Memory Clinic…

In England we have Memory Clinics.

My mother used to go to one to rule out dementia, or as it used to be called, senility.

She was asked a few questions about current and past events; of course she was brilliant at the past ones and had a bit of a stretch for the current ones, but for the most part she remembered to get herself up in the morning, eat reasonably well, walk the dog, watch Wimbledon and enjoy her uninterrupted life.

We also have Falls Clinics where my father would go to have his balance, and potential for further tumbles, evaluated.  He was given exercises to do.

My mother finally started going there too, initially because of her age,

and eventually because she did fall a couple of times, once in the garden and once against her bathroom sink.

She’d go every few months, be picked up by an ambulance and brought home after the appointment,

“I wish they’d just leave me alone,” she’d complain when I called to ask about her day.


My brother told me that he had gone to one of these clinics recently, the memory one.

He’d blacked out while on holiday last year and cracked his head open poolside in front of his two teenage sons.

A couple of days in hospital and several stitches later he resumed his holiday and didn’t think much more about it, except for his scar that faded with time.

Over the course of the year he noticed slight slips of memory.  Now Vincent has a fabulous ability to recall the most minute detail and he was getting worried,

“I’ve started writing things down like you do,” he told me a few months ago.

“I forget where I put things,” he confided.


“I lose my train of thought when I’m talking to someone,” he said.

“Welcome to the sixties,” I chided!  None of these lapses were new to me.

He took himself off to a memory clinic to check his head…just in case…and had some tests run; nothing wrong with his memory.

He had a brain scan; nothing wrong there except for a tiny polyp on the side of his grey matter,

“It could be from the fall but we can’t be certain without a previous scan to compare it to,” he was told by the doctor.

He left feeling relieved that he’d been able to rule out any permanent damage incurred by his fall or evidence of early-onset-dementia.


A few minutes later on the train home his phone rang,

“Mr. Baggarley?  This is the doctor from the Memory Clinic.  I just wanted to let you know you forgot your raincoat!”




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