Danger! Exploding Melon! Or A Day With Transient Global Amnesia

  • Saturday / March 19, 2011

Danger! Exploding Melon! Or A Day With Transient Global Amnesia

Just when I thought my life might be falling back into place … my melon exploded! It’s difficult to explain, it’s harder to accept … Transient Global Amnesia.

The Investigation

It seems I lost a day of my life. Not figuratively. Literally. It’s difficult for me to frame the story, because most of it has been pieced together through investigation and other people’s first hand accounts of the events. Watching all those episodes of “NYPD Blue”, “Law & Order”, and “Homicide: Life On The Street” may have paid off in some odd way … helping me cull information and try to make sense of what happened to me through an investigation of the facts.

Transient Global … WTF???

Transient Global Amnesia (TGA).  It’s the medical term for what I experienced Friday March 11, 2011. At some point after 3:00 PM my ability to create new memories ceased. Though I was able to walk, talk and see I was not able to remember that entire day. It was as if I was sleepwalking for a good part of the day. Even though I was conscious in the eyes of others, from my perspective there was nothingness. Quiet, painless, darkness. Nothing more. My brain just said “TMI” and flipped a switch and my brain turned off. Radio silence.

TGA Info:
Definition Of Transient Global Amnesia

Definition Of Transient Global Amnesia

Transient global amnesia is a sudden, temporary episode of memory loss that can’t be attributed to a more common neurological condition, such as epilepsy or stroke. During an episode of transient global amnesia, your recall of recent events simply vanishes, so you can’t remember where you are or how you got there. You may also draw a blank when asked to remember things that happened a day, a month or even a year ago. With transient global amnesia, you do remember who you are, and recognize the people you know well, but that doesn’t make your memory loss any less disturbing. Fortunately, transient global amnesia is rare, seemingly harmless and unlikely to happen again. Episodes are usually short-lived, and afterward your memory is fine.

Symptoms Of Transient Global Amnesia

Symptoms Of Transient Global Amnesia

Transient global amnesia is identified by its main symptom, which is the inability to lay down new memories and to recall the recent past. Once that symptom is confirmed, ruling out other possible causes of amnesia is important.

Necessary symptoms for diagnosis

Doctors base a diagnosis of transient global amnesia on the following signs and symptoms:

  • Sudden onset of memory loss, verified by a witness
  • Retention of personal identity despite memory loss
  • Normal cognition (ability to recognize and name familiar objects and follow simple directions, for example)
  • Absence of signs indicating damage to a particular area of the brain (limb paralysis, involuntary movement or impaired word recognition, for example)
  • Duration of no more than 24 hours
  • Gradual return of memory
  • No evidence of seizures during the period of amnesia
  • No history of active epilepsy or recent head injury

Additional signs and symptoms

These signs and symptoms sometimes accompany memory loss in transient global amnesia:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Chills or flushing
  • Fear of dying
  • Pins-and-needles sensation
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Powerful expression of emotion
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Chest or neck pain
  • Visual disturbance
  • Racing heartbeat

Episodes of transient global amnesia last only six hours, on average, and there is no lasting damage. When an episode is over, you remember nothing that happened while your memory was impaired, and you might not recall several hours beforehand. Otherwise, though, your memory is fine.

When to see a doctor

Anyone who quickly goes from normal awareness of unfolding reality to confusion about what just happened requires immediate medical attention. If the person experiencing memory loss is too disoriented to call an ambulance, call one yourself.

Although transient global amnesia isn’t harmful, there’s no easy way to distinguish the condition from the life-threatening illnesses that can also cause sudden memory loss. In fact, sudden amnesia is much more likely to be caused by a stroke or a seizure than by transient global amnesia. A medical evaluation is the only way to determine the cause of sudden memory loss.

Causes Of Transient Global Amnesia

Causes Of Transient Global Amnesia

In many cases, an episode of transient global amnesia can be traced to a physically or emotionally stressful incident shortly before symptoms began.
Among the triggering events commonly reported are:

  • Sudden immersion in cold or hot water
  • Strenuous physical activity
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Medical procedures, such as angiography or endoscopy
  • Acute emotional distress, as might be provoked by bad news, conflict or overwork

The underlying cause of transient global amnesia is unknown. There appears to be a link between transient global amnesia and a history of migraines, though the underlying factors that contribute to both conditions aren’t fully understood.

Risk Factors Of Transient Global Amnesia

Risk Factors Of Transient Global Amnesia

Interestingly, high blood pressure and high cholesterol — which are closely linked to strokes — are not risk factors for transient global amnesia. Your sex doesn’t seem to affect your risk, either.
The clearest risk factors are:

  • Age. People age 50 and older have a higher risk of transient global amnesia than do younger people.
  • History of migraines. If you have migraines, your risk of transient global amnesia is significantly higher than that of someone without migraines.
Complications Of Transient Global Amnesia

Complications Of Transient Global Amnesia

Transient global amnesia has no direct complications, but it can cause emotional distress. If you have an episode, the gap in your memory can be unsettling, and you’re likely to worry about a recurrence. Also, a symptom as dramatic as memory loss often heralds a serious underlying disease. Transient global amnesia is an exception, but it can be hard to let go of the fear that you have a tumor or had a stroke.If you need reassurance, ask your doctor to go over the results of your neurological exam and diagnostic tests with you. A counselor or psychotherapist can help you deal with persistent anxiety. Importantly, transient global amnesia is not a risk factor for stroke.

