shopping lists and lists of all the things that I’m trying to remember. It could even be something like “I’m mad at you because of this” if I have a problem with somebody. I will sneak off to somewhere alone and write it down so I can read it and carry it with me.

My advice to those who just obtained a brain injury is that you can help yourself if you work hard. Go towards something you’re good at because it really helps you to remember things, and always have a positive attitude.

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