A woman who went into a coma due to a medical condition, has ended up forgetting who her husband was and can’t even recall getting married to him.
Sally Hobson and her husband, Neil
Sally Hobson, a 39-year-old career woman has spoken candidly about the moment her memory was wiped clean, so she didn’t know her own husband or remember being married.
According to Daily Mail UK, Sally Hobson of Claygate, Surrey, suffered an unexplained seizure in January 2014, plunging her into a coma for six weeks.
When she woke-up, it was as if she had been reprogrammed – and couldn’t remember the past five years.
Details beyond this were also vague, so she didn’t know her husband.
Now, diagnosed with epilepsy, every time she has a seizure – which can be seven times a month – her memory is partially deleted.
‘This condition is so unfair,’ said Sally, in her first ever interview. ‘I suffer severely, both long and short memory loss after seizures. This condition seems to worsen with every seizure. Each episode taking away a little more of my life. I don’t remember my own wedding day, birthday parties I’ve had, any hobbies I have’.
With the help of friends, family and particularly her devoted husband, Neil, she has started piecing the jigsaw of her life back together.
But it has been devastating for Sally who, before her first seizure, was a retail manager.
Married to Neil in April 2012 in Surbiton, who she met through a friend in May 2008, they were trying for a baby.
Moving from Surbiton to Claygate in 2013, their future looked bright.
Then, out-of-the-blue in January 2014, disaster struck when a suspected viral infection led to Sally, then 36, developing an incredibly unusual type of epilepsy, which robbed her of her memories.
Her case echoes that of US woman, Rebecah Propst, who lost her memory in 2008, after having a major tonic clonic seizure, when a sufferer losses consciousness and their muscles contract violently.
Sally can still remember how to brush her teeth, put the bins out, dress and eat, but huge life events, like her wedding, have been wiped from her mind.
She doesn’t know her birthday, wedding day or other significant details from her past.
She also forgets names and events shortly after they happen.
‘I won’t remember if a friend has invited me round for dinner next week,’ she said. ‘It’s pointless reading a book, if you forget the first paragraph before reaching the second chapter. The past is just a blur, almost a vague dream.’
Sally’s memory loss has left her feeling like she has been robbed.
‘Three years after leaving hospital, I might open a cupboard and something at the back will catch my eye – possibly a yoga mat,’ she continued. ‘Then my husband will tell me how I started classes weeks before I was ill…when I can’t recall having any interest in it. ‘
Sally, who has no history of epilepsy in her family, has been told the onset of her illness was shockingly sudden.
She said: ‘Apparently, I turned to my husband as I climbed into bed one evening and started a conversation. The words were clear and articulated, but the sentence was not.
‘Within seconds he realised something was wrong, very wrong and had the telephone in his hand.’
Taken to accident and emergency at St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey by ambulance, doctors initially wondered if she had suffered a stroke.
But, while in casualty, she started fitting – and didn’t stop.
Put in an induced coma, she was transferred to the neurology ward of St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south-west London.
She remained there, with Neil, 41, by her side, for six weeks.
Eventually waking, she didn’t know anyone – including her husband, dad Mick, 67, mum Pat, 65, and sister Helen, 33.
She explained: ‘I said to the nurse, ‘That doctor over there is nice.’ It was Neil.’
Gradually, following rehabilitation and his continued presence and love, she realised – while she might not recall his exact role in her life – that she did know and love Neil.
Her awareness of her family came back, too. But, still, huge chunks of her past remain shrouded in mystery.
Sally is never sure if she knows something because she genuinely recalls it, or because she has been shown pictures of an event and told about it, in a bid to jog her memory.