Preparing For Your Appointment

Preparing For Your Appointment

Anyone who experiences sudden loss of memory for all events leading up to the present needs emergency medical care. Call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to an emergency room. If a friend or family member develops these symptoms in your presence, go with him or her to the hospital.If you have time before you leave home or on the way to the hospital, use the information below to get ready for the appointment. Because your loved one doesn’t remember recent events, you’ll need to provide critical information to the doctor.

What you can do:

  • Note any physically or emotionally stressful events leading up to the memory loss. Important details include conflict or anxiety at work or at home, strenuous physical activity, sudden immersion in hot or cold water — anything that may have caused your loved one alarm or strain.
  • Note any accompanying signs or symptoms, such as numbness, weakness or trembling.
  • Write down key medical information, including any other conditions with which your loved one has been diagnosed. Also write down all medications he or she is taking.
  • Stick with your loved one through the full medical evaluation. Sudden memory loss may indicate a serious health problem. Take an active role in soaking up all the information the doctor provides and making decisions about next steps.
  • Write down questions to ask the doctor.

Prepare a list of questions to ask the doctor on your loved one’s behalf. Although people experiencing transient global amnesia can think and speak, it’s likely that they will be feeling severe distress.

For transient global amnesia, some basic questions include:

  • What is most likely causing my loved one’s symptoms?
  • What are the other possible causes for these symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests do you recommend?
  • Is any treatment needed now?
  • What signs or symptoms should I be watching for at home?
  • What signs or symptoms should prompt me to call 911 or emergency medical help?
  • How soon do you expect my loved one’s symptoms to improve?
  • Do you expect a full recovery?
  • Are there any steps my loved one can take to prevent a recurrence of this problem?
  • What is the risk of long-term complications from this condition?

In addition to the questions that you’ve prepared to ask your doctor, don’t hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don’t understand something.

What to expect from your doctor

The doctor is likely to ask both of you a number of questions about your loved one’s symptoms and about the period leading up to the memory loss.

The doctor may ask your loved one:

  • What is the last thing you remember?
  • Do you know who you are?
  • Do you know the person who came with you to the hospital?
  • Do you have any symptoms other than memory loss?
  • Are you dizzy?
  • Are you having problems with balance or coordination?
  • Do you feel weakness or numbness on either side of your body?
  • Are you having any vision problems?
  • Do your symptoms include headache?

To determine the extent of memory loss, the doctor may check your loved one’s knowledge of general information — such as the name of the current president — and assess his or her ability to recall a random list of words.

The doctor may ask you:

  • When did your loved one’s memory loss begin?
  • Did the memory loss come on gradually or suddenly?
  • Has anything like this ever happened before?
  • What happened just before the memory loss?
  • Did your loved one experience an accident that may have injured his or her head?
  • Has your loved one recently experienced significant stress, conflict or loss?
  • Has he or she had a seizure since symptoms began?
  • Has your loved one been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
  • Does he or she have a history of migraines?
  • Has your loved one recently undergone any medical procedures or surgery?
  • What medications is your loved one taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, herbs and supplements?
Tests And Diagnosis

Tests And Diagnosis

Diagnosis of transient global amnesia rests on excluding more-serious conditions — stroke, seizure or head injury, for example — that can cause the same type of memory loss.

Physical exam

  • The process begins with a neurological exam, checking reflexes, muscle tone, muscle strength, sensory function, gait, posture, coordination and balance. The doctor may also ask questions to test thinking, judgment and memory.

Brain and imaging tests

The next step is to conduct tests that detect abnormalities in the brain’s electrical activity and circulation. The most common of these tests are painless and take less than two hours each:

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG). An EEG records the brain’s electrical activity via electrodes affixed to the scalp. People with epilepsy often have changes in their brain waves, even when they’re not having a seizure.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan. Using special X-ray equipment, CT machines obtain images from many different angles and join them together to show cross-sectional images of the brain and skull. CT scans can reveal abnormalities in brain structure, including narrowed, overstretched or broken blood vessels and past strokes.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This technique uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed, cross-sectional images of the brain. The MRI machine can combine these slices to produce 3-D images that may be viewed from many different angles.
Complications Of Transient Global Amnesia

Complications Of Transient Global Amnesia

Transient global amnesia has no direct complications, but it can cause emotional distress. If you have an episode, the gap in your memory can be unsettling, and you’re likely to worry about a recurrence. Also, a symptom as dramatic as memory loss often heralds a serious underlying disease. Transient global amnesia is an exception, but it can be hard to let go of the fear that you have a tumor or had a stroke.If you need reassurance, ask your doctor to go over the results of your neurological exam and diagnostic tests with you. A counselor or psychotherapist can help you deal with persistent anxiety. Importantly, transient global amnesia is not a risk factor for stroke.

Treatments And Drugs

Treatments And Drugs

No treatment is needed for transient global amnesia. It’s resolves on its own and has no confirmed aftereffects.



