⭐︎ Sorry. You’re the 50.000th visitor.

Bergamo, poort
Fotografie Wim Rozenberg

Soooo, Mrs Robijn, tell me, what seems to be the problem? Went there on my own, obviously, I’m perfectly healthy, aren’t I. So I reply: Well, doctor, er yeah, I have a feeling that my right hand’s not quite okay, neither is my right foot and I er, I dunno, it’s like the messages are not getting through quickly enough or something. Silence. Hm. Too slow you say? Can you still smell properly?


What’s that neurologist asking me now, can I still smell?

Can I still smell? Yes, I believe so. And constipation, do you ever suffer from that? Hold on, am I at the right department here? Next question: are you slow? Errrr excuse me… errr what did you say…? Oh, slow? No, not at all, no, not slow. WHY!!? I’m here for my hand, that’s all. And, do you suffer from mood swings Mrs Robijn? Well, yes, but I AM 46 you know, hahaha. The doc doesn’t laugh. Can you stand for me? Yes, just like that. Now let yourself fall backwards. I had already mastered this in a confidence training course, so I readily let myself fall backwards into his arms. Hm, right, hm, well, some balance problems, hm. Just the words alone, ‘balance problems’. And your hand writing, how’s that going? It’s slowly beginning to dawn on me that he’s not merely going to advise me to get more sleep and that it’s simply a case of stress.

The consultation suddenly feels more ominous.

Can you walk up and down the hallway for me ..? After a total of 5 minutes he observes: Mrs Robijn, you have a problem in your central nervous system. He also mentions something about neurotransmitters.

Then I’m quick, really quick: no…family, children, work, 46 years old, healthy. I feel like I’m in the wrong TV programme or the latest edition of Woman’s Own. Should I be worried … ??? Well, not yet, Mrs Robijn, we first need to figure out what’s wrong with you exactly, because you’re still very young. You’ll need to pop along to the radiology department for an MRI and a DaT SPECT scan. Closer inspection of the DaT-SPECT leaflet reveals this to be a scan that detects Parkinson’s. Funny, can’t be for me, I’m sure it’s got a few other, less serious purposes as well, this DaT-Which-I-Do-Not-Wish-To-Know-Scan. Or… could it …? Two weeks later and a few kilos lighter, it seems that we were right to be worried. “A strong suspicion of early onset Parkinson’s Disease, Mrs Robijn, a very serious diagnosis. Especially at your age.”

We go home.

Sometimes you just happen to be the 50.000th visitor.