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  • joannaburridge

Do you know who the Prime Minister is?

As I write this, on July 7th 2022, the current Prime Minister has resigned. It's a bit debatable when he is actually leaving, but he is going...

I met a friend for coffee earlier this morning, and at that point the story hadn't broken, but there were a stream of ministers resigning. They said on the news 'By the time you have put the kettle on and made a cup of tea, another one has sent a resignation letter...'

As we sat down to our drinks (Earl Grey tea for me, a Latte for her) I started to update her about some health issues I was experiencing.

If you watch any hospital programmes, you may see sometimes that the medics assess someone's mental state by asking various questions - 'Do you know where you are?'for example. If someone is concussed, they might forget where they are and need to be reminded.

I made a jokey comment to my friend about how I'd been having some memory issues, but at least I knew who the Prime Minister is. I went on to say 'Although today, that might not be the best day to ask someone that question...'

I did get asked that question about a year ago and I'm pleased to say I got the answer right:). However, I want to share a bit more about why I got asked that question, and some of the roles and work I'm going to be doing going forward,

As many of you will know, I do have some chronic health issues. During one of the Lockdowns, I'd got in touch with my GP because I'd noticed some cognitive changes. Long story short, after a few other appointments with different people and an MRI, I found myself at the 'Memory Clinic'. I then went through various tests and questions with a Clinical Neuropsychologist. She asked me various 'magic questions' (they have to be kept secret) but also asked me the question about the Prime Minister too. After the appointment, I went and found my partner (he'd almost melted in the car, I'd been in there almost 2 hours) and waited for results.

A few weeks later, I received a letter with results. I've been diagnosed with something called Mild Cognitive Impairment, and other things are currently being explored. It can be a precursor for Dementia (not always though). This has led to me pausing my practice for the moment to give myself some time to think and reflect.

I'm thinking about other work and roles that I might be able to do. I'm probably going to be writing more of these, and writing other stuff too. I've also taken on a role in the South West as a Join Dementia Research Champion. I've always been interested in research and have taken part in various studies and trials as a patient - for me, it's about bringing something positive out of a negative situation. And I know the more we learn, the more we can improve things for future generations.

We have an increasingly aging population in the UK, and some of those people will sadly go on to develop Dementia. Researchers know that the more we find out about this disease, the sooner we can offer treatments and hope. Often people are diagnosed too late, but researchers are learning more about spotting signs and indicators earlier. So, one of my roles is about encouraging people to sign up for research (and it really isn't all about needles and white coats).

So, if you're interested, I'm including the link below.

In the meantime, I think it's time for me to pop the kettle on and make a brew. I'd best check out who is the Prime Minister again too :)

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