Because the cause of transient global amnesia is unknown and the rate of recurrence is low, no standard approaches for preventing the condition exist. Some doctors recommend daily aspirin to improve circulation, on the theory that reduced blood flow may be the cause.If your episode of transient global amnesia followed a particular activity, such as a strenuous workout or a vigorous swim in a chilly lake, talk with your doctor about what’s safe going forward. He or she may recommend that you limit or avoid the activity that seemed to trigger your memory loss.

If you read all that … wow! Is your head ready to explode? Lot to take in? Lot to parse? More information than any one human should have to know? Sort of how I felt, probably before the “episode”, and most certainly after.

Meanwhile … back to my story …

If  not for eMails I sent out that day, my cellphone call log, or text messages in and out, I’d have no record of ANY events that took place on Friday March 11, 2011. I think I woke up. I think I had breakfast. There were dishes in the sink … but who knows.

8:00 AM: Woke up. Got out of bed. That’s just an assumption based on past history.
9:00 AM:I made and ate breakfast?
10:50 AM:Text message from my sister in NJ.
10:54 AM:Call from Dr Rosenfield to confirm my Monday appointment.
10:54 AM: Reply to my sister’s text message.
11:14 AM:Mom called me … 2 minute conversation.
12:59 PM:Chris eMails me his plans for the weekend.
1:05 PM:Sent myself a group of “notes” as a backup via eMail.
2:10 PM:Received an eMail from Seattle Short Sales asking for IRS 4506T form.
2:13 PM:Sent response to Seattle Short Sales asking for more info and the form.
2:14 PM:Googled for 1506T form, found it & downloaded it.
2:15 PM:Client called. I logged into her computer remotely and fixed some issue she was having.
3:10 PM: eMail Seattle Short Sales completed 4506T forms.
3:47 PM: eMail reply from Seattle Short Sales Re: My completed 4506T forms.
3:58 PM:Brenda posts a message to my Facebook wall. I get an eMail notification. I sort of remember that … but didn’t respond then because I was going to do it later.
4:58 PM:Text from Chris. (no response from me)
5:48 PM:Chris sent same text again. (no response from me)

Looking at the list of events, it seems I was “fully functional” between 8:00AM and 4:00 PM. But it’s the time between 4:00 PM and 9:00 PM that are a total mystery.


At 9:00 PM I called my ex Chris who was two hours north in Bellingham, WA. From what I’ve been told by Chris, I called him and told him I didn’t know where I was, what day it was, that I was afraid, and that something was really really wrong. I sensed that much. He immediately called my best Friend Amy and conference called us together. Then Chris dropped off the line and called our friend and neighbor Harriet. Once Harriet was on her way to me, Chris left Bellingham to drive to the emergency room. Amy stayed on the line until Harriet showed up. At which time Amy left her home to come to my place. Harriet rang the condo doorbell and I walked down the stairs to answer the door. I opened the door, recognized Harriet and she came in.

Once upstairs she started asking me questions. I kept asking her over and over again, “How did you get here?” To which she answered, “Chris called me.” This is one of many questions that were asked and answered over and over again. It’s part of what told Harriet something was seriously wrong with me and to call 911. Harriet came down so quickly from her condo “up the hill” from us, that she was still in her pajamas.

Sorry Rock & Ro!!

Just as the medics were taking me out the door (on a stretcher?) Amy pulled up. Harriet stayed behind to feed the cats, seems I forgot to do their usual evening feeding, which I do around 5:00-6:00 PM every day. Oops! Sorry Rocky, Rosie, and Angel! Amy followed the ambulance to the UW Medical NW Hospital emergency room. Harriet then went home to change into her clothes, and soon after came to  the emergency room, which is only five minutes from the condo. Being Harriet has a medical background, it was a good thing she was there from the beginning to “document” what was “different” about me to the  med staff in the ER. She also knew a little about my history too.

What day is this?

Once at the ER the “fun” began. I’m told I asked the same questions over & over & over again. What day is this? How did I get here? I’m hungry! There were others but those were the big ones. At one point Harriet wrote “Friday” on a sheet of paper in BIG letters and put it on a clip board. So every time I asked what day it was they just held up the sign. As a patient no one in the ER had ever seen a case of Transient Global Amnesia (TGA) ever. Rather dubious honor indeed. So doctors, and staff marveled at me as I asked the same questions over & over, in the same tone, with the same delivery, every time. Again … all this recounting is culled from those who were there and has percolated through my still fuzzy brain all week. The ER staff also marveled at how tough my skin was. I was told that the staff bent needles trying to get IV’s in me. Nice! A physical manifestation of how I’ve had to live my life? It’s all one big mystery.

Do the math!

Harriet told me that every time they’d asked me my birthday, I’d tell them 1/20/57. And every time they asked me how old I was I’d say “Do the math!” Every time! When they asked me what day it was, I didn’t know, nor the month. But I did know who was president of the US … the Obaminator!


