Chronic Illness

Traveling The World With An Invisible Disability

Once a globe-trotting television producer before a mega-virus struck her down, Emma Martins isn't letting her brain injury get in the way of living her best life.

When TV producer Emma Martins was sent on location to travel around the United States and Asia for the Discovery Channel pop science show How Do They Do It?, she couldn’t believe her luck.

Then, while on break in Vietnam, she contracted a viral infection that nearly killed her: acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a sudden inflammation of the brain and spinal cord that can lead to mobility problems, blindness, seizure, and comas.

After her illness, Emma had to relearn how to walk. ADEM had also damaged her optical nerves, leaving her partially-sighted. Realizing it would be impossible to return to her career, and newly aware of the issues afflicting the chronically ill, she became a befriender: a volunteer who gives support and companionship to people in need. She also writes about her progress on her blog.

Emma Martins filming on location in Trinidad before ADEM.

Yet despite living with a brain injury, Emma still travels the world, hoping that her example inspires others living with brain injuries to follow their passions, even if it requires adaptation. How do they do it, indeed? We spoke to Emma to learn more.

Are you able to recall much of your hospital experience?

I can’t remember much, but I do remember the MRI scans, getting blood taken out of my veins (which they could never find), and the parties and take-outs in my room. I had lots of friends and family around me, which really helped to get me through it all. I’ve only just realized that my mom relocated from another town for about six months to be with me.

It was quite a scary time. ADEM is apparently a ‘mega-virus’ which usually affects children but it’s more dangerous for adults. It caused a failure of my autoimmune system, which ended up attacking itself. It was touch and go, we didn’t know if I would win, or the virus. The only solution was taking a lot of steroids, and waiting.

How did ADEM affect you neurologically?  

I had to relearn everything.

My coordination, word recognition and eyesight were all affected. I had to relearn everything. Thankfully, I was always able to talk and express myself. I was transferred to a neurological hospital for rehabilitation and had to re-learn how to walk, cook, use money and even draw an exclamation point! I had to go back to square one with my yoga, swimming and running too.

After rehab, what sort of residual issues did ADEM leave you with?

When I was in hospital, I could hardly see at all. The fog has now lifted but I still can’t see on the right-hand side and I’m now registered as partially-sighted. My sight gets worse through anxiety – a very strange concept to me.

Beforehand, I don’t think I’d struggled with anxiety, but maybe my friends in TV would say otherwise. I now struggle with huge anxiety on a daily basis which I control using mindfulness techniques to calm my brain.

I can express myself very well, but it can be frustrating when people don’t realize I have a hidden disability.

I can express myself very well, but it can be frustrating when people don’t realize I have a hidden disability. I now have to be very outspoken about my fatigue levels, and when things are too much for me.

Being a TV producer is a very demanding role. Were you eventually able to transition back to work?

Emma Martins on location as a television producer in Campos de Agave, Mexico.l

Exactly a year after leaving rehab, my occupational therapist suggested volunteering to help me get back into the workplace. My first job as a volunteer was a befriender. I was then involved in outreach: visiting schools, job centers and charities to help to inspire people to volunteer, and won an award for exemplary contribution to voluntary services from the Mayor of London.

That year I also ran a half marathon, raising funds for a brain injury charity, and made my first film after my brain injury, educating people on what a brain injury is.

Since you’re unable to return to your previous role, you’ve adapted to using your media skills in new ways?

Yes, I’m volunteering for SweetTree, a home care service provider, training new support workers by giving them a real insight into what it’s like to live with a brain injury.

For the past year I’ve also been working on a podcast with celebrities who have experienced life-changing health situations. I feel like it’s helping me to stay in the industry and great to help my brain push forward into these new avenues. I’m hoping that by sharing my story and other people’s stories I can inspire others. I’m also hoping to start working on another film this year.

Did you resume traveling again? If so, what are the challenges?

Emma Martins in Valencia after recovering from ADEM.

I’ve always loved travel – for work and for pleasure – and this hasn’t changed. My first trip (during recovery) was to the South of France. Luckily,  my Auntie has a caravan there where I could relax, do yoga and chill-out in the sunshine. Going to the local markets with my heightened sense of noises and smells was good practice.

