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June 16, 2008


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Mona Johnson


I'm sorry to hear about your father. I wish I had some advice for you, but I'm not a medical professional, and I'm not sure scientists know much more about this problem than they did when I wrote this post.

I understand how difficult this is for you and your family, and hope your father recovers quickly.



Hi, interesting posts. I’m 45, physically fit but after emergency abdominal surgery (Laparotomy due to ruptured appendix), I noted cognitive changes. Firstly improved long term memory retrieval (remembered events in substantial detail from my college years), but also noted that short term memory had deteriorated, usually the memory of an immediate event just did not exist until the event had been noted to me (possible flawed retrieval?). Now, 6 months later, I don’t think there has been a recovery. The improved long term memory has diminished, but the short term memory has remained flawed. I do find that the process of memory seems to have adjusted. I now find that I am automatically forcing memory retention but if I don’t I can fall into having inefficient recall (the most recent was leaving the weekly shopping in the car park and than driving off only remembering the shopping when I opened the fridge an hour later).

Sheila Gay

I recently had knee replacement surgery in sept 09. I am now 46 , I had a femoral block and a spinal block as well as light sedation. I had never had a spinal until april for first knee surgery without any problems. After my knee replacement, the dr could not manage my pain, no matter what, it was at a 10 the whole 4 days in hospital. the minute my spinal wore off, my whole body except for my head has sporadically started lightning jerkin and got worse when I tried to sleep. This was immediate, yet never addressed. I am a nurse n am aware of what is goin on with my body. After goin home, this jerkin intensified, like 76 in a 37 min period, n I mean jerkin that I could kick a football for the 2 pts. Ortho neva heard of it, therefore did nothin. Did give me a muscle relaxer to try. Didnt work. Since comin home, I cant seem to finish a sentence even though I know what I want to say n can describe it, but can get the word to come out. After 6 wks got sent to neuro who couldnt believe neuro was never consulted in hospital. I had an EEG, EMG, I knew I didnt have epilepsy but was put on antiseizure meds for the jerkin. It is not helpin. Had electrolytes checked cuz I called anesthesia myself. They said it doesnt happen, I told them different. That it is rare after a spinal, very rare, My neuro has only seen 3 cases, but it does happen. My sister is a nurse n I just spent time with her n she burst into tears on the phone with my mom cuz I have a memory like an elephant. I forget nothing and have always prided myself on it. Now its been months, I still have jerkin, and memory loss. My hubby has been sleepin on couch so he can get some sleep and Im hangin by a thread. My neuro is wonderful. She has been doin alot for me to treat symptoms but here I am, a young woman, nurse out on comp cuz I got a patient his blanket that was stuck in corner of his bed a slip in a puddle on floor and banged knee into metal frame of bed. Im getting very depressed n crying alot but I will never get another spinal again. I didnt even have one with me kids. I would bet my nursing lic it was the spinal that did this and my neuro agrees. It has been a horrible ordeal. My 21 yr old daughter told me I got weird since comin home from hospital. She asks me to look up a number n text it to her at work and I text our own number. I paid some bills and mailed the electric bill back to myself. Its really awful and the PA from ortho keeps saying Ive never heard of SPINAL MYOCLONUS, which is my diagnosis. U would think he would look it up one of these times cuz although rare, it happens after having spinal surgery and I am proof. I live in upstate NY and my neuro wants to try 3 more meds n then send me to boston to Lahey Clinic. Has anyone been thru anything like this before?

Sharon Rawson

I am age 58 and after a serious fall down a flight of steps I had two orthopedic surgeries on my right wrist about 3 months apart. After the last surgery I have had acute short term memory recall issues. It isn't being "forgetfull" it's a total absence of any recall in my short term memory. After this surgery, while in recovery and after discharge my oxygen levels would fall whenever I talked or if I fell asleep. I also lost my ability to smell or taste. I had a period of about 3-4 days of delerium at home after this second surgery. It has been over a year now, and all the doctors seem baffeled. The most common diagnosis is anxiety....I only wish, at least that would have a targeted solution. On the lighter side, I have accidentally brushed my teeth with a&d cream and put powdered cheese in my coffee...I try not to focus on the negatives, however, I would like some answers and to know what to anticipate. I am simply searching my way through the internet and learning more than I though possible. Thanks for all your posts and for this site.