The hardest thing for me to wrap my brain around since my episode of TGA is the concept of consciousness. During the time I could not form new memories, I saw nothing, heard nothing, felt nothing, though I walked, talked, heard and saw what was going on around me in everyone else’s eyes. So was I truly conscious? I still say that I didn’t “wake up” until somewhere around 11:30 PM or there about. Each time I would open my eyes I’d see myself in a hospital bed, with medical staff whirring around me and tubes and wires attached to various parts of my body. And as I looked over to the left of my bed I saw Chris, Harriet, and Amy. At that moment I was starting to form new memories again. I even remember one of the ER staff saying that. Of course as I was able to form new memories I asked fewer of the SAME questions. Though the last time I had to ask what day it was I finally remembered seeing the sign “Friday” that Harriet had made.

The Awakening

As I was now “awake” and forming new memories, I was told what was going on. That I had an episode of TGA, they explained what TGA was, and how I got to the hospital. I was also told that while there, I was stuck poked, prodded, questioned, had a CT scan of my mellon, blood tests, etc etc etc. None of which I remember … even now. So from 4:00-ish PM to 11:30-ish PM is a total mystery to me. What I did, where I went, what happened just a big question mark. A hole in my space time continuum. Once I did “wake up” and I was making new memories, both Harriet and Amy decided they could leave and Chris stayed with me until they released me at 3:00 AM or so.


On the way home Chris stopped at Safeway and bought some peanut butter, jelly and bread, and made me a PBJ and a glass of milk so I could take care of the “I’m really hungry!” It felt strange and good to be back home. I hugged the cats an awful lot. Somewhere around 4:00-4:30 Am I went to bed. No sleeping pill needed. Head hits pillow and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I’ve been sleeping on the couch since my left shoulder surgery months ago. But the cats didn’t let me sleep long. Around 7:00-ish they were stirring. I got up, fed them, then tried to go back to sleep, with not much success. So I got up at 8:00 AM. Fuck! Made breakfast for myself too. Around 9:00 or 10:00 AM the hospital called and wanted me back in for more tests. They didn’t like that my hemoglobin levels were so high, and the neurologist now wanted an MRI/MRA.

Day 2

Around 11:00-ish were back at the hospital emergency room. The short version … more blood drawn, a shunt for contrast dye put in my arm, and the MRI were all done. We were there another 7 hours … more or less. The end result. Nothing. No stroke, no blown blood vessels, nothing! On one level … that’s good. On another … WTF??!!??!! So back home it was. The only thing was my blood pressure was still high, so they gave me Benzapril for that. One tab, once a day for the next month, and see where we are.

A Week Later

It’s been a week and a day since it all happened. I’ve relived it every time I’ve talked to someone. I’M FUCKING TIRED! With reason I guess. Saw my primary and had him give me my testosterone shot so I wasn’t also “coming down” from not having received it on Monday. Also saw the neurologist (Dr Gordon) on Thursday. He was pissed that they let me go from the ER on Friday. He’s actually launching an investigation why they did. In talking to me he doesn’t see anything wrong with any of the tests that were done. Though he sent me for an EEG. Did that yesterday. Waiting on results now. He also want me to go for a spinal tap to be certain my Sarcoid hasn’t involved my nervous system. He’s consulting with my pulmonologist and Sarcoid specialist Dr Raghu before I get tapped. Yippee fucking Skippy! And the beat goes on!

The Wrap Up

Okay … I”m done. For now. Even writing this is draining. Maybe I’ll write more to keep folks informed in another post at a later date. But this was way too draining and took me a week to complete. But if you read to the last word … WOW! Thanks! You do care! : )

To wrap it up … Joe’s okay. Or as okay as I can be after having gone through something so traumatic. Thanks to all my friends and family for their love, kind words, and support … and especially to Chris, Harriet, and Amy for all they did. I love you all! Thank you.

Joe Streno

Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his two cats rocky & rose & living to tell tales about it

Blog Comments

I can’t thank you enough for sharing your experience. Your humor, encouragement, and practical information are exactly what I needed to hear today.
My TGA was a week ago; I’m 67; my story resembles yours and those of the comment writers. I’m at that point of “shouldn’t I feel normal by now?!” and keep double-checking myself to see if I know what day it is. The brain fuzz and overwhelming tiredness are worrisome, but reading that others experience such things is a huge help.
Great quote about fear. :)

Joe Streno

Sally …

I can’t believe I missed this. But here we are 10 months later. Hopefully by now you have totally recovered. It’s been 8-ish years since my episode and it’s something I will never forget—kind of ironic.

It’s all so overwhelming as we go through it. Coming to terms with something we take fo granted: memory & conciseness. When/if we get Alzheimer’s we’d never know as we slip away. But with a TGA episode we’re very aware of what we lost in the aftermath.

And yes: “Fear is the mind killer.” A little contemporary Dune/Yoda-ish philosophy certainly can’t hurt—especially if it rings true and resonates. In the aftermath of a TGA episode we need all the help we can get to overcome our fears.

I’m glad that everyone here who has shared experiences has helped you.

Take care & be well.


Thanks Joe. I’m currently in the hospital as my mother was brought in due to confusion and memory issues. She’s been asking the same questions all day long; what day is it, how did I get here, did I fall, who locked up my house, etc etc. It’s going on hour 12 and I hope she gets sleep soon. (Plus memory)

Joe Streno

Hi Erika …

Sorry your Mom and you are going through this. But if it is a TGA episode, this too shall pass. The weird thing … when I was having my TGA episode, even though I was “awake” and talking through the whole thing, it was just a big black nothingness. It’s as if nothing happened from earlier that afternoon until I “woke up” … as in …started making new short term memories. It really was like waking up from a long sleep. There’s no other way of explaining it.