Next was the ‘land of Abba’, Sweden. I was still quite sick, however didn’t want to miss out on my friend’s bachelorette party. My memory is better now, but at the time I struggled to even remember the way back to the hotel, and anxiety levels were high. Things like using the hotel keys and getting the right room were skills I hadn’t yet relearned. A lot of it is linked to confidence, and at that time I couldn’t rely on my memory.

What other issues have you overcome while traveling?

Getting on and off boats in the Philippines with my balance and eyesight issues was pretty tricky. I loved it there, but uneven surfaces and getting around from the place we were staying at was hard. There was no accommodation in the Phillippines for people who are partially-sighted, so I just had to get on with it!

There was no accommodation in the Phillippines for people who are partially-sighted, so I just had to get on with it!

From that point on, I learned to ask for help – and most people tend to be very kind. I’ve also been to Australia for a month and to Spain to try to salvage my recollection of the Spanish language – which luckily hasn’t been lost.

What plans do you have for the future?

No one knows what’s around the next corner, so nowadays I’m living in the moment, and taking all these opportunities to improve. On one hand,  I’m lucky to still be here and to be able to travel to these fantastic places, but on the other hand, I’m very, very unlucky due to what’s happened to me. I’m getting better all the time, but there is still a long road ahead.


The Man With A Digital Memory

After being hit by a car, Thomas Dixon lost the ability to form autobiographical memories. So he created Me.mory, an app to store them for him.

Eight years ago, while out on a jog near his parents’ house in the days before Christmas, Tom Dixon, a pre-med student at the University of Pennsylvania, was struck by a car. Waking up in the hospital, Dixon was told that he suffered a brain injury and would have permanent episodic memory loss. “I tell people it was a day I’ll never remember and a date I’ll never forget,” he says.

Dixon was told by his doctor that he would need a notepad to record details: what he had eaten during the day, who he had spoken to, what plans he had made. The idea struck him as archaic. “I said, ‘God no, I have a computer in my pocket. Let me do what I’ve been doing since late middle school, when I got my first cellphone.’” Dixon began augmenting his memory loss with his smartphone and computer. A few years ago, while working on a masters degree at Temple University in psychology, he decided to make an app that could do his remembering for him. He called it ME.mory.

The app, which has a few thousand beta users from Somalia to Spain and is due for public release in 2019, says Dixon, allows users to record a “digital memory,” each one searchable and organized by date. Users can even attach emotions to the notes, to help them recall the memories better (it is currently being retooled and will be available to new users by the second quarter of 2019). “Who are we but our past moments?” Dixon says. “We like to think we are carefree at any given moment but we need a sense of direction, a sense of purpose.”

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) constitute a major cause of disability and death in the U.S. It is thought that 1.7 million Americans experience TBI annually and about 2% of the U.S. population live with some kind of TBI-related disability. Auto accidents are the third leading cause of TBI among all age groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Due to the sheer scope of TBI cases, it has been referred to as the “silent epidemic.” Though awareness of TBIs have increased over the years, with public attention focused on football-related concussions and war veteran head injuries, it is still relatively poorly understood by medicine. We caught up with Dixon, 34, to hear about his experiences living with a TBI-related disability and how, through embracing technology, he has been able to adapt and thrive.

Dixon was told by his doctor that he would need a notepad to record details… The idea struck him as archaic. “I said, ‘God no, I have a computer in my pocket.’”

What was your rehabilitation experience like following your accident?

I was in an ICU for a week and a half. I had intensive inpatient rehabilitation through Moss Rehab’s Traumatic Brain Injury Program. They’re famous for it. After a bit of time with them I went into outpatient treatment. I qualified for funding for extended services a year and a half later, also through Moss. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy. Speech therapy relates more to how you think through issues and problems, how you would tackle something confidently, how you process thoughts. Occupational therapy is more about proving you can “do things”: get from one location to another, cook a meal by yourself, use your bank account, etc. It all made a big difference. They helped me change my career focus from psychiatry to educational psychology. I got my masters in that in 2014, entirely after my injury.

Thomas Dixon.

What was your memory like during this time?

I had pretty severe memory loss at the beginning, much more than now. There is a recovery window where you regain a bit of functioning. They put me under with medications to give my brain a chance to heal. Initially, when people would explain what had happened to me, all I said was, “Wow.” There was a huge initial period where my family had to be convinced that how I was proceeding was typical for someone with an injury like mine. I had a notepad by my bed that said, “You were hit by a car. You’re in recovery. Your parents will be here at 4 o’clock.” After that I went through the rehab stuff.

