SIXTEEN-year-old Taylor Smart has been sitting her GCSEs this week – just months after a fall at home left her unable to remember how to write, make a sandwich or recognise her closest friends.
The brave youngster, who is a pupil at King Edward VI School, in Bury St Edmunds, lost her memory after hitting her head on a bath in January.
“The earliest memory I have got is waking up in the ambulance with all the wires. It is very frustrating. People tell you things that you have done, I can’t remember any of it. Everybody seems to know more about me than I do,” she said.
Taylor, who has postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a heart condition which causes black-outs if her blood pressure gets too high, was doing her make up at home in Market Weston, when she fell.
She was taken to West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury, where she was given a MRI and CT scan. That found no severe damage and it was thought her memory loss would return in about three days – but so far very little has returned.
“I did recognise my mum, she was the only one I did remember. It took me a couple of hours to remember my dad and I have remembered a few of my friends who I have been around 24/7.
“I didn’t really know anything. I couldn’t write, I had to re-learn how to do that. I could read, but something simple like making a sandwich, I had to get my mum to show me what to do.”
Mum Jane, 52, said “I have to admit since she hit her head there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t cried. Everyone has a first memory of childhood but she hasn’t.”
Despite her ordeal, Taylor has been busy revising for her exams with the help of Year 11 leader Andy McLellan. Taylor hopes to go on to study for a media diploma at West Suffolk College.
Geoff Barton, headteacher at King Edward VI, said: “We’re all really proud of Taylor. Her resilience and cheerfulness are a complete inspiration. We’re all rooting for her throughout her remaining examinations.”
In the long term it is unclear if her memory will return. She is waiting on a request for funding from Suffolk PCT so she can have a full neuro psychological assessment.