Hopefully by now your Mom’s come of the “darkness” & is “waking up”.  I’m glad you found my TGA post and it helped—even a little.

Hope your Mom is feeling better.

Be well … Joe


Hi there, I’m another person to join the ranks of TGA sufferers. It happened to me three weeks ago. Out with a friend having coffee and next thing I know I’m sitting in A and E with my husband. The three hours in between are total blackness as if I had had a general anaesthetic. I was convinced I must have passed out but my friend told me I just got up and walked out of the coffee shop. Luckily she was sensible enough to get me to the Emergency Room. I thought then maybe I’d had a stroke. I’ve had lots of tests with OK results and I am now awaiting an MRI to rule out a stroke but general consensus from medical profession seems to be a TGA episode. I am still trying to come to terms with it and trying to find out what caused it but it appears there is no explanation. The only thing I have in common with previous comments is the possibility of infection. My blood tests showed raised white cells and urine test had blood in it. I have been fighting chronic cystitis for over a year and I just can’t help but think they may be related not to mention all the medication I am on. They gave me a short course of antibiotics but like everyone else I fell fuzzy, headachey, tired and very dizzy for about two weeks afterwards. I am in that period of feeling frightened, nervous and wondering why it had to happen to me and complicate further an already complicated life. I want to burst into tears all the time. Can I drive again, can I do sport again – I like to ice skate? Dare I go out on my own again? Do these things come with time although like you said the thought of another attack will always be there lingering in the background. Also like you it made me think that consciousness is the ability to process each and every moment as a memory to build up self awareness of your own existence.

Joe Streno

Hi Jane …

Sorry you had to experience TGA. The first thing I can tell you is DON’T WORRY! The likelihood of you having another episode in this lifetime is so small it’s not worth the energy or anxiety. The further you get from the episode the more it will fade away & you will become less hypersensitive. Also trying to figure out the “why it happened” is also not worth the brain cycles. There are so many things that can cause a TGA episode it’s not worth the effort or the worry. Making sure it was not a stroke et. al., is worth the effort. But like most, all the tests will come back negative & you can get back to your life.

Think of TGA like tripping and falling. You never know when you might stumble. You never know what the outcome might be either: skinned knee, broken bone, or fatality. It’s all so arbitrary & SO out of our control … why worry! Get back to day to day life ASAP. Enjoy the things you love to do & leave the worry behind.

I know it may be easier said than done … but … time will be your ally in this. The more you carry on with your life, getting back to the things you normally do daily, the better off you will be. Yes you can drive. Yes you can ice skate. Yes you can go for coffee. To worry about if it will happen again is what will have a bigger toll than another TGA episode.

Enjoy the quality of life you have each and every day & carry on. It’s the best anyone can hope for.

Good luck & be well … Joe


Thank you Joe. I think it is still quite raw with me and I am so pleased to talk to someone who understands what I am going through. I don’t think my husband has grasped quite how terrifying the experience was. I know it is only a few weeks since it happened but I am having episodes where I think I am losing my grasp on reality. Things keep popping into my head and I am not sure if I have experienced them or they are from dreams I have had. I have to say the medication I am on at the moment does give me vivid dreams and so they seem to be crossing over with my real life but sometimes I wonder if it a residual effect of the TGA and the memory part of my brain is not yet back in full gear.

Joe Streno

Yup … only 2 weeks out … you’re still very raw; and that’s okay!

Like anything else in life no one will know what you’ve gone through except someone who’s gone through it too. We all have to cut our significant others, friends, and family some slack. They will NEVER know what we’ve been through, or the emotions we may feel. Get what comfort you can from him/them, but if you need to talk—find a therapist—it can’t hurt & can only help. I too have been on drugs that have caused very vivid dreams. TAKE A DEEP BREATH and let it all go. Even if you are not a writer, journaling about what you’re going through may help release what you’re trying to keep stored in your brain—you’re on overload. Give yourself a break. Writing about what’s gone on & is going on can help unload your brain & if you look back at what you’ve written days or months from now, it can also give you a sense of progress. Even if it’s just creating a Word file on your computer & writing in it. Don’t complicate the process … just do it! Just an idea. But if you can afford it, or have insurance to cover it, find a therapist & go unload! It can only help you navigate all you’re going through & relive the pressure on friends & loved ones to be your only means of support.

Having no one to talk to about my episode is kind of why I posted about my episode. It was a way for me to talk about it—if only for myself. But as you can see, so many others have found this post & get some sort of comfort from it—I hope. ????

TGA is rare. Very rare. So distance & time will help calm things down for you. Even after only 2 weeks your brain is still adjusting & you are trying to process a whole lot of information. Your brain is in hyperdrive & working overtime. Find something to help you release & let go. Yoga? Running? Exercise? A long walk? Whatever works for you. Don’t let fear hold you down or hold you back. Friends & family can only support you so much—because they have no clue what you’ve been through. You are the one who’s going to get you through this. Do what you must to try to relax, release, heal & keep moving forward—one minute at a time—one day at a time. You’ll get through this .. just give it & yourself time to heal.


I am 55 years old and suffered a TGA while working out with my trainer last Monday, I was hospitalized for 2 days to have Ct scan and MRI completed. It has been a week and I have a ongoing headache, although not debilitating it is there. I was search the web to see if anyone else suffered from this. I was reassured to read you had experienced this and eventually it went away. Thanks for posting you experience , it has set my mind at ease. I will give it some more time for my brain to recover.

Joe Streno

Hi Jennifer,

So sorry to hear you had a TGA episode. Glad my post brought you a little comfort.

Like anything else in life, healing takes time; all we can do is wait, & keep moving on.

Hope your headaches subside soon.

Take care & be well … Joe


So I am 3 weeks out from my TGA experience and am FINALLY starting to feel normal again. The first week was a bit rough with a residual headache, anxiety and extreme tiredness but I am past that now. I’ve modified (shortened) my morning workout but have resumed doing it daily and am moving on. Thanks, Joe, for your comments which were extremely helpful in getting me mentally past this. My fear is diminishing and almost gone and looking back now the story is humorous to me… Yay! I wanted to come on here and update and mention a curiosity I have…. I went to a chiropractor about 10 days after the event to get a “peace of mind” adjustment since I hadn’t been in for several months. He was truly concerned about how far out of alignment my C1 and C2 vertebrae were and even suggested having xrays done to rule out any possible fracture scenario. I’ve done this and all is fine. I feel so much better since the adjustment. I looked stuff up online and saw a couple places that a misaligned C1 has amnesia and high blood pressure as possibly associated effects. My BP is now a good 10 points lower than it was running before the event. Makes me wonder if spinal misalignment could have been a factor, but I can find nothing that relates the two. Just funny. I’m moving on and not dwelling on it. Thanks again!

Joe Streno

Janet …

I’m happy to hear things are getting back to normal. It is a scary thing we’ve gone through, but time & distance will make it less so.

Thanks for the spine/chiropractic info. Though your pressure could have gone down just because you are less stressed. But whatever works! As long at it makes you feel better — more power too you!

We just have to be careful not to self diagnose ourselves into an alway fearful place. It’s what can happen when we are desperate for answers, for which there may be none. It’s the blessing/curse “thing” about the Interwebs! ;)

Glad that I could offer you some support through your ordeal. Good health to you going forward.

Take care and be well … Joe


Hi Janet, this just happened to my twin sister 30 minutes ago, she is on her way to the hospital. She keeps repeating herself, can’t remember a 5 hour period, doesn’t remember where her new kitten came from. Thank you for posting your story, I was freaking out, I’m in Colorado, she’s in Portland. I’m waiting to get a call from the hospital.

Joe Streno

Hi Lorrie …

I’m Joe Streno … the guy who wrote the original blog post. Sorry to hear your sister is going through this right now. It’s scary, no matter which side of it you’re on; being the patient or the friend or family member. For you it’s frightening now. But your sister won’t even remember the events leading up to, or the episode itself. It’s sort of a blessing for her. Not so much for you or your family though right now. Hopefully it’s only a transient global amnesia episode and nothing more.

My TGA episode happened six years ago. And having so much distance from it, sometimes I even forget it happened — but I know it did — I I know what I went through because I had multiple people, eMails, text messages, phone calls to help me piece it together after the fact.

If what she’s going through is a TGA episode, take comfort in that statistically it will probably never happen again. There are many theories why it happens, and what triggers any episode, but they still don’t know.

The best you can do, is TRY to relax. If she’s in the hospital, they will run tests. They might keep her over night for observation, but she’ll come through it, only a little worse for wear. It took me about a week for my brain to “un-fog” and get back to feeling normal. The biggest thing for the patient is processing the feeling that they lost a chunk of time, with absolutely no memory of what happened — blessing & a curse.

I hope for you, your family & your sister’s sake it’s only a TGA episode & nothing more.

Thanks for posting & I hope she feels be soon.



I’m trying… I still haven’t been able to make myself get up and do my morning workout. My plan was to get up this morning and do an easier version of my usual 30 minute calisthenics and weights, but I couldn’t do it because of fear. I think your comments (and the fact that you have not had a recurrence) will help me moving forward. I truly appreciate you taking time to reply to my comment. THANK YOU!

Joe Streno

Hi Janet …

To quote the Frank Herbert novel Dune:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Maybe a little corny … but it is the truth. In my case, it took a few weeks to feel relatively “normal” again. And I had other more pressing health issues to focus on. So wasting brain cycles on “would it happen again” was kind of pointless. I focused on the things that allowed me to get back to my every day life.

TGA is one of those things that just happens — for any number of reasons.

Your exercise will help you lift your mood. Just ease back into your normal life, and your exercise program. Give yourself time to process the event and get distance from it. Just be gentle with yourself, don’t beat yourself up.

You will feel well again … Joe. :)


Wow! I know a lot of time has passed since you posted this, but my searching ran across it and reading your event almost makes my hair stand up… it’s so real to me right now.

I self-diagnosed (well actually my RN daughter told me to look it up) a TGA event after the ER visit I had this past Friday, 10/30/15. They released me from the hospital on Saturday with a diagnosis of UNKNOWN… just lovely.