Initially, when people would explain what had happened to me, all I said was, “Wow.”

What is the extent of your memory loss now?

Let me ask you: what did you eat for lunch yesterday?

Shrimp ceviche.

On my own, I can’t tell you. That gives you some extent of my episodic memory loss.

No matter how hard you try?

It’s definitely not a matter of effort. This is where we need to be mindful of what is the overlap between memory and logic. If I start telling you I did not eat this thing, that would be using logic because I know the things I don’t eat typically. The sense of who I am has remained. Also if I know I was in this area of the city, I probably wasn’t eating, say, Chinese food. But no matter how hard I try, I don’t know for sure. Even for last night’s dinner I don’t know.

A look at Me.mory, Dixon’s upcoming app for people with traumatic brain injuries and memory loss.

Is your brain still in recovery?

The window, they say, is six months to two years for quote-unquote recovery. It’s been a long time since then, getting closer to a decade now. Recovery is done. The reason I say quote-unquote is because I take a strong opinion–and many others in the brain injury community do as well–that there is no such thing as recovery. There is a period where you do regain some functioning. But I’ve lost this very huge part of my organic memory ability. It’s perhaps even “invisible disability” discrimination to talk about brain injury with recovery; if I lost my arm would people say to me, “You’ve recovered?” No. They would say I’ve adapted and learned strategies. Why do we say, because it’s an invisible disability, that it’s recovery rather than adaptation?

For years, I was using Twitter. I had a private account. I tweeted for myself to myself; I had no followers. That was my memory, a Twitter memory.

What has your adaptation process been like?

For years, I was using Twitter. I had a private account. I tweeted for myself to myself; I had no followers. That was my memory, a Twitter memory. If you lose your phone you don’t lose your Twitter account. But it was hard to search my own memories. I would have to download my Twitter archive onto a laptop and then I would have to search. That’s something I needed with ME.mory, that functionality to be able to search my memory on the go. I was doing the Twitter thing for years. Even into graduate school. I got into Temple for my masters in 2012. I was even doing it when I went into this idea incubator they had there. I walked in and said, “I have an idea for an app.” They put me in touch with the developer.

What’s the difference between your app and, say, the Notes app on my Iphone?

What do this robot and Thomas Dixon have in common? They both store their memories digitally.

My entire ME.mory is searched when I use the search feature, then it gives all the search words I’m looking for in reverse order, with the most recent at the top. It’ll automatically highlight for me in the entry where the word is. ME.mory will give statistics like, “Hey, you mention coffee more in the morning than the afternoon. I guess you drink coffee more in the morning.” Or, “Look you haven’t seen this friend much this year compared to last.” Things like that give me all sorts of data that I can make inferences from. The graphs let me see if changes are happening overtime. I also get graphs related to what time of the day I’ve mentioned something, split into four time periods.

How many times a day do you post?

Sometimes I don’t have much going on so there’s nothing to note or there’s too much going on so I have no time to. Looking at my app right now, I have an average from the last five days of three posts per day. I haven’t made any today. Yesterday I made six, partly because I was seeing old friends. Sometimes I hand people my phone and ask them to write things in my ME.mory. It’s been cool to show them years later what they wrote, then we talk about that experience. Yesterday my friend wrote about the night we were having, playing retro video games.

When you tell people you can’t remember your life, they almost always say, “I’m sorry.” Then you tell them you have a digital memory and they almost always say, “That’s awesome.”

What are some of your future plans?

There’s a book I’ve wanted to publish. It’s already written and twice edited. My experience with my disability and inventing ME.mory is really captured in the title I want to use: I’m Sorry, That’s Awesome. When you tell people you can’t remember your life, they almost always say, “I’m sorry.” Then you tell them you have a digital memory and they almost always say, “That’s awesome.” These are the actual words. I heard them a few times last night and will hear them tonight at my high school reunion.

How have users responded to the app?

