Portrait: Aditi

I was diagnosed with Meningitis Brain Tuberculosis in November 2020 that resulted in a brain infection and stroke which hampered my vision, my comprehension and the worst: my 30 years of memory.

A little bit about Aditi  

On November 12, 2020, just a day after my birthday and 2 weeks prior to my brother's marriage, I started getting a fever, which resulted in me not eating properly and developing weaknesses. It was difficult to even get my head up. As a result, I made so many errors at my job that I had to resign on November 19. After that, my memory is blank. My friend, who was helping me with wedding preparations, later told me that I couldn't get up and I had be helped even to walk to the washroom. I had multiple doctor consultations and medicines, but nothing helped. On November 23, my friend found my body all twisted on my bed. He panicked and tried to wake me up, but I was behaving as if I was possessed. He called the nearby hospital, and I was rushed away in an ambulance.


Challenges at the hospital 

The first hospital I went to initially refused to admit me as my heartbeat was so low that they felt I was beyond saving. My friend fought and finally the hospital decided to admit me and to start treatment. I almost died and was totally unconscious, but no one could touch me as I am touch phobic. Even placing the cannula line was difficult. They tied my hands and legs, and I was in the ICU fighting for my life and unconscious for 6 days. Doctors told my family that the stroke had damaged my brain, that I would be unconscious for 2-6 months, that I may be paralysed for the next 2 years, and that I’d have the brain of 6–8-year-old for couple of years depending on how I’d respond to treatment.


Waking up after the stroke 

However, I woke up 6 days later. I can remember it so clearly, as if I were watching myself from the back. I just started pulling my body half up. It was 3 am, the ICU was dark, and the hospital staff weren’t around. I woke up with tubes and needles attached to me, and my hands and legs were tied. First thought: Was I kidnapped? Second thought: How do I plan an escape? I pulled the blanket slowly over myself so that no one could see me and then for the next hour or so, I unplugged every tube attached and freed my hands and legs and started to get up and run. And that's when I thought: where do I go and how do I leave? Then I blacked out again. 


Experiencing hallucinations and memory loss 

The next few days were a haze. All I wanted to do was go home, but not knowing where home was. I forgot everything. It took me months to remember a few memories and most I think will never come back. I forgot how to use gadgets, automobiles, and the ABC’s. The cherry on top were the hallucinations. I used to see people’s faces as 3D which made it all the more difficult to remember them. I used to see people and things that didn't exist

I was a 31-year-old with no memory, hallucinations, and no connection to reality. 


The road to recovery 

When I started recovery, it took me over a month to realise what had happened to me. When I finally did realise, my days were spent going on social media, connecting with friends and family, doing spelling tests, and spending hours of listening to my brother recall my past life. 6 months later, I joined a healthcare company as training lead. Within 4 months of joining, I was offered to head PAN India surgeon training and later got an exceptional appraisal. Within a year I was promoted. In a world filled with “normal” people, I struggle three times as hard, but I am not afraid. For a very long time I invested time in remembering who I was, why I was doing the things that I do, and why I have a certain belief system. But, no more. There will always be a longing to remember but I am focused on creating new memories.

Brain Reboot! 

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