I am a 51 year old woman who was working out in the living room Friday morning (I remember getting ready for the workout but nothing else). My hubby said I came back in the bedroom after my workout and said I felt funny and couldn’t remember events that I saw written on the calendar (like a mammogram I had just had done). He says I was fully funtional. He questioned me a little but thought maybe my bloodsugar had gone wacky during my workout and suggested I eat breakfast so I walked in the kitchen, made breakfast, ate it and sat there looking over a grocery list I made the night before and questioned a bunch of side notes written on it to get cash, etc. He says I then said I’d better make myself something to eat (as my empty plate sat beside me on the table). He then took me to the hospital ER (a 45 minute drive) and he says I asked every 2 minutes in the same way, “Why am I in this car? Where are we going?” all the way to the ER.

They did a CT scan, MRI, Echocardiogram of my heart, Ultrasound of my carotid arteries and a full lipid profile (among a battery of other blood tests) and FOUND NOTHING. All are normal. I lost about 5 hours of that morning from 7:00 a.m. ish to about noon. Don’t remember anything past getting ready to work out and then waking in a hospital bed 5 hours later. Apparently, I had a neurologist assessment, and a bunch of stuff in the ER, but I cannot remember.

It’s indeed scary. Thank you for posting. I’m still trying to deal with the loss of time an worried it will happen again (kind of scared to exercise)….

Joe Streno

Janet …

It really is scary! Even all these years later. But the possibility of reoccurrence is always there, but so remote, I don’t worry about it any longer.

I remember how unsettling it was for me when it first happened. But as time goes by, like everything else, the hyper-sensitivity, and hyper-vigilance will pass. With time you’ll learn to laugh about it. But right now — way too fresh for that! =: o lol

You were fortunate you were home & your husband was there. In my case, I was alone most of the day and didn’t realize something was wrong until much later that evening. I also went through a battery of ER tests & don’t remember a single one. And maybe that’s a good thing!

At least you didn’t get in a car and drive across country, or some other crazy thing. The good news — you’re over it! Put it behind you & move on with your life. Live your life the way you have. Exercise & cary on. TGA is a rarity, an anomaly, a blip — in the scheme of things. The fact that it happened is what scares us the most. How can we lose multiple hours of our lives? That’s the part that will melt your brain, if you let it! As well as — why me? Let it all go!

Best thing to do is just carry on with life as you’ve known it & try not to give in to the fear. Follow up with doctors to reassure yourself, if that’s what helps you get past it, then move on. That’s the best advice I can share with you.

No one has a clue why TGA happens. Multiple theories, and no real data to explain it. Try not to get caught up in why, or will it happen again? It happened. Process it & move on with life and living!

Thanks for sharing. Good luck & good health to you. :)


I had a TGA episode in 1996, I only figured out it was TGA today after randomly reading an article about some lady who got it after “mind blowing sex”. It is very liberating to know what the hell happened to me.

I was snowboarding in Utah with 2 friends. It was the end of the day and they were ready to quit but I wanted to take one more run. After I never met my friends they reported me missing to ski patrol. They found me disoriented in a mid mountain restaurant. I’m told I boarded down with the ski patrol. They returned me to my friends and we left. It didn’t take long for my friends to realize I was messed up.

I repeatly asked the same questions over and over. They took me to the hospital in Salt Lake. I lived in North Carolina at the time and I didnt know how I had gotten to Utah. The docs wanted to do mri’s and such but I refused treatment. I don’t know if I “remembered” I had no health insurance or what but that saved me some major money. I have read everything there is to read on TGA tonight and my case is VERY rare as I was only 24 at the time.

It was a very tramatic experience to say the least. I was dying to know wtf happened during those missing hours. I made my friends tell me every detail. Im 39 now and everything seems to be fine :)


i just had TGA last saturday. came on in the middle of a body pump class. have had a dull headache + fuzzy head ever since but also overwhelmingly tired. the dr said there is no known trigger. however the internet says differently!
i also had been suffering from a upper respiratory tract infection for 8 wks prior to the attach which i just couldnt shift. i’m really worried about having another episode – should i give up body pump?( i’ve done it for the last 6 years)

Joe Streno

Fiona …

I’m sorry you had to go through it. Hopefully it didn’t last more than a day. I do understand the brain fuzz that lingers. In my case a few weeks after.

I had an upper respiratory infection as well … though mine was weeks after the fact. I think … ; ) What’s sad is how much I still question my own memory, even now. : /

The more I hear from others, the more I know it can happen anywhere and under any set of circumstances. In addition … doctors don’t have a clue!

The problem with any malady is no one knows enough about anything to live your life by their theories or waiting for the other shoe to drop. If there are known “cures” or precautions to take, like anything else, they must be weighed against how we want to live our lives. What is acceptable and what is not.