When you release something people decide how they’re going to use it. You can tell them how but people just end up running with it, like what I did with Twitter. We’re seeing the same with ME.mory. Parents are recording their children’s life; caretakers are recording lives of the elderly; patients are using it as an injury log to bring up with their doctor later, which I do actually. I take seizure medication and in the doctor’s office I will pull up all the entries with the word seizure to show the doctor. I don’t need to prepare any notes before the appointment.

People act like memory loss is only for one small minority but it’s all of us… We all have severe memory loss.

How do you think about memory and memory loss?

We all have severe memory loss. If I ask you what you had today last year for lunch you don’t know. You forget the overwhelming majority of your life. People act like memory loss is only for one small minority but it’s all of us. We’re already making tech reminders all the time. I’ve just readjusted how we use those technologies for my own purposes. I’ll make calendar alerts for stuff that aren’t appointments, stuff that I want to keep in mind generally as time passes. I’ll email myself things to do that are not urgent. I rely more heavily on texts. But I’ll also get on a call like this then update my memory later about the call. Those are a number of workarounds that a lot of people are doing some version of already. I think of memory loss as a universal issue.

Acute Illness Rare Diseases

A Brain Infection Destroyed My Marriage, But Made Me A Writer

For two years, I lost much of my ability to communicate. I clawed it back, but not before realizing my husband and I didn't have much to say to each other.

My husband and I were as different as night and day. In our marriage, he spoke the language of computer software and Bluetooth; once, when the principal at the high school where he taught asked all teachers to start providing him weekly lesson plans, he created a computer program to generate them automatically. Me, I balked at learning to navigate a new computer or phone, but cherished language, treating my words like pets and people: each with their own personalities and preferences, each one familiar and loved.

Fundamentally, my husband and I understood language differently. Words had specific meanings in my mind:  “Angry” was different from “livid” which was different from “strongly irritated”. For my husband, though, words were imprecise.  “Weird” was his blanket term for anything he couldn’t describe – from incompetent school secretaries to students who played out-of-tune. Other words passed through his vocabulary like fads: one day he asked me if he looked like a “curmudgeon” in his new suit. I would spend days dissecting his phrasing and sly grin before I realized he thought that was a good thing.

One day three years into our marriage, I stood up after teaching a violin lesson and my feet refused to lift from the ground. I shuffled to the door as if I were ice skating, then dialed my mother-in-law to rush me to my doctor. I would have called an ambulance if I’d thought they would know what to do with me, but how do you explain to a paramedic that you forgot how to walk? The months of biting fatigue, the clumps of hair darkening the drain, the wobbly feeling I got when I wore heels—all the clues suddenly came together to reveal a sickening conclusion.

One day three years into our marriage, I stood up after teaching a violin lesson and my feet refused to lift from the ground.

“Cerebritis,” my doctor called it. “You have inflammation in your brain.”

My sense of time, my short-term memory, my long-term memory, the sensation in my left arm, and my understanding of the world around me unraveled over the next month. But what frightened me most was losing my words.

I used to chatter about my students and crack jokes with my husband as we sat in the kitchen slipping bits of steak or corn to the dogs. Now I lay listlessly sipping coffee from a travel mug with a bendy straw stuck through the hole in the top.

“How was your day?” he’d ask when he came home from work.

“Bad,” I’d say simply.

Not painful, depressing, harrowing, or disturbing. Just bad: a word so general in its negativity that it barely conveyed any meaning at all.

Aphasia. A beautiful name for the implosion of the bridge that connected me to the rest of the world.

Aphasia. A beautiful name for the implosion of the bridge that connected me to the rest of the world.

I felt some comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone. Many survivors of brain trauma struggle for words, struggle to communicate. I watched video after video of Gabby Giffords mouthing “watch” or “spoon” for her speech therapist. I slept with a tattered copy of Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight in the bed beside me, often waking up to read a sentence or two about her recovery to carry me through the night. But could either of them tell me how to get my words back?

A woman in a red sweater with chin-length brown hair posing for the camera in her living room with a blue chair in the background.

Author Meghan Beaudry today.

My mother-in-law moved into our house to take care of me in August and stayed until March. I struggled to communicate my basic needs to her from the bed in which I had become trapped. I asked her one day for “a thing that you put another thing inside and then put it in the mail.” When I needed a pillow, I requested a “head thing.” She grinned and brought me a hair brush.

