Gweneviere Mann talks to her boyfriend, Yasir Salem, about living without a short-term memory. Her condition results from a stroke she suffered during an operation to remove a brain tumor.
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Yasir Salem (YS): So you had your surgery in November of 2008, right?
GM: Right, and so I'm going to have to live the rest of my life this way. And the thing that scares me the most is, like, the thought that I will wake up one day, and I'll be 80 years old and I won't remember the last 40 years of my life.
YS: Do you remember when you first came out of surgery?
GM: I know that I used to always think that I was in San Francisco.
YS: What are those things called, do you remember?
GM: Yeah, do you remember another confabulation that I used to have?
YS: You used to think that your co-worker, Barbara, was your mom.
GM: [Laughs] Oh, that's right.
YS: Even though she's a completely different race than you.
GM: That’s funny, yeah.
YS: There was one point where you were confused 'cause you thought we had broken up, and I would ask you, like, "Why do you think you're staying at my place?" She's like, "Well, we're just cool like that."
GM: [Laughs] Yeah, Sorry about that.
YS: That's all right.
GM: And after all you'd been doing for me.
YS: Thankfully you got over that.
GM: I'm thankful for that as well.
YS: So, is there any positive things that have come out of losing your memory that you can look back on?
GM: Well, I ran the New York City Marathon with you, my boyfriend. And um, one of the things that I asked you was to help me--as a trick--to not let me look at any of the mile markers along the way. And if I asked you how long we'd been running to always tell me 10 or 15 minutes [laughs]. And it really worked like a charm. And when we got to the end, you and I were running across the finish line, and as if on cue I started crying my eyes out because I was so happy. You know, I have spent a lot of days since my injury comparing myself to what I used to be and, and feeling sad about the things that I've lost, but doing the marathon really shows me that I still have a lot left in me.