Tahlequah Daily Press

Get the scoop!

February 2, 2013

Virginia woman pieces together 17 years lost to amnesia

CLINTON — When Shawnda Rush woke up in her one-story house overlooking the fields and woods of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, she could see a cane leaning against the bedside table and the sunshine through the sheer white curtains. But the world that lay outside the room was a mystery to her.

She heard footsteps outside the doorway and tensed when around the corner and up to the edge of the bed crept a sandy-haired toddler, who appeared no older than 1 or 2.

"Mommy?" the child cooed.

Shawnda panicked. She didn't recognize the girl but played it cool and greeted her.

Where am I? Shawnda thought. Why can't I remember her?

She felt weak, and grabbed the cane and limped into the living room. Everything was quiet except the murmur of a television. A chair sat by the front door. She noted the two sofas and how they were positioned. In the kitchen, she saw a man. His back was toward her.

"Then I realized he must be my husband," she recalled.

Shawnda knew who she was, and she could recognize her mother upon waking that morning in April 2005, but her husband and her daughter were lost to a large, dark gap in her mind.

Shawnda at first kept her confusion to herself. Over the ensuing weeks, though, she revealed to her mom, Marsha Rush, the breach in her memory. Marsha started sharing the details of Shawnda's life with her: that she was 30, that she had been married for about three years and that she had a 19-month-old daughter, Shaylin. And that a doctor had diagnosed Shawnda's multiple sclerosis almost a year before. For several months, she had been having cognitive problems: forgetfulness, confusion, feelings of helplessness, loss of vocabulary. Apparently, that had become amnesia.

Text Only
Get the scoop!
Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee
Stocks