With that said … once you get to feeling “more normal” I’d get back to my normal routine ASAP. To have to worry what’s going to “trigger” it isn’t worth the mental bandwidth it takes up. I’m not a doctor. But that’s my story and I’m sticking with it! ; )

So girl …. pump that body! As soon as you are able. Don’t let anything like TGA get in the way! : )


I just had my first experience with TGA on Saturday April 2nd, and reading your description, knew exactly what you were speaking of.
I lost 6 hours of my life in a hospital emergency room, and the neurologist I saw yesterday is running more tests and insinuated that it might be related to my sarcoid which has been in remission for almost 6 years.
The doctor at the ER knew what it was, and has seen about 6 cases of it in older adults. I am 66.
In everything I read online, no mention was made of a connection to sarcoid, which took over a year to diagnose. However, this neurologist made the connection immediately. I wonder what percentage of people who experience TGA have sarcoid?
As with you, I was famished for the following 2 days, and was constantly yawning and feeling tired. Both have gone back to normal as of today, Wednesday, and hope that part of it is over.
Do you know if there is an online group to get feedback? It is such a strange phenomenon that most people have no idea what it is, which was the case with sarcoid. I wondered also if there was any organization that was conducting a study of the event. If you hear anything, I would appreciate you sending the information to me.
Thank you, Jan

Joe Streno

@Jan … Sorry to hear you went through an episode of TGA. It took me almost 2 weeks to “get back to normal”. I was run down & foggy that whole time. Then I got an upper respiratory infection on top of everything else. And it’s still not done “having its way with me.” But you know how that is with Sarcoid. A simple cold can turn to pneumonia in the blink of an eye.

In those two weeks after the TGA event, I had a pulmonary function test, before seeing my pulmonologist Dr Raghu right after. Dr Raghu didn’t think my TGA event had anything to do with my Sarcoid. Though you are the second person to contact me who had both a TGA event and Sarcoid.

What they are looking at for me, can be a combination of extremely high hemoglobin levels and stress. My hemoglobin and hematocrit levels were through the roof. Though I was also on testosterone at the time too. So that might have had something to do with the high hemo/hema levels. The doctors said that the combination of my blood being so “thick” with hemoglobin could have caused the TGA event. But again … it’s a lot of guessing and not enough knowing.

Having Sarcoid has taught me one (of many) things … when it comes to rare diseases … the doctors know about as much as we do. A lot of the reasons why … are all just theories and or one big guessing game. Except maybe my pulmonologist who is a Sarcoid specialist.

My pulmonologist thinks I may have polycythemia, another RARE disease that effects the bone marrow, causing abnormally elevated hemoglobin and hematocrit levels. If I read all the symptoms I have 90% of them. So now I’m off to a hemotologist, as soon as the UW Med Hemo department calls me with an appointment.

With my Sarcoid, I never joined any support groups. I don’t know that I can handle hearing about people who are worse off than I am. All I have to do is read a few posts in any of the Sarcoid online groups or on Facebook … and I get depressed. I know what my limits are and right now I can’t take on anyone else’s pain or suffering.

Thanks for taking the time to comment ….



So sorry to hear you suffered through that… My mom just had a TGA episode last night in CO, with a VERY similar transpiring of events. However, she also has sarcoidosis, so the hospital is going to run several more tests today (EEG, Brain MRI, etc.) to see if perhaps her sarcoidosis has spread to the brain. (Currently, hers affects her upper respiratory system and her joints.)

I’ll be interested to read if your TGA episode and your sarcoidosis are related.

Feel better soon!!!

Joe Streno

Marg …

As you know, I too have Sarcoid. Just did my EEG on Friday 3/18, a week after my TGA event. Waiting on the results. In the hospital Friday and Saturday of the event, I had a CT scan & on Saturday an MRI/MRA with contrast. None of the tests showed “anything significant.” The neurologist wants to do a lumbar puncture AKA spinal tap to see if there is any sarcoid involvement with the spinal fluid. Yippee!! He’s consulting with my pulmonologist to see if its necessary. My sarcoid is pulmonary too. And I have cystic lesions in the bones of both hands from my Sarcoid. I do understand what your Mom is going through, and I’m truly sorry.

It’s not bad enough I have an autoimmune disease that I don’t “fit the profile” for. Now I get saddled with an neurological “event” that no one is quite sure why it happens. Lots of hypothesizing … but no real “facts”. Pretty much the same with Sarcoid.

Another woman contacted me through eMail last night telling me her 56 year old husband has had 4 TGA “events” in the past 6 months, lasting from a short as 4 hours to as long as 18 hours. OMG!!! So much for what all the literature says about TGA “rarely happening again.

Maybe all TGA victims, patients, souls are all very sensitive to the electromagnetic fields of the earth. So when the earthquake happened in Japan it knocked the Earth off its axis … and our brains with it. http://go2jo.us/ehbLEe Who knows! Sadly, it’s all a mystery. And not a solvable mystery either. Not yet at least.

Let’s just hope it was an anomaly for your Mom & for me. If waiting for new Sarcoid symptoms to arbitrarily “pop up” weren’t stressful enough, we now have to wait for another TGA “shoe to drop”? No thanks!

For your Mom’s and my sake, lets hope it has nothing to do with Sarcoid, and everything to do with stress. At least we can work with stress & try to alleviate it. Sarcoid … not so much. They can treat the symptoms, but there is no cure. Double yippee!

I know it’s difficult for family members too, not knowing how to help, and feeling helpless and or hopeless. Good luck and good health to you and your Mom. If it helps … you are not alone.


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