As I struggled with my aphasia I wondered for myself if this inability to find the right words for thing was what my husband felt all the time. It was so still, foreign but peaceful.

“I feel like I understand you now,” I once said to him.

“Sure,” he replied.

“Do you like me like this?”

He looked at me with a tight-lipped red-eyed smile that I couldn’t read. Then he looked down at the floor.

Maybe we could survive like this, I thought, neither of us able to articulate but connected by mutual nonverbal understanding. I imagined us holding hands in silence and walking together in a park when this neurological disaster was all over.

I imagined us holding hands in silence and walking together in a park when this neurological disaster was all over.

As the months passed and my body grew weaker,  I stopped walking almost entirely. My husband came to visit me after work in the spare bedroom where I was confined to bed. He seemed to walk through the door later each night. Sometimes when I asked him to bring me water or a snack, he left the room and I didn’t see him again until the next day.

Reentering the world without my words terrified me. I resolved to write five hundred words a day to force my brain to recover what my disease had stolen from me. Sentences grew into paragraphs, paragraphs into essays and stories. All the anguish of losing my way of communicating with the world trickled out onto the page in front of me.

In the hours I spent in bed with my laptop propped up on pillows over my stomach, I waited to pounce on the few words that crept into my consciousness. When I managed to capture an interesting turn of phrase, a pun, or a complete sentence, I immortalized it in a text message to my husband.

Hair today, gone tomorrow, I captioned a picture of a clump of my hair on the floor.

A-pear-antly, I typed under a photo of a pear before I ate it.

I didn’t hear back from him.

“I want to be dunked in a vat of immunosuppressants at my next doctor’s appointment,” I joked one night as my husband stood in the doorway of my room after work.

He looked at the floor straight-faced. “You told me that one yesterday,” he said.

My loss of health and language revealed cracks in our marriage that I hadn’t seen before.

More than anything, what I was trying to tell him was that everything would be okay: that the inflammation that had swallowed my brain would one day recede like the ocean tide, and bring his wife back to him. But I didn’t have the words.

I spent the next two years clawing my way back to health. I relearned how to walk, my legs carrying me from the bedroom to the living room and eventually out the front door. My brain, stimulated by my new writing habit, began to mend the places where it had broken. I started a blog. I attended writing classes. My vocabulary expanded. Being surrounded by others who loved words as much as I do felt like coming home after a long journey.

I recovered from my illness, but my relationship with my husband never did. My words had stitched our relationship together when I was well. My loss of health and language revealed cracks in our marriage that I hadn’t seen before.

Five years after the breakdown of my brain, I still carve out time to write my daily five hundred words. Working hard to relearn what had once come naturally only deepened my love of language. The man I married is no longer part of my life, but I remind myself how lucky I am that words still are.

Creative Commons photo by Mary West.

Neurological & Cognitive Disorders

Ladlefuls Of Space-Time

Losing her memory didn't make Emily Eifler lose her sense of identity.

Emily Eifler leads a beautiful life. Every morning, she wakes up in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks next to her husband of 12 years, thanks to the caterwauling alarm of their alarm clock cat, who rigorously needs petting at dawn. She lives in a tiny, picturesque little house, with a bright and fragrant garden, where she sits, stroking her other cat. As she does so, she eats toast, butter, and honey, while reading comics — fantasy comics like Kieron Gillen’s The Wicked + The Divine are her favorite. When she’s done, she practices her yoga, and maybe does some dancing on the patio. Then she goes to work.


“I just draw on my head.”

A tatterdemalion of bright textures and clashing colors, Emily bikes to her lab in SoHo. She makes for a morning-brightening sight: her head is half shaved, she wears rainbow wool dresses and silk scarves over leopard print leggings, and her eyebrows are often smeared with streaks of literal magic marker. “I don’t mess with lipstick or foundation, no mascara or traditional applications of eyeliner. No contouring or cover up or highlighter,” Emily says. “I just draw on my head.”

It works. She looks like an awesome video game character, which is sort of appropriate, because Emily is a respected VR researcher, who spends her professional days working on the problem of how people perceive and integrate into the virtual world.

