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Thread: memory problems that aren't related to medication

  1. #1
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    memory problems that aren't related to medication

    I imagine there are't many of us that don't take any medication for pain, bladder, etc. My body always built up a tolerance to pain meds so they stopped being effective and bladder meds have always had terrible cognitive side effects for me. I've been off all pain meds for about 3 years and all bladder meds for 1 1/2 years. However, I'm still having some memory issues. I'm not sure if it was related to my original injury in 2012 (motorcycle accident - T6 burst fracture - was wearing a helmet) or the fact I was put in a medically induced coma for a week after my accident/initial surgery. I have no memory of my accident before the coma. It makes more sense to me that it was the coma, as I have read there can be long term side effects from that. But I was curious as to what other people's experiences have been that are in similar situations as me, as to what initially caused their memory problems outside of medication.

  2. #2
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    C3 bike accident 8 yrs ago when I was 53, with laymen knowledge from experience.
    Yes, any anesthesia can affect memory. Especially when you are "put under" at an older age.
    Living it, happened to my mom, happened to my neighbor. Medical experts may disagree.
    I can only guess that an induced coma would cause more memory lose.
    Many things I wish I could forget. Thankful for memories of riding my Nortons' in the NE Georgia mountains, spanking the squids.
    Playing in my garage trying to make new memories has helped me alot.
    Kudos to you for reducing meds. Took me a few years to realize I was over medicated. A little pain is better than less brain (from meds).

  3. #3
    60% of people who sustain a traumatic SCI also sustain a TBI, which is often under or undiagnosed. Medically (drug) induced coma rarely result in brain damage. The fact that you have no memory of the accident (post-traumatic amnesia) also validates you having a TBI during your accident, in spite of wearing a helmet (also common).

    What type of memory problems are you experiencing? Short term? Long term? How often? How old are you? Have you discussed this with your physician/a neurologist?

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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    One of the medical professions best kept secrets is the potential damage caused by general anesthetics administered to older people. I know many surgeons who will do whatever it takes to avoid general anesthesia for themselves owing to this. Essentially, the way it was described to me is that, in older people, it's possible that parts of the brain don't "wake up" when the anesthesia is done. This can be observed in EEGs and certain types of MRIs I'm told.

    My father had ankle surgery at 72 and his brain never recovered. It triggered what might have happened later - dementia.
    T3 complete since Sept 2015.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    60% of people who sustain a traumatic SCI also sustain a TBI, which is often under or undiagnosed. Medically (drug) induced coma rarely result in brain damage. The fact that you have no memory of the accident (post-traumatic amnesia) also validates you having a TBI during your accident, in spite of wearing a helmet (also common).

    What type of memory problems are you experiencing? Short term? Long term? How often? How old are you? Have you discussed this with your physician/a neurologist?

    (KLD)
    I was never told about a TBI, not that it didn't happen. Or maybe I was told and forgot : ) Anyway, I'm in my 30's and my memory issues are hard to explain because they are both long and short term. Although they are short term far more often. Most of the time if I have to do something in a few hours I can remember it, but if its going to be a few days or more I have to set an alarm on my phone. When I was on oxybutynin, percocet, etc. I couldn't remember what I needed to do in five minutes. So its definitely better now, but not 100%.

    I also have weird things happen where I can't remember someones name that I definitely should know because I see or talk to them at least once a week. I also have to actively make sure I am listening to people, like my wife, when they talk to me because far too often I'm half way into a conversation and don't remember what we're talking about. I just have to be way more intentional about it than I did before my accident, so it's frustrating that things are a little "off" now, especially without the meds causing it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    60% of people who sustain a traumatic SCI also sustain a TBI, which is often under or undiagnosed. Medically (drug) induced coma rarely result in brain damage. The fact that you have no memory of the accident (post-traumatic amnesia) also validates you having a TBI during your accident, in spite of wearing a helmet (also common).
    (KLD)
    That is a useful statistic, KLD. My traffic accident as severe (broken neck and non-SCI fracture at T-3) and my helmet got broken so I have no doubt there was TBI. it was not mentioned in any of the medical records. I was in ICU for 11 days, drifting in and out of consciousness which was likely also related to the meds administered. When I saw blue color dripping down the white walls I thought, "OK, I'm medicated to the gills. Gills not working where is the nurse to suction me?" If I had never used LSD in my youth I think the hallucinations would have scared me silly.

    I had very strange experiences with my memory for months. I remembered numerous long-ago incidents and details, names, that had been lost to me for decades. It was as though my memories had been shaken up in a jar and tossed into consciousness. Within a few months I was suffering chronic short-term memory loss which, I'm happy to say, is finally receding after 11 years. That is an unexpected result for a woman of 69, but I've been working at building memory competence. The biggest improvement, I think, comes from losing most of the fear around memory loss. Fear mixed with any mental activity slows intellectual function quite a bit, so accumulated successes at remembering things, both short- and long-term, have eliminated whatever part of my problem was rooted in fear that "OMG, I won't be able to remember again!" My confidence in my own brain function has increased a lot. I am not saying my memory never fails me, only that it is much better.

    All the new research coming out in this decade about concussions and TBIs shows that the brain is delicate and even seemingly minor blows will cause measurable damage to memory and intellectual function. Be careful, folks- avoid falls!

    Brad, there are some TBI support groups online, including one in facebook. Sometimes learning that others go through similar problems is helpful.

  7. #7
    I had a tbi with my SCI and it was/is pretty grim. It’s worth finding a neuropsychologist (many focus on autism and adhd, so it can a challenge to find someone who works with adult TBI folks) for an evaluation and then possibly some follow up/a referral to someone who can help you figure out how to manage any ongoing deficits. Colorado has a pretty fair number of resources, but they are mostly around Denver and Colorado Springs.

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