Jeff Probst has recently dealt with a temporary memory loss problem, which turned out to be a rare form of amnesia.
The Survivor host is doing well now, but when he opened to host Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest on Wednesday’s episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan, the 58-year-old said that things were scary when he suddenly lost his memory for a single day.
Probst said it all started when he was booking a flight for himself and his wife, Lisa Ann Russell.
“It gets to your wife’s birthdate. And I went, ‘What is my wife’s birthdate?’ And I couldn’t figure it out, so I texted my wife and I said, ‘Could you call me?’ So she called me. She said, ‘What’s going on?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t really know what’s happening? I don’t know anything. Like, where are the kids?’ She said, ‘They’re at school.’ I said, ‘Where are you?’ She said, ‘I’m at work.’ I said, ‘Something’s wrong,’” he recalled.
The Survivor host went on to elaborate more on how the next few hours he had “zero recollection of anything that was happening to me.”
“I had no idea who I was, where I was,” Probst continued. “I even wrote a note on my laptop, I wrote a note that said, ‘For our records, I have no idea why I’m wearing these clothes, I have no idea where our kids are, I have no idea what day it is, I have no idea why I’m writing this.’ And then a little later I type, ‘I just read this. Have no memory of writing it.’”
The sudden memory loss was confined to just three hours, but he couldn’t remember anything that happened during that time until the next morning, when the 58-year-old game show host was off to see a neurosurgeon.
“Right before I did the MRI, my memory came back,” Probst said. “And it was that quickly. I was like, ‘Oh wow, I’m back.’ … When I could think, I hit the elevator belt to go up to get the MRI, and I had a moment of — cause I didn’t know what it was at this moment — ‘What if this is it? What if this is early dementia?’”
After the testing, the neurosurgeon came back and explained to Probst that he experienced a rare amnesia condition called global transient amnesia.
“[The neurosurgeon] figures out that — what I had for three hours, I had absolutely no memory, don’t know what I did during those three hours — he said it’s called, global transient amnesia. Or TGA. And it’s just what happens, you lose your memory,” he said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, global transient amnesia “isn’t serious, but it can still be frightening.” There is no known cause of the condition, but it is most common in people of middle or older age, and it will go away after a few hours.
The Survivor host said he’s now thankful for every day he has.
“Now, more than ever I think of Fridays. I think of the weekend and I’m like, ‘I got one more weekend, let’s go.’ [But I’m fine now], 100%.”
The brand-new season of Survivor: Winners at War airs February 12.