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Car crash leaves Michelle Philpots, 47, with 24-hour memory

Updated: 11 Jun 2010
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Michelle Philpots can't even recall her wedding

 

Michelle Philpots uses notes to remember after accidents left her with 24 hour memory

 

Michelle and Ian on their wedding day in 1997. She lost her short-term memory in 1994 and every day since then he has to convince her they are married. Some days he has to get out the wedding pictures to prove they are husband and wife

 

WOMAN stuck in a real life Groundhog Day has lived the same 24 hours on repeat for 16 YEARS ?because her memory constantly resets itself.

Michelle Philpots, 47, has had NO short term memory since 1994 after suffering head injuries in two separate road accidents.

And just like in Bill Murray's 1993 hit comedy film she lives the same day over and over again ?because her memory of the previous day is always wiped clean.

As soon as she leaves the house she forgets where she is going and will arrive at destinations with no idea why she is there.

 

The aftermath of one of 1990 crash which took place five years after a motorbike crash. The incidents caused her to lose her short-term memory

 

She also has no memories before 1994 and even has to be reminded by her husband Ian, 46, of their wedding day in 1997. Ian is forced to show her the album of the big day to prove it happened.

To try and deal with her condition Michelle uses hundreds of post it notes and sets constant reminders on her mobile phone.

Anything she does during the day is completely forgotten by the time she wakes up unless she makes a note of it.

She rarely leaves her home town of Spalding, Lincs, and has to use Sat-Nav to get to the local shops half a mile away.

But brave Michelle looks on the the bright side of her disability ? saying she has never seen the same TV program twice.

And she says every joke she hears is hilarious as she has never heard it before.

She even enjoys watching Eastenders, but is unable to name a single character.

Big-hearted Michelle, who volunteers at her local disabled charity, said: "I can really relate to the film Groundhog Day.

"When I wake up everything outside my window is the same, its hard to explain, but everyday to me is the same normal day.

"It's like I am living the same day after day.

"I love to watch Eastenders but if I'm reading the magazines showing what happens in upcoming episodes I have no idea what is going on.

"I can't remember the characters or any story lines but I know I like it.

 

Mrs Philpot's case is similar to the storyline in the film 50 First Dates, starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Her character, Lucy, suffers from short-term memory loss and forgets her love interest Henry, played by Sandler, every day

 

"But if someone says 'did you see what happened on Eastenders last night' I wouldn't have a clue what they were talking about."

Michelle was diagnosed with epilepsy 16 years ago, brought on by brain injuries she suffered in a motorbike crash in 1985 and a car accident in 1990.

Her condition had deteriorated until she began suffering fits and by 1993 she became 'absent-minded', leaving tea bags in the fridge.

One of the first serious signs of her memory loss was when she was told to go home from her office job at a solicitors firm after she repeatedly photocopied the same document all day.

Dead and damaged brain cells were removed during a major operation at London's QE2 Hospital in 2005 to prevent seizures but sadly neither her short-term or long-term memory will ever return.

Michelle added: "My memory has gone and there is no way it will come back.

"I understand the change in my life. I know I can't have my old life back but I find it hard to accept that.

"Sometimes my house becomes my prison and I find it very depressing."

Husband Ian, a fencer, said the secret to his happy marriage was patience.

He said: "The only thing I can do is be patient and I have to make sure she is writing everything down.

"Sure it can be very frustrating for me but I have to be patient and understand and accept she struggles to remember.

"I get frustrated but I have to keep calm because I love her.

"I've known her about 25 years so I am lucky we met before she had the accidents because she can remember me.

"She generally knows we are married but forgets about the wedding. Luckily we have lots of photos to remind her otherwise she would forget it all.

 

"She still remembers when we first met it's just the day to day things she struggles to remember."

Dr Peter Nestor, a neuroscience specialist at Cambridge University, said Michelle's amnesia can be caused by trauma to precise areas of the brain particularly the temporal lobe.

He said: "It is reasonably rare to have this type of amnesia but it does exist.

"You are capable of carrying out day to day things and don't forget how to do certain things like speaking.

"But if someone was to ask you what you did yesterday you wouldn't have a clue."

 

SOURCE: Daily Mail & The Sun

 

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