One of my favorite rom-coms has always been “50 First Dates,” arguably Adam Sandler’s best film.
But memory loss is no comedic matter when it’s your daily struggle. For one North Carolina teen, the memory loss condition Drew Barrymore portrayed in the popular movie is all too real.
Caitlin Little ran cross country for Southeast Guilford High School in Greensboro. But on October 12, 2017, her life changed forever.
Since running is generally a no-contact sport, one wouldn’t expect to be injured during practice as if they were playing tackle football.
But Little suffered a concussion after someone ran into her at practice that day, and that action has turned out to cause more challenges than anyone expected.
Little suffered headaches and her neurologist suggested her parents do everything they could to keep the concussion from getting worse.
“…he recommended, ‘cocooning,'” Caitlin’s dad, Chris Little, told WGHP. “Cocoon her, protect her from anything very stimulating that might induce more headaches.
“He said, ‘Well, OK, this looks pretty bad,'” Chris went on. “‘But, in my experience,’ he said, ’90 percent of these resolve themselves in three weeks.'”
Three weeks came and went, and the weeks turned into months, and Caitlin’s life is much different than it was before the accident, over 16 months ago. When she sleeps, the slate of her short-term memory is wiped clean and she wakes up, unable to recall most of the previous day.
“I’m always afraid that she’s going to jump out of bed and tell me, ‘It’s wrong’ and, ‘It can’t be,'” Chris shared. “And, why am I lying to her?”
“I wake every morning thinking this was just a nightmare,” Caitlin’s mother, Jennifer Little, shared in a vulnerable Facebook post.
Caitlin shared some of the biggest challenges she faces regarding her condition. “I get plagued by confusion most often, wanting to know, ‘Well, how did that happen?'” she told WGHP.
“[I have to be] very organized,” she said in an interview, as recorded in a second WGHP article. “So I have lots of Post-It notes that say, ‘Hey, let’s do this,’ or, ‘This is new,’ or things to help me out. So it’s not as hard as I’d imagine it’d be without them.'”
Caitlin’s teachers feel the weight of her memory loss, too. Caitlin has to keep photos of her teachers in her binder along with descriptions of who they are and what they teach.
“I come in and meet her and she doesn’t know who I am,” Tracy Helms, a special education teacher, told WGHP in an interview. “Every day, she doesn’t know where her seat is in this class, she doesn’t know who her teacher is. Every day is fresh and new to her, just like it’s never been seen before.”
Our hearts are with the Little family as they continue to face new challenges and pray for Caitlin’s recovery. We are praying alongside them and hoping for a miracle.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.