29-year-old woman from England fell victim to a rare condition that caused swelling in her brain and subsequent memory loss, forcing her to relearn even basic tasks like brushing her teeth.
Vickie Harkness was diagnosed with encephalitis, a rare life-threatening condition caused by viral infection, and she forgot her own wedding day and thought the year was 1860. For Harkness, the problems began in March 2016 with flu-like symptoms and a week of seizures, post which she had to be hospitalised for three months.
Harkness, an outdoor activity instructor, was placed in a temporary induced coma to relieve pressure on her organs. When she woke up, she said she felt like a ‘zombie’ as she couldn’t even remember her friends and family. “It started with fatigue and I thought I was getting the flu. I kept saying things like ‘I need to send a Mother’s Day card’ even though Mother’s Day had gone,” Harkness said.
She further added, “I was a really independent person and not being able to do anything for myself was awful. I couldn’t remember anything from my childhood. I couldn’t control my body anymore, so had to use a catheter,” Harkness added. Harkness was discharged from hospital in October 2016 and has since regained 80 per cent of her memory. However, she still cannot remember her wedding day to her partner of eight years.
Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain caused either by an infection or through the immune system attacking the organ. Up to 6,000 people are diagnosed with the condition in the UK each year and around 250,000 people in the US have battled the condition in the last decade, Daily Mail quoted The Encephalitis Society reports.