This original movie, “I remember ME,” is a biographical documentary about ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), by Kim Snyder. She shows just how devastating the illness is to persons afflicted.
If you watch only the first 20 minutes of the movie, you will see, towards the end of the 20 minutes, how disparagingly the 259 patients afflicted, and the disease, were treated by the representatives of the CDC at Incline Village in Lake Tahoe; in fact, it is stated that these representatives had fun skiing and taking advantage of all the social activities offered by the location instead of concentrating on the reason why they were sent there. It was this delegation from the CDC that described these symptoms as “chronic fatigue syndrome” because they didn’t really know what the symptoms were, and they had to file the report of their “findings.”
Snyder’s travels are chronicled for four years as she tries to find answers about the mysterious illness with which she was finally diagnosed, after visiting several doctors. The motivation for Snyder was her fluctuating partial improvements followed by relapses of debilitating symptoms she experienced. Snyder was given many contradictory diagnoses for her symptoms, along with various drugs that were of no help to her.
The movie researches the history of the disease which takes Snyder to Florida, where a cluster outbreak occurred in 1956, and to Lake Tahoe, where many people became ill in the mid-1980s. The Florida victims were women who were “described in a medical journal as having hysterical paralysis.” She interviewed several of the women who became ill and later “recovered.” A group still meets to discuss their experiences with the illness. The Nevada group was a severe outbreak and Snyder interviewed treating doctor Daniel Peterson along with several of his patients. Peterson describes how the Centers for Disease Control investigated, but he does not believe that they intended to take the illness seriously. Peterson takes the illness very seriously, and seven of his patients have committed suicide.
Several other notable individuals with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (referred to in the movie as “CFS”) are interviewed, and they clearly express their lengthy “excruciating misery” in battling the illness. The interviews included movie director Blake Edwards, United States Olympic soccer gold medalist Michelle Akers, and a high school senior in Connecticut, bedridden for two years who is transported by ambulance to his high school graduation.
Snyder thoroughly investigates the illness but by the end of the movie few of the answers she sought at the beginning of her quest were found.
Snyder was, at the time, a New York-based filmmaker who worked on not-for-profit projects in the film world. Kim was struck down with M.E. in the mid-1990s while working as an assistant producer with Jodie Foster on Home For the Holidays.