Fiona Kirton

Thankyou for all this information. I am 50 and have just had my third op for breast cancer in a year. Total 18.5 hours surgery. I was havinga good prognosis after a double mastectomy and reconstruction going to University to do another degree this Autumn. The trouble is I am having extreme problems with my memory. Given the choice I would still have taken the option of the surgery and I guess the only thing I can now do is maximise my nutrition Omega Oils, Curcummin and the like to give my memory the best support. However I may have to forget the degree now I know the meomeory loss is probably down to the aneasthetic.
Best Wishes

Friar Tuck's wife

I have had six major surgeries in the past six years-- double mastectomy, node dissection, total hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy, an emergency colostomy/appendix removal, and a colostomy reversal.

Six weeks or so after my last surgery, my husband and I were going away for a week. We had recently had some issues with kids in the neighborhood breaking into houses and stealing items. There was also some threat of arson.

I had some rings and small treasures that I was concerned about losing either to arson or theft while we were gone, so I put the treasures in a well-wrapped tupperware container and buried them in the back yard in a place that was very easy to find.

When I went back to dig them up a few months later, I started digging exactly where I had a vivid memory of buring the container.

I ended up with a hole 12 feet long x4 feet wide x5 feet deep.

No container. I was certain it had not been stolen. My memory was so vivid of exactly where I had buried it!

In defeat, completely worn out from literal days of digging a tremendous hole, I turned and saw some upturned flower pots. I had a haunting feeling, and decided "Why not?" and moved the pots.

Under the pots was a stone marker, and under the marker was the treasure.

Not only did I have a significant loss of memory of where I had so carefully hidden the treasures, but I had apparantly also constructed a FALSE memory of where I was sure the treasure was.

I am 52 years old. I have been to a psychologist and had a thorough memory evaluation, tests and everyting. He said my memory is better than most women my age.

All I can think is either I have early-onset Alzheimer disease (my husband detects no problems in my interaction or behavior!!) OR

I had some sort of memory problem because of anesthesia.

What else could it possibly be? The doctors swear my memory tests fine. My husband and family say that I am the very intelligent dingbat I always was...no difference, no changes are apparant to them.

I am frightened!


I have had 3 major surgeries in 5 weeks due to complications, & I was also on major pain meds for longer period of time. I am suffering with cognitive disorder, processing problems & memory loss. I notified my Dr. right away, but now 7 months later I seem to be getting worse not better. :*(
Have you heard of any correlation between multiply surgeries in a short time frame, & much pain meds. to cause these problems, are you aware of any special pages i can go to on the web. I never had these problems before surgery..... now Im suffering daily..


Having Memory loss/ cognitive issues has caused me to sink into a big depression, does anyone have any links how multiply surgeries can cause memory loss/ cognitive issues ?
Please email me at Tragfamily@comcast.net if you have any answers, links comments, & advice~

Sincere Thanks,

Lawrence C. Hartung

I am a 61 yr old male who had a total hip replacement 5 wks ago. I am very pleased with the results, and the quick recovery, but I have noticed some short term memory loss, and this bothers me a bit.

Barry Friedberg, M.D.

Anesthesia administered without a brain monitor is not kind to your brain especially if you are over 50.

Anesthesia over medication is the routine, nefarious 20th century practice.

The brain monitor is the best available technology to dramatically reduce your risk of delirium, dementia & death from anesthesia over medication.

21st century anesthesia pairs a brain monitor along with those for the vital signs.

The brain monitor transforms the mystery of every patient's requirement into an open book test.

Much more information in 'Getting Over Going Under, 5 things you MUST know before anesthesia.' All proceeds support the public education mission of the non-profit Goldilocks Anesthesia Foundation.

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