Picks and Pans Review: Amnesia Tragedy
>A PAST ERASED
Three years after a concussion wiped his memory clean, Scott Bolzan is struggling to rebuild his life
It started with a simple accident: On the morning of Dec. 17, 2008, Scott Bolzan slipped in the bathroom at his office and hit his head. When he woke up in the hospital and didn’t remember his fall, doctors weren’t especially concerned. But it soon became apparent that this was no ordinary concussion. “What’s a wife?” Bolzan asked when told that Joan, his spouse of 24 years, was on her way. As he explains in his new book, My Life, Deleted, the entrepreneur, father of two (daughter Taylor, now 19, and son Grant, 21) and former NFL linesman had forgotten everything, from the names of planets to the faces of loved ones. “He looked at me,” recalls Taylor, “with no emotion.”
Doctors still thought the condition would be temporary, but months passed and nothing changed. “It was terrifying—beyond fear,” Bolzan says. Joan was devastated: “It was like I lost my husband.”
Diagnosed with retrograde amnesia—one of the worst cases on record—he set out to relearn all he could, watching the History Channel, reading paperwork from his jet-leasing business, sifting through old photos. Slowly, Joan reminded him of difficult things, like their son Grant’s heroin addiction—facts that plunged Bolzan into depression.
Yet over time a new man emerged, one a bit mellower than Bolzan’s former “alpha” self. These days, between visits to doctors, who hope increased blood flow to his brain will call back his memories, he also reaches out to other amnesia victims. “It’s still a struggle,” admits Bolzan, who takes antidepressants. “Every day I ask myself, ‘When will I remember?'” But his family’s love keeps him going. Says Taylor: “I’m so thankful he’s here.”