Navy Vet Wakes Up In Hospital, Can Only Speak Swedish – American Military News

Navy Vet Wakes Up In Hospital, Can Only Speak Swedish

Well this is truly bizarre.

61 year-old navy veteran and Florida native, Michael Boatwright was found unconscious in a Southern California Motel 6 back in February. When he awoke in the hospital, he looked in the mirror and began to cry, not recognizing the face looking back at him.

When doctors tried to talk to him, he thought that his name was Johan Ek and that he was from Sweden. He didn’t know why he had five tennis rackets in his hotel room.

He was diagnosed with dissociative amnesia and still to this day can only speak Swedish as he tries to piece back his memory. He plans to move to Sweden and become a tennis instructor because that is the only place he now can feel comfortable since he knows the language and tennis “is the one thing he is good at.”

Sadly Boatwright is also suffering from recurring and very disturbing nightmares he refuses to talk about. Every once and a while a random Swedish song or phrase will pop into his mind and linger, yet no memories of English or his past life have come back.

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Michael Boatwright got off the flight from Los Angeles to Sweden and tightly embraced an unfamiliar woman as if they were old friends.

They were. The two had dated briefly in the 1980s.

But Boatwright doesn’t remember any of that.

The 61-year-old Florida-born U.S. Navy vet woke up in a California hospital earlier this year speaking only Swedish.

He had lived in Sweden off and on for about 20 years. Now, here he was at Goteborg Landvetter Airport, where that old friend, Ewa Espling, plans to help him get himself together in her country.

“I just want to be able to live a normal life and hopefully get my memory back,” Boatwright said Tuesday.

Boatwright has been diagnosed with dissociative amnesia, a rare psychiatric condition typically associated with a traumatic event. He says he has no memory of his past.

Police found him unconscious in a Southern California Motel 6 in February.

Tuesday, Boatwright recalled that, waking up in the hospital this year, he looked at himself in the mirror and started crying. He didn’t recognize the face looking back.

When doctors tried to talk to him, he thought that his name was Johan Ek and that he was from Sweden. He didn’t know why he had five tennis rackets in his hotel room.

He was treated at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. The hospital discharged him to Roy’s Desert Resource Center, where he has spent the past two weeks.

The Riverside County Department of Mental Health bought him a one-way ticket to Gothenburg after Boatwright made it clear that he wants to live in Sweden.

Boatwright said Tuesday that he is grateful for all of the help he has received.

In the United States, Boatwright said, he felt like a stranger in his own country because he didn’t speak the language: English.

In Sweden, he feels safe and more calm and believes he’ll be able to start rebuilding his life.

“I think it’s the best solution for Michael, because he can’t speak English,” Espling said. “To recover fully, I think he needs to come where he’s safe and understands what’s happening around him.”

Before Tuesday, Espling and Boatwright hadn’t seen each other since 1984.

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