For one man suffering from intense memory loss and hallucinations, his wife is his anchor as she ensures he wakes up to notes that remind him of their life together.
In a real-life version of the film 50 First Dates, starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, a 28-year-old woman has to keep reminding her husband of the love and life they share.
When Christopher Robin Turner, 36, was a teenager, he had been diagnosed with a rare condition called narcolepsy which results in vivid dreams called hypnagogic hallucinations and memory loss. It was the result of a car accident when he was 16 after he fell asleep at the wheel. He said, "At the time, nobody knew about narcolepsy and the internet wasn't around but when I went to see a neurologist they said I was the most narcoleptic person they'd seen," as quoted by Mirror UK. According to Mayo Clinic, narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that causes overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden bouts of sleep.
"I used to fall asleep throughout the day but with years of trial and error I've got the right medication and routine but I usually take naps once or twice a day," said Christopher. "I'm doing quite well with it now I'm older but if I sneeze or laugh I need to grab a chair and I make sure I'm sitting down a lot so I don't hit the floor."
The condition can also cause vivid dreams called hypnagogic hallucinations. "They're so realistic so if I get stung by a bee in my dream I can physically feel it," he continued. "There have been dreams where I've walked for miles on gravel and when I wake up my feet are in pain. When I've been awake for a while, my body adjusts and I come back." While this might be a condition that has no cure and could be an issue when in a relationship, love still found a way to assert itself in the man's life.
When the 36-year-old met Chelsea at work a decade ago, he knew they had something special. He said, "After the first date, that was pretty much it, it was love at first sight." Almost immediately, the couple moved in together and got married just five years later. But what made their bond that much more powerful was that Christopher was upfront with Chelsea about his narcolepsy and everything that came with it.
"I was really honest with her when we first met. Lots of narcoleptics get into relationships that don't last because it's just as hard on the partner," he shared. But Chelsea is a devoted wife. Every day, she helps him remember their beautiful life together. Each morning, the 36-year-old wakes up to little notes that explain not only his condition but his name, job, his wife's name, and the names of their two Australian Cattle dogs, Fox and Panda.
He said, "She's been writing notes for about six years. It's really thoughtful of her and I really appreciate it because it's unexpected for someone to be so completely understanding," according to Mirror UK. And Chelsea's dedication to ensuring that Christopher knows who he is makes him feel less lonely.
"The notes really help when I wake up in the morning because I know I'm not alone. There have been times where I've woken up and not recognised her or I'm wandering around the house working out who I am and she asks what I'm doing," said the window fitter from Victoria, Canada. "A few times she said I've woken up and just stood there saying I don't know where I am. It's so hard to explain it but I have two to three dreams per night and they're so realistic and vivid, I relive my past such as past relationships and when I wake up I'm stuck in the past and don't know where I am."
Christopher got extremely lucky to have found the person who would help him through it all and ensure he always felt loved and safe. Here's to many more happy years for the couple!
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by domoyega (Representative Image)