Stories about slips and falls at work often concentrate on the physical trauma suffered by the victim. In this story, a brain injury from a workplace fall has had an unimaginable effect on a woman.
Kay Delaney, 55, wakes up every morning thinking she’s 34.
The brain injury she suffered a year ago from a fall at work in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England, has wiped out 20 years of her memory.
She suffers from retrograde amnesia. Among the things she can’t remember:
- the birth and entire life of her youngest child who is now 20
- cell phones and personal computers (much less common in 1991 compared to today)
- how to make tea or coffee, and
- most of the lives of her two older children; she remembers them being two and six years old, even though today they are adults.
Delaney slipped and hit her head on July 25, 2011, suffering a minor traumatic brain injury which resulted in amnesia, short-term memory problems, anxiety and concentration issues.
But one particular memory from her past surfaced in a bizarre fashion. Her long-term partner, Robert, reports that one night Delaney woke up in the middle of the night and sang the entire “No Regrets” by Edith Piaf in French, even though she doesn’t speak French. Robert says at the end, Delaney even held her arms out to thank the audience.
Her home is a sea of sticky notes which include details about her life and step-by-step directions for basic routines. The notes are an attempt to help her establish new memories, but doctors aren’t sure whether she will be able to.
“My life is in tatters,” Delaney told the Daily Mail Reporter.
She was gainfully employed and about to be promoted at the time of the fall. Now she can’t work and neither can Robert who cares for her full-time.
Most people forget a few hours leading up to a brain injury. Some people just forget bits and pieces of their lives before their accidents. In some cases people recover pieces, but not all, of their forgotten memories.
Delaney’s case is not unique, but it is much more rare.
The severity of the brain injury doesn’t always relate to the amount of memory loss.