Tag Archives: Memory loss

DR ABBY WATERMAN’S LOST MARBLES SYNDROME?

Forget-me-nots in Westminster

According to Wikipedia: A syndrome is a set of medical signs and symptoms which are correlated with each other and often associated with a particular disease or disorder. The word derives from the Greek, meaning “concurrence”. Usually, syndromes are named after people by others, but I have called this one after myself because I am both the patient and a doctor.

The symptoms often start in early middle age, though many people show signs of the disease earlier. Sufferers complain that a word is on the tip of their tongue, but they can’t recall it, or that they recognise faces, but can’t put a name to them. Some have claimed that during Lockdown they found it difficult to know what day of the week it was and that when they left the house, they had to go back to check that they’d remembered to turn off the gas and lock the front door.

As a child, I had a nearly photographic memory– couldn’t read a book twice because I’d know what was on the next page – but that faded with increasing age. I didn’t really notice that my store of marbles was less full than it had been, until in 2016 when I had a near-fatal heart attack. When I came off the ventilator, I not only had the weirdest delusions but found that quite often I couldn’t think of the exact word I was looking for -– something that had been rare for me. Later, I noticed that my spelling wasn’t as accurate as it used to be, and that I was increasingly grateful for my spell checker.

It is typical of sufferers of this syndrome that they have secret fears of developing Alzheimer’s, but their worries are often unfounded.

Some think that a nice cup of tea helps, while others recommend lazing in the sun on the French Riviera, or a long scented bath. However, there are no scientific double blind trials to investigate these types of therapy, although the anecdotal evidence is that all three have been found to be of some value.

I would welcome hearing of further examples of the effect of my syndrome as I am thinking of applying to the Medical Research Council for a grant to compare the benefit of a cruise on a COVID-free liner in a POSH cabin, with that of a Weekend in Southend-on-Sea. However, I fear that the Council might balk at the cost of a first class cabin with private balcony.

Note: My memoir is called ‘Woman in a White Coat’ not ‘Increasingly Forgetful Abby Waterman’. You can read more of Abby’s stories in her memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ and her previous posts Abby’s Tales of Then and Now. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site and get a taster for free. ‘Woman in a White Coat’ is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £9.99 in paperback. ‘Abby’s Tales of Then and Now’ is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour.

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