For almost a year, Emily has been posting a spherical 360-degree-video on her personal blog every day. These spherical videos are specifically important to Emily. She lovingly describes them as “little ladlefuls of space-time,” a way for her to externalize a moment into a virtual room she can explore at a later time. “My videos are a way for me to construct memories,” Emily says. That’s important for her. She can’t form memories like other people can. Whether it takes weeks, months or years, Emily’s chronic amnesia always sweeps them away.

On her 10th birthday, Emily’s family and friends went to a local hotel pool for a swim party. Invisible amongst the squealing and splashing–except, perhaps, in the flickering of the candles on her birthday cake–a carbon monoxide and chlorine gas leak unevenly filled the area. Everyone was poisoned, but Emily and her mother, a doctor, were affected worst. Emily’s mother experienced stroke-like side effects that practically paralyzed her with a crippling migraine for the next eight years. As for Emily, she developed what she calls “a grab bag of neurological issues, from Alice in Wonderland syndrome to post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Like her mother, Emily gets chronic migraines, which she treats with magnesium supplements and medical marijuana. (“It’s a miracle drug,” she says. “They say too much pot makes you a slacker, but I only have a full-time job because of medical marijuana.”) She suffers from periodic and debilitating trembling attacks, where her entire body feels set to shake itself apart. Her body’s ability to accurately tell where it is in space, called proprioception, is also severely limited, causing significant balance issues and forcing Emily to walk with a cane. But this condition actually makes Emily uniquely suited to tackling how a person is supposed to physically sense where they are within a virtual world when they can see and hear it, but not feel it. Non-virtually, that’s a problem Emily’s been dealing with ever since she was 10.

Curiously, what many people might find the most horrifying side effect of Emily’s brain injury is the one which bothers her the least: after a few months, she forgets almost everything. “I can’t really remember anything after the age of thirteen,” she says. If what happened was particularly meaningful, Emily will remember the fact of it afterwards, but not the details, or any of the first-person narrative. For example, Emily says that she knows that she once went to China on a trip, but she has no memory of anything that happened there. She doesn’t remember what she wanted to be when she was growing up, or why she went to college.

I miss my brother, even though he died a long time ago. I don’t know what I miss about him, but I do.

Sometimes, not being able to remember is as tragic as people, largely informed by movies like Christopher Nolan’s Memento, might expect. Years ago, Emily’s older brother Ryan died. Emily knows this, it’s a fact, but she can’t remember what Ryan’s face looked like, what happened on the day he died, or really almost anything about him. It’s just not there. The only thing that is there is sadness. “I still cry about it sometimes,” Emily says. “I miss my brother, even though he died a long time ago. I don’t know what I miss about him, but I do. Trauma is sticky. Those emotions are still stored in my body; my body still recognizes the welling of my heart.”


Beautiful with a fashion sense all her own.

But there’s also moments of great beauty in constant forgetting. Emily’s husband, Steve, who remembers things in “Technicolor detail,” is someone she says she is “constantly falling in love with” all over again. Because she can’t remember their life together, he lovingly describes it to her in newsletters, meant just for her. Through Steve, Emily is able to experience, again and again, the moments of passion, friendship, silliness, and tenderness that have intertwined them: their first date, their first kiss, the day they moved in together, the day they adopted their cats, and so on. Steve just never gets old for Emily. “Yesterday, he was in the living room, reheating food, while doing a silly dance and some weird voice,” she says. “I just sat there, thinking: he’s awesome, I love him so much. But I know I’m not going to remember this, which makes me enjoy it so much more in the moment. I can’t be nostalgic in the future. I have to be nostalgic for right now.”

I can’t be nostalgic in the future. I have to be nostalgic for right now.

One thing does concern Emily about her future. She and Steve have started talking about adding a baby to their happy household of buttered toast and cats. “We both want to have kids, but what does that mean? I’m going to forget their whole lives.” But ultimately, Emily and Steve don’t think it has to be a deal breaker. Even without a long-term memory, they know that Emily can be a good mother… the same way she is a great wife, a caring lover, a hilarious friend, a talented artist, a dutiful daughter, a respected professional, and more.

“When people first meet me, they’re so aghast that I don’t have a first-person narrative memory,” says Emily. “They think that if it disappeared, they’d disappear with it. But I’m still the same person: I didn’t lose my identity just because I lost my memory.” After all, everyone forgets. Emily just knows better than the rest of us that being good at remembering doesn’t have much to do with the kind of person you ultimately are.