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[MUSIC PLAYING] CLIVE WEARING: I’m
completely confused. DEBORAH WEARING: Confused? CLIVE WEARING: Yes. I’ve never eaten anything, never
tasted anything, never touched anything, never
smelled anything. What [INAUDIBLE]? DEBORAH WEARING: Mm. But you are. CLIVE WEARING: Apparently, yes. But I’d like to know what
the hell has been going on. NARRATOR: A cruel twist in
Clive Wearing’s life story shows us just how fundamental
memory is to being human. DEBORAH WEARING: It all
started with a headache. Clive came home
one day, and said he had a very bad headache. By the fourth day, he
developed quite a high fever. And on the evening of the
fourth day, for a little while, he forgot his daughter’s name. By the fifth day, he
was very delirious. NARRATOR: In March
1985, a virus invaded Clive Wearing’s nervous system. The resulting infection
ravaged his memory, resulting in severe retrograde
and anterograde amnesia. DEBORAH WEARING: Clive’s
world now consists of a moment with no
past to anchor it and no future to look ahead to. It is a blinked moment. He sees what is the
right in front of him. But as soon as that information
hits the brain, it fades. Nothing makes an impression,
nothing registers. CLIVE WEARING: No, that’s mean. NARRATOR: This whirlwind
of unstable sensations often left Clive
confused and angry. DEBORAH WEARING: Did I mention– CLIVE WEARING: Just
use your intelligence. And let’s have a
conversation of intelligence. DEBORAH WEARING: But you’ve
put– who would put that? CLIVE WEARING: I don’t know. But no– DEBORAH WEARING: I– CLIVE WEARING: No, no. Oh, for Heaven’s sake,
use your intelligence, for Heaven’s sake. [INAUDIBLE]
read the bloody thing. DEBORAH WEARING:
I’m sorry, darling. CLIVE WEARING: Well,
use your intelligence. DEBORAH WEARING: Clive
gets extraordinarily angry, and who wouldn’t? Because here you’re not dealing
with somebody who is demented, who is oblivious, who is gaga. You’re dealing with a perfectly
lucid, highly intelligent man, who has been robbed of
knowledge of his own life. NARRATOR: Prior to the
illness, Clive Wearing enjoyed an esteemed career as a
conductor and expert musician. DEBORAH WEARING: Clive was a
musician of enormous integrity. And he worked a great deal
in contemporary music. He was chorus master of
the London Sinfonietta, which is Europe’s
foremost group. NARRATOR: Clive has
retained the ability to play music because
many physical activities, such as playing an instrument,
rely on procedural memory. [PIANO MUSIC PLAYING] NARRATOR: What gives Clive’s
life some degree of continuity is his love for
his wife, Deborah. DEBORAH WEARING: The
strongest thing in his life, I believe– his diaries bear
that out– is his love for me. And that’s absolutely raw. And each time I
walk into that room, it is as if it’s the first
time he’s seen me for years. CLIVE WEARING:
Good heavens, love. [LAUGHING] Oh, darling I
didn’t know you were here. [LAUGHING] NARRATOR: In 1992, Clive
moved to a facility dedicated to helping patients recover
from brain injuries. DEBORAH WEARING:
One of the things that characterizes Clive’s
day is that he continually makes entries in his diary. It is an inner
compulsion to record the momentous
event of waking up. He will record the time,
10:50 AM, awake first time. And then he looks at the
previous entry, which was 10:48 AM, awake first
time, and he says no. I wasn’t awake then. That wasn’t me. So who’s birthday
is it next month? CLIVE WEARING: Mine. DEBORAH WEARING: Yep. CLIVE WEARING: And my brother’s. DEBORAH WEARING: You have
and idea how old you’ll be? CLIVE WEARING: 93,000. [LAUGHING] DEBORAH WEARING: No. CLIVE WEARING: No? DEBORAH WEARING: How
do you think, really? CLIVE WEARING: 21. DEBORAH WEARING: No. How old do you really feel? How old do you feel? CLIVE WEARING: 22. DEBORAH WEARING: So you feel 22. And how old do
you think you are? CLIVE WEARING: 67. DEBORAH WEARING: Nope. CLIVE WEARING: No? DEBORAH WEARING:
You really think– do you really think you’re 67? CLIVE WEARING: No
idea what it is. No clue. It could be 90 or 100,
all I’d know about it. DEBORAH WEARING: Mm. [PIANO MUSIC PLAYING] CLIVE WEARING: It’s
been like death. I’ve never seen a
human being before. Never had a dream or a thought. The brain has been totally
inactive, day and night, the same. Oh, look who’s come! Oh! NARRATOR: Clive still suffers
from profound amnesia. But his love for Deborah
remains undimmed, and in 2002 the couple
renewed their marriage vows. DEBORAH WEARING: That
was a very musical kiss. I’m dizzy. I don’t know which part of
the room I’m standing in. [LAUGHING] [MUSIC PLAYING]

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