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The man without a memory clive wearing

Feedback Doubleday Each time Clive Wearing sees his wife Deborah, he thinks they are being reunited after a long separtion. Watching the Wearing couple is like sitting in on the rehearsal for a play: Again and again, Deborah walks in the door and Clive rushes excitedly forward.

But it's no theater play. All emotions are real. To Clive Wearing, every reunion is the first in ages. He doesn't know whether his wife was just in the bathroom or maybe out checking the mail. He forgets about her as soon as she is out of sight. Just as he forgets about everything else: Which is why he is so excited each time Deborah reappears: Was she gone for 20 years or just for two minutes?

He hasn't the faintest idea. In fact, Clive Wearing, a 66-year-old Brit, cannot remember a thing. Out of sight, out of mind.

British Musician Battles Amnesia: The Man without a Memory

Barbara Wilson, a psychologist who has examined him several times, says: Life before the illness has left few traces. Wearing knows that he is married to Deborah, but has no memory of his wedding day. He recognizes their children, but cannot remember how many he has. If you say "Winston" he will reply "Churchill," but denies ever having heard of the man.

Garden variety amnesia -- people forget about their past lives -- is not terribly uncommon. But forgetting on a continuous basis; that is very rare indeed. To Clive Wearing, the world is an ongoing riddle. He looks around and sees an unfamiliar room. Frequently, strangers stand in front of him and claim to be nurses. They claim that he has been living here for many years. All Wearing knows is: He has just woken up from a deep haze. There is no other way for him to explain the emptiness within him.

He has no memories, no images, nothing. For 20 years Clive Wearing has been continuously waking up. And when he sees his wife again, his bliss is indescribable; He's not alone among strangers after all.

His first question to Deborah, the most pressing and always the same, is: I did not see, hear or feel anything. It's like being dead, a long night that drags on -- how long, darling? She answered him for so long she couldn't do it anymore and ultimately divorced him and went to New York, in search of a new life, another man, perhaps even children. But in the end, she came back to Clive Wearing: A Memoir of Love and Amnesia".

Doubleday, London, 340 pages. To some extent, they are his memoirs. The book tells the tale of a person who is trapped in a moment that drags on eternally.

And yet, when the the man without a memory clive wearing meet again, he often jumps up in joy and waltzes his wife around the hallway: I could kiss you all day long! Is Clive's state improving? All the better, then, that Clive's condition seems to be improving lately.

He seems more untroubled of late, and not as obsessed with waking up anymore. Recently, he even let himself be treated to a night at the cinema. And he has started to laugh at jokes again -- but they have to be short enough that he remembers the beginning. Deborah Wearing is hopeful. It's not much, but it's a wonderful change compared to the horrors at the beginning. In March 1985, just one and a half years after their wedding, Clive was rushed to the hospital with a bad case of encephalitis -- an infection of the brain.

The infection spread quickly and he fell into a coma for more than two weeks. When he came back to life, MRI scans made clear just how bad the damage was. Several regions of his brain were severely damaged and the hippocampus -- which plays an important role in memory formation -- was totally destroyed. Signs of major disorientation surfaced quickly during his convalescence. Wearing poured sugar on his potatoes and would shove the menu into his mouth. When shaving, he not only worked on his chin and cheeks, but he also shaved his forehead, nose and eyebrows.

Tears that flowed were soon forgotten Doubleday The couple's happy wedding day in 1983. One day when Deborah Wearing visited her husband in the hospital, his face was a picture of complete horror at his condition. That evening he started to cry. He cried all night and all through the following days.

His pillow was wet with tears; he was constantly thirsty because he had lost so much fluid. Even before he opened his eyes in bed in the mornings, his tears started to roll down his cheeks and at night he fell asleep crying. After one month he was still crying but the tears had stopped flowing. For most of us, crying can have a cathartic effect, and we soon feel better.

For Wearing, however, the tears were without effect. He forgot how many he had shed; they just drained out of his eyes. During his crying spell, Deborah Wearing would often ask her husband: Wearing was left with nothing more than short term memory. Generally, it's barely enough to remember a new face or a telephone number for a few seconds. Every new input deletes the old. In a normally functioning brain, important items are transferred to long term memory before being deleted.

In Clive Wearing's brain, however, this transfer never takes place. His life is stuck in the present moment: Every perception that comes before that moment, is erased forever. Conspiracy theory As time went by, Wearing calmed down slightly. Once, his wife found him staring at a chocolate in his hand. Again and again, he closed his hand and opened it again. Each time, a new sweet -- one which he had never seen before -- reappeared.

Almost everything in his surroundings was a riddle. Especially when Wearing played solitaire to relax as he often had before his illness. As soon as he looked away, the layout of the cards had changed completely.

He feared a conspiracy and it was his mission to find his enemies. Again and again, Wearing would deal out the cards and then write down the the man without a memory clive wearing -- even going so far as creating a secret code that only he could understand.

He didn't get far.

  • With this said an account could be given of why he is unable to store new memories;
  • During this time, he repeatedly questions why he has not seen a doctor, as he constantly believes he has only recently awoken from a comatose state;
  • To some extent, they are his memoirs;
  • I tried to imagine how it was for him;
  • To Clive Wearing, the world is an ongoing riddle;
  • He would have forgotten what he was doing on the way from one note to the next.

Now, he not only found cards changed around by an unknown hand, but also an unknown note -- in his own handwriting but clearly not written by him.

He had just woken up after all. Several times he asked: She thought it would aid him in conquering the past. And Clive diligently wrote down his day. But differently than his wife had thought he might: New entries continue down the page asserting that Clive is awake. Most are scribbled out, corrected and written over: Thousands of crumpled pages filled with scrawling notes written in the fervor of getting everything straight.

Brain alive at the sound of music There is only one thing that helps him escape his maze: Everyday, Wearing sits at the piano and if someone puts sheet music in front of him, he plays it flawlessly. The structure of the pieces he plays provides order to his life, linking the moments. He rolls across the staves as if he were on the tram, his wife writes. If the musician has no music in front of him, he plays what he feels like playing -- "and it's always the same piece," says Deborah Wearing.

Her husband has no sense of repetition.