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Epilepsy

Can`t remember things on wake up

05/12/2009

Question:

My sister suffers from losing her memory when she wakes up. It started two years ago when they were trying to wake her up but would not, until they called 911. When she woke up she was already in the hospital. From that time on, she would wake up from sleep but not remember things. Among those things include people, where she goes to work, why she is in the place where she is, etc. Then she would ask the people around her about things that she wonders about. Her memory returns after a few hours. I remember one night when she woke up and we found out that she was at loss of memory. It was about 2 a.m. so I told her to not ask too much because it only stresses her trying to recall all those things. I told her to go back to sleep and she did. I went to her in the morning to test if she can remember things and she can. I also note that she feels like vomiting when this happens and that her foods taste bitter or dont have taste at all the day after her seizure happens.

Going back two years ago, this happened to her on a frequency of once every three months but came to a frequent once-a-month, and now, about once in two weeks. She has undergone so many laboratory tests like the MRI, ultrasound, and some other tests I can`t recall, but all the results were negative. Her doctor gave her a pill which she would take one everyday to prevent the seizure. The pill is doing its job. Sometimes when she wants to test if she is doing well, she would intentionally miss her day`s pill but the seizure never misses out on her. We are aware that her pill prevents her seizure, and that she has to take it on a daily basis because she never knows when the seizure will strike. But the doctor could not comment on the cause and just gave the prescription that would prevent the seizure. The big question mark goes to what causes the seizure. I believe that in order for one to combat a problem is to know what causes the problem to arise. We thought that maybe the illness was still in its metamorphosis process during the time that she was having her lab tests, and that maybe something will come out now after two years. Please tell us what you think.

Answer:

I cannot provide a specific diagnosis online. Based on the symptoms you describe, it is possible that your sister could be having seizures.

To have these symptoms properly diagnosed, you will need to see a health professional.

Please take the time to review the Epilepsy Foundation's website on seizure types (see below).

Related Resources:

Epilepsy Foundation: Seizures and Syndromes

For more information:

Go to the Epilepsy health topic, where you can:

Response by:

David M Ficker, MD David M Ficker, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati