My earliest recollection, believe it or not, was as a baby. I can recall being left outside a shop, in my pram, while my mum went inside. Now that is unlikely to happen today. Then I can recite old car registration plates going back years and years both my dad’s and my own.
But, for quite some time, all I could do was marvel at youngsters who knew their national insurance number, the UK equivalent of the US’s social security number, off by heart. Well, at least I didn’t know mine until multiple sclerosis put an end to me going out to work in 2006. Then I had to give my number to the authorities so many times that, suddenly and unexpectedly, I knew it.
But, although I have a clear memory of significant and important dates in my life, such as birthdays and anniversaries, there is one that just won’t come to mind.
Every time there is a social media post in an MS group asking when we were diagnosed with the disease, I am amazed that so many people are aware of the exact date; day, month and year.
Why would they remember that?
My diagnosis was made in April 2002. I can remember the circumstances and what the neurologist said. And how he showed me the MRI scan proving (contrary to the belief of some people) that, unlike the Scarecrow of the Wizard of Oz, I really do have a brain.
The relief in finally knowing what was immense. Yes, you did read that correctly. Being diagnosed as having MS was not a horror; it was a blessed relief. Now I could get on with my life.
But the exact day in April 2002? I haven’t a clue. What’s more, to be honest, that does not matter. It is not something I have forgotten, it’s just a date that, at the time, was not worth remembering.
It was just the same when I was diagnosed with epilepsy back in the early 1970s. Thinking back it had to be 1972 but that’s as close as I can get. You see, to me, that date was not worth remembering either.
Now, I am waiting for my Spanish NIE, my foreigner’s identification number. We are required by law to carry that with us, but I’ll probably end up knowing it anyway. That’s life!