The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Community News Network

February 1, 2013

Virginia woman pieces together 17 years lost to amnesia

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
Community News Network
  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

Graduation Salutes
Seasonal Content