Several Tga Episodes Later I Am Now More Intrigued Than Scared.

After my first diagnosed TGA experience on 11 September 2005 aged 51, I found comfort in the shared experience of others via a website that has disappeared. I am glad there is now another forum.
Mid-morning I told my husband I was having the worst headache I had ever had and that he should take me to hospital. [The experts say a headache does not precede a TGA perhaps that is the perception rather than the fact simply because the sufferer cannot recall it.] I bathed, dressed myself and turned off the oven. All the way to town I kept saying I thought I had had a stroke. I walked into the hospital and when asked what was wrong, I told them I thought I had had a stroke. I did not know what day it was, or what year. I could not remember what I had done for the past week, then the past day. I recognised everyone who visited me but if my focus was drawn away from them for even a second, I would look back at them and welcome them as if it was the first time I had seen them that day, even though it was probably the fiftieth. I talked non stop asking the same questions over and over for around nine hours and then I “woke up” and started to retain longer and longer periods. I recall feeling like I had woken from a good sleep, but had cloudy memories of dreaming the same things over and over. The reality was that I had been awake and talking the whole time. At times I can recall the dreams and I now think I was existing on two plains at the same time, one in the “partly remembered dream world” and the other “unconscious awake world”.
At the hospital I was given a CT scan and a Lumbar Puncture but all were clear and normal.
I know all this because I have been told it. Some things I did that day feel like a dream rather than reality. Some I have gradually remembered but the effort of it was so stressful that it is better to just let it go. (easier said than done) I was told quite emphatically that I will never remember a lot of it.
I can understand why some people may feel they have been taken by aliens. If I lived alone or was in unfamiliar surroundings when this occurred, it would be very easy to put a sinister or mysterious solution to the lost time. I am grateful for my family's support and for their presence or it may well have been a much scarier experience. I used to fear Alzheimer's, but not any longer. I was oblivious and happy in my lapsing memory. Those around me were worried and very distressed.
Once I was fully aware I asked if the TGA could be linked to a migraine as I had an aura migraine precursor the preceding Friday and it is usually followed by a mild headache two days later (right on cue) Ah! Of course! The doctors were happy. A classic possible cause of a TGA is migraine. “Go home relax for a few days. This will probably never happen again.”
I felt fuzzy headed for several months, and had tingling in my head and fingers for over a year.
During the following week I saw a neurologist and was given an EEG (follows your brain function); and then an MRI and a Carotid Doppler Ultrasound Scan (checks the blood is flowing freely to the brain). The correct expectation was that they would all be normal. The neurologist said that the headaches and tingling in my fingers are most likely reaction to the Lumbar Puncture and may continue for up to a month.
I felt slowness in my “wit” and a difficulty in accessing my recent memories for some time. I functioned reasonably normally but for the rest of 2005 I had trouble with passwords etc., and for weeks I had to use manuals to complete even the basic tasks in my job. Thank goodness I have always prepared good manuals for others to use if I was suddenly absent from work; never did I think it would be me who needed them. I did not feel completely well or self-confident for almost a year.
I am sure I continue to have tiny memory losses of minutes here and there and recently have experienced a couple of longer episodes but not as substantial as the one in 2005. My concentration and my powers of deduction are still not what I had been used to although they improved greatly from those weeks following the 2005 TGA. I frequently struggle to find a word I need, but perhaps it is just the natural regression of age.
I clearly remember a day in March 2006 when I was having vastly varying work problems rapidly thrown at me. I quickly found solutions while I deftly continued to accomplish the always exhausting ordinary workload. Suddenly I stopped and declared “I’m back!” I knew that just a few short weeks before I could not have coped. I felt in control again. It was a great feeling.
I still carry a note to myself in my purse asking if I am having a TGA and advising me to call my husband on his mobile (and the number of course). I am convinced that if I was unsure of my identity I would look in my purse and my long term memory would allow me to know what a TGA is and its implications for me.
I was and still am an insomniac, but try hard to overcome that because when I get too tired I feel these “headrushes”, a feeling of pressure or “fullness” in my head. From what I have read I know that many of you know just what I mean. So I try to avoid stress and tiredness and really make an effort to relax when the “headrushes” begin. I am not always successful and have had a couple of comparably minor TGA episodes when tired and under stress. The first was in August 2011 while attending to the needs of my beautiful Mum and dealing with my sense of inadequacy to compensate for the many failings of aged care. During the second, which occurred this weekend, I realised I was experiencing that state of slipping into dreams yet awake and functioning. I was with my husband and realising it was a TGA I told him what I was feeling. We examined the day and found that I had lost quite big chunks of it. I was overjoyed to know that my long-term memory of TGAs did indeed kick in to help me through. A couple of days later my thoughts are still a bit sluggish, but there is no fear because I know that I will recover. There are much worse things than a TGA.
Eastick Eastick
1 Response May 8, 2012

At times I can recall the dreams and I now think I was existing on two plains at the same time, one in the “partly remembered dream world” and the other “unconscious awake world”. This is exactly what happens to me. My first episode is a complete blank but subsequent episodes start with a feeling of dread and then the "two plains" at the same time that you describe kick in. Also, if I write something or make a comment in Facebook, I remember doing it but don't recognize the comment afterwards at all. Never have had a complete blank-out again but several of these 2 plain experiences.

Hello and thanks for the reply. It is all a bit disconcerting isn't it, but I still think that if this was the worst thing I have to endure healthwise I will consider myself fortunate. However, I do worry a little that this may be just the beginning. With the benefit of hindsight and quite a bit of research I believe that my mother suffered from these episodes without ever having them diagnosed and that her awful final few years was due to (also) undiagnosed PPA (Primary Progressive Aphasia). I believe research is being conducted in a link between TGA and PPA. That is something we should all keep a close eye on. I find the headrushes (definately one of the precursers for the TGA episodes) stay away if I can manage to get enough sleep. Walking every day in the fresh air is my best way of managing that. Stay well and as my lovely Mum used to say "don't worry" if it never happens you have wasted a lot of happy time.