Velvet. Face. Red. Church.

Jessie Carson


This is a non-fiction story about my father who lost approximately 15 years of long-term memory and his short term memory overnight. The story takes place in the hospital during the time of attempted diagnoses. Faced with this illness, I learn that there are still afflictions that our modern medical science can not yet explain.

At the time I wrote this story (2013), my father was still ill. He never regained his long or short-term memory. Ten months into his illness he began to have grand mal seizures, which indicated a progressive autoimmune disease. Doctors performed additional tests. One was for a brain auto-immune disease called anti-NMDA-receptor autoimmune encephalitis and is only tested for in Spain by a doctor named Josep Dalmau. My father died exactly a year after the sudden onset of the illness, likely due to his heart stopping from a seizure. The day after that, it was confirmed that he did have the autoimmune disease that is only tested for in Spain.

This story was long-listed for Canada Writes in 2013.

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We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Munk School of Global Affairs, and Mount Sinai Hospital.

Canada Council for the Arts
Munk School of Global Affairs
Mount Sinai Hospital