It is commonly called pumphead or postperfusion syndrome. The symptoms are subtle and include defects associated with attention, concentration, short-term memory, fine motor function, and speed of mental and motor responses (according to Wikipedia).
For me in my daily life it is having a bad short-term memory, (what i do not program into my mobile with an alarm i most probably will not remember), keeping track of names, finding the right words in a conversation, being able to think logically in sequenced steps, solving Sudoku, not being able to focus to read more than 2 pages in a book without loosing focus and thereby the context of the text, problems with spelling, low capacity of problem solving, ability to cope with stress etc. If i compare myself today, to how i perceived my self before i went under surgery I would say i woke up as a totally different person after surgery when it boils down to mental skills.
Writing a text like this is a project that takes a lot of energy, the text has to be corrected about 10-15 times for spelling errors, double words, missing words etc, and still when i read it slowly after putting it on the blog, i probable find errors on many places that i just could not see before.
I heard the word pumphead for the first time in my life, not by a doctor, but on facebook in the Aortic Dissection survivors group (wonderful group, and wonderful persons in the group). And all of a sudden i was relieved to get one more answer to what had happened to the large part of my intellect that is missing after having survived acute aortic dissection type A.
Shortly after surgery the doctors said that the slow brain was caused mainly by chemicals used during surgery and that i would go back to normal in a while. Only one doctor was direct and said, “you may need to live with this the rest of your life, so get used to it and start training your brain with different techniques“. I love this doctor for his direct and very honest approach to the matter. Since that day i have trained my brain every single day, in different ways.
One is that i have a list of names i go through every day. In the same time i thank the lord for the persons i the list. That is combining two important things in my daily routines :) Another is that I program everything of importance into my mobile phone with a sound alarm that goes off two times, first two hours before and then one hour before i need to do something.
Sorry, now i can’t do more today. I end this post with a photo from airport Charles de Gaulle in Paris France. Some 7-8 years ago i was travelling to France every monday morning with the 06:30 plane, and returning to Sweden on friday evening to spend the weekend with my wife and children. That specific year I worked with change management in a French company in Amiens, north of Paris. That was before i got my pumphead. Big hugs to everyone – and remember - life is wonderful also with a pumphead.