GREENSBORO, N.C. — By now, you probably know Caitlin Little’s story: She was accidentally hit in the head by a cross country teammate at her high school in October 2017. It left her with a traumatic brain injury and a condition called anterograde amnesia.
Caitlin wakes up each morning with no memory of the day before. For 18 months – every day since the accident – she’s woken up thinking it’s Friday, October 13, 2017.
The family asked us to tell their story because they felt they had no other options. They’re a very private family but no doctor could give them any insight into why Caitlin can’t remember anything and, worse yet, no suggestions for what may heal her. They felt they needed to get the word out about her condition and they’ve heard from people from all around the world, many in similar situations
“One fellow who asked not to be identified told me that his daughter slipped and fell and hit her head in the bathroom one morning and has a 30-day running memory where she only remembers the last 30 days,” said Caitlin’s father, Chris. “So the day when she wakes up the 31st day before that drops off. So she doesn’t remember any of her family, any of your past experiences, can’t learn anything new unless you can, you know, learn it and master it in 30 days and then it’s gone.”
They welcome all the thoughts and suggestions but it can be challenging to sort through them all.
“That is what I find the most frustrating is there’s not one email, one message, one piece of advice that we can say, nope, can’t look at that because that might be the one,” said Caitlin’s mom, Jennifer. “And we have to spend our evenings when the kids finally go to bed. Research, research, research. OK. What part are you researching? Oh, I’m looking up this. You’re looking up and we’re constantly trying to see, are we doing, are we following the right path? Because we’re paving this path. It’s not paved for us. We have no one leading us right now. It’s overwhelming.”
The advice they’ve gotten from the medical community has been something of a smorgasbord.
“Dealing with the doctor is like dealing with contractors, work on your house,” said, Chris, a one-man construction outfit himself. “If the first one can’t do something, he brings in another one. He goes, ‘Oh, well we’ll ask. I didn’t know what he was doing. This is completely wrong. We need to flip this over.’ And then you bring in another one. He goes, ‘Well, why do you do it like that? Let’s, you know, get rid of this and do it a completely different way.’”
The doctors who have the widest audience have been calling as well.
“The Dr. Phil Show had one of his representatives call me and was very matter-of-fact, businesslike,” Chris said. “He saw your show – saw the episodes and was interested in airing it nationally. They were very kind and offered to fly us out, I think it was to LA to do a taping of the show. Offered to put us up in a hotel and said that if they could find somebody who might be able to help her, they might help out with that avenue too with doctors and all.”
See why they didn’t take Dr. Phil up on the offer – and which doctor they are flying to see – in this episode of “Caitlin Can’t Remember.”
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