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Photographic Memory

I worked on an ambulance a couple of weeks ago. We arrived at the house to find an elderly woman called Mary, experiencing abdominal pains. We introduced ourselves and discovered that she had quite a complicated medical history. We examined her and performed all her physical observations as well as a 12-lead ECG before leaving the house to take her to hospital. While we were doing all this her son was packing her overnight bags, collecting her medications and hospital letters.

He made a throw away comment as he left the room to collect something.

“So Lysa, you never did run off back to the circus then?”

I was really surprised by this comment, because although I hadn’t paid too much attention to him, his face hadn’t appeared at all familiar to me. How did I know him and how did he know that I had worked in the circus? I looked up at Mary and asked her what her son’s name was in the hope that it may jog my memory.

“Adam” she replied. This still rang no bells with me so I continued to be mystified. When he returned to the room we were still quite busy with Mary. Eventually, when I got a chance I apologised for not remembering him and inquired as to how we knew each other.

“Lysa, you were a student nurse on your first ward in 1989. I had had a heart attack and you took me to the Cardiac Cath Lab for an angio-gram – it was the first one that you had ever seen. We chatted while we waited to go in – I never forget a face!”

I’m still amazed when I think about it. I can’t even remember what the midwife who delivered my last child looked like and this man remembered so much detail from 21 years ago. He even recognised me despite the fact I am not nursing anymore and wear a completely different uniform. Clearly I haven’t changed a bit!

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