Brain Aneurysm Support Community

Involuntary selective Amnesia post op

My fiance was in the ICU for 2 weeks before they woke her up. I’m guessing that she gathered I was the fiance from all of the nurses. My point is that she doesn’t look at me the same. It’s clear to me that she doesn’t feel the same way about me as she did before all of this happened. She’s in her last relationship and treats me with suspension and an otherwise total disregard. I don’t know what to do. She doesn’t remember me.

How long it lasts for now? May be little by little it will get back to normal …

Hey Leporcha,
After such trauma it can take some time for those neural path ways to reconnect. For some of us (me) it was like I had a disconnection from myself and due to this I was confused and unsure of myself and all of those around me. I was also HIGHLY defensive, less trusting of anybody. Slowly (and I mean VERY slowly) I regained some trust. Being in a foreign environment, a hospital and being connected to machines/devices was highly disorientating. Trying to make sense of it all was overwhelming to say the least. In my view now, I had too much information to try and process all at once. My world had changed without my knowledge and I was suspicious of everyone and everything.

My wife brought me in some of my things which helped me re-orientate myself somewhat. Then when I was allowed to leave and return home I was back in my environment which made things a little easier.

One thing I must say here is that recovery is a slowly, slowly process. DO NOT and I mean DO NOT try to force that recovery process. How long does it take? as long as it takes. She may tire very easily and become frustrated and angry at the flick of a switch. This is normal, she’s been through a MAJOR trauma. It will take time to recover. She has had a brain injury, that is a major injury. Patience is a massive asset at this time.

There will be little things that will trigger memories and some things may never come back and may seem really confusing both to you and her. I found photos to be really good as they didn’t only remind me of the event in the photo but also things related to people and items some of which weren’t even in the image. Some days my recall ability was good, other days it was confusing as all hell, which got me frustrated and angry. Although my frustration was with myself, my anger was focused at others, which, in hindsight, wasn’t fair on those around me, but I had nowhere else to focus that frustration.

Your fiancé my seem disconnected at the moment, but please stick with her, she will be so thankful if you do. This is not an easy journey for anyone involved, that I can assure you of, but your love and support is worth more than anything at this challenging time.

The final thing I’d like to say here and this is VERY important, do not forget to also look after yourself. Often as a carer or loved one we focus on the other person so much and lose sight of self. If you do not look after you, you will be of no use to anybody. There must be a balance and not just a balance between you and your fiancé but also a balance of your needs, both physical and psychological. We often forget self at times like these, but it’s at times like these that we most need to remember to look after ‘Me’ too.
We are here if you ever need to chat.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team


Leporcha, I can’t tell you enough to listen to Merl. When I ruptured they told Cindy not to expect anything, they were expecting the worse. I woke up immediately told her to get my saw off the concrete floor. Things heal but it takes time, lots of time. Think of it has a bad flood came through town and washed the majority of bridges and roads out. There’s another way around it, but it’s unfamiliar territory and it takes time with a lot more detours. Eventually some of the bridges and roads will be fixed.

Stories of the two of you may help trigger some memories. Pictures like Merl suggested can help. If you notice her getting frustrated, stop for a bit. She’s probably trying to figure it out. If you’ve animals, talk about them, talk about daily stuff you do when you’re not visiting. Things the two of you would discuss after a day of work.

Remember she is not well rested. That is impossible in ICU. There’s all the machines making their noises and lights, all the interruptions from the doctors in the early mornings to the Nursing staff the rest of the day, then another round of the doctors. There’s the chaos of the other Neuro patients…the list goes on. The first time I was in Neuro ICU, I called it spa treatment. I wasn’t allowed to do anything except lay there. I was allowed to feed myself. The doctors flash that dang light in your eyes and then make you follow it. I told them quit blessing me, try the Star of David or something else, And then I got stubborn, very stubborn. I refused medication, refused part of the meds, succumbed to the looks of the RN. Decide to walk about week 2-3 and couldn’t remember how to make my feet work. A Christmas song I’d heard since childhood reminded me. Even now I have some difficulty remembering things that are usually short term memory issues, but I can remember things when I was very young.

Most importantly is Merl’s Message about taking care of yourself. And don’t give up on the relationship. Sounds like the two of you are supposed to be together at this time, in this place. Hang in there!

So sorry your going through so much when you Love her.But it dose take time for her brain to heal.Don’t give up hope your the one right there with her.I don’t remember parts after my brain surgery.But know their a lot of people who are sending prayers your way.Your doing amazing and can see how much she is loved by you.Maybe say things you did before might start to bring things back.Being next to her will show her you care.