I never gave it any thought about this concern until the recent years. It appears one side effect of a head injury is my inability to recognize faces when seen out of context. Technically, it is known as facial recognition neurological disorder.
One case in mind involves spending a few hours sharing breakfast with a group of new friends. One person was in her bathrobe at the time. We spoke face-to-face on numerous times throughout this time period.
Later in the day, I was walking along and a woman came up to me. She started chatting like we knew each other. She was wearing street clothes. After speaking with her for a few minutes, I asked if I knew her.
She was startled and replied, “Well, yes. We had breakfast together earlier today.” “Oh, yeah. I didn’t recognize you without your bathrobe,” I said.
The next time we saw each other was over breakfast the following day. “See, Marie. I’m wearing my bathrobe so you can recognize me,” she told me. We both chuckled. This led me to start believing I had some kind of facial recognition disorder.
Another case involves a well-known sports figure. When he was in uniform, I had no problem recognizing him. Or, if I was attending a sporting event that I knew he would be at…no problem. Without his uniform (in street clothing), I was forever wondering if that was him. It is a strange feeling of confusion and inadequacy. So many missed opportunities.
If I did think it was him and acknowledged him, then not receive a response, I thought it probably was not him or some other reason. Maybe he did not recognize me. From what the media reports…He has had concussions and head injuries. Will I ever know? In any case, I would like to thank him for opening my eyes to this condition.
This facial recognition disorder..or concern.. must be a result of my closed head injury. I never had that concern prior to my injury. This topic sounds like a research project.
NOTE: After wondering about this topic, I did perform some research prior to publishing this blog post. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) – there is a medical term given to this condition. Prosopagnosia. My eighth grade teacher would call that a “$50 word”. (A very large word..)..
“Prosopagnosia is a neurological disorder characterized by the inability to recognize faces.” For more information, click here: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Prosopagnosia-Information-Page
Hope this helps others going through the same thing.
AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or variety of other health concerns.
This award-winning site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various health conditions for over 40+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.