Illness - Encephalitis

Never Forget Those Unforgettable Forgettable Pictures

Don't Forget to Remember written with Remember on top colored paper

Have you ever watched something that had you ponder a lot more than normal on something that happened years ago. That happened to me this yesterday. A certain movie had me feel I was the one on the screen having a major memory problem. The main character had to look and pictures of different things to test her memory. Seeing that had me want to share an older blog I shared well over a year ago.

Memories can be tough sometimes. Sure, everyone has things here and there they don’t remember. But for me, I only had things here and there I DID remember when I walked into that new hospital to help me recuperate after being hit with encephalitis.

My stay at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington, was much different than the first one I had stayed in for three weeks before. I had to work on my ability to remember. Different types of therapists had well-structured class times in different rooms, covering different subjects, day after day. Here’s a sample of what one of my many classes was like.

“Marianne, for starters, I’m going to hold up little pictures of things that are very common to most people,” my speech therapist said while holding up a photo taken from newspaper ads. “Let’s see if you can tell me what it’s called.” 

photo of toaster on three ring binger page

Looks easy, right? Wrong. Of course, I don’t remember that exact first picture I was shown, but I’ll never forget how I felt: dumb. Here’s one of my common responses. 

“I think I know what it is, but I’m not sure. What’s it called?”

The first time seeing each card was almost impossible. Usually, though, after being told what it was called, along with what it was for, it would finally click! I’d say it a few times over and over, and remember the name . . . for a few seconds anyway. Next, a new card. Once again, she told me the name and explained what it’s for. Then, oh, darn it, that first one again. Great. Back to square one.

“Don’t worry, Marianne,” she said, “This is very normal. Trust me, it will get better.”

As minutes went by, I remembered the names of the items. Then she added a third picture. Then a fourth. Not too hard anymore to swiftly see one, say its name, do the next, and then the next. 

Don’t get your hopes up like I did, because the next day I came close to starting from scratch. I remember how sad I felt, but thankfully, that day I got them all down a lot faster, even adding more.

“Soon you’ll have no problem remembering what it’s called the first time you see it!”

three packaged paper towels with sign
Photo of real toaster holding two waffles


These are actually a few of those original pictures I was given to take home. Why the names of each with the photo? Days later, once it had become easy for me to say the name of each, then the hard part – writing down what they were called. Not fun.

Looking back at this blog has me picture those photos still in my must-keep-forever box in my basement, making that entire ordeal still feel like it was last month. Can you think of anything in your must-keep-forever box in your house that, once you see it, you have that same feeling?

God and My Pillow -now available directly through Marianne’s Memoirs home page, through AmazonBarnes and Noble and more.

2 thoughts on “Never Forget Those Unforgettable Forgettable Pictures”

  1. Yep. I giggle now at those pics. I’m sure the therapist grabbed what ever she could. Plus it being in January of 1991 ! I’m laughing a bit now being I’m just now realizing that is the same type frig we have NOW ! LOL
    Oh and… the way I write now is still that messy.

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