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The Lost Mariner Reaction

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Out of the four cases I read from The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks, The Lost Mariner was my favorite. All four of the case studies were very interesting and actually enjoyable, but this one stuck out and grabbed my attention the most.

In The Lost Mariner, the patient Jimmie, who was drafted into the Navy when he was seventeen years old, had been sent to Sack's place because he was said to be "Helpless, demented, confused and disoriented". We find that he has a very bad memory and can only remember perfectly what happened in the past. His memory stops at the year 1945. Anything that happened or happens after that time, he forgets within minutes. Sometimes, he even thinks he is in the year 1945 and that his is nineteen years old. He also has no recollection of any person he has encountered after that year. He remembers his brother, but only as his brother in `45. He remembers that his brother is to be engaged to a woman from Oregon and that he is in accountancy school. When he sees his brother, he is surprised at how old he looks. At first, he doesn't even believe that the "old man" is his own brother. When the doctor gives him a mirror so he can see himself, he becomes very upset and confused. However, he forgets this in a matter of a few minutes. Eventually, we learn that he has Korsakov's syndrome, which is usually caused by alcoholic degeneration of the mammillary bodies. In this case, his brother wrote Sacks a letter about Jimmie. The letter tells Sacks that after the war, he never went to work and fell apart. He also wrote that he had always been a drinker, but in 1970, his drinking became worse. He never is able to regain his memory.

This case reminds me of a movie I have seen. While I was reading this, the whole time I kept thinking 'This reminds me of 50 First Dates'. In this movie, the main character Lucy, played by Drew Barrymore, lost her short term memory because of a car accident



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