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​I Have a Worm in my Ear

June 17, 2014

By Mary Beth Wighton
Do you ever get that song stuck in your head that just keeps playing over and over? I do. It happens to me a lot. Yesterday, while watching CBC news, there was a segment on this phenomenon. These mental tunes are nicknamed “earworms.” You learn something new every day!

For about the last year, I have started to sing to myself – or to my dog, Shiloh. I can assure you, I was never much of a singer. But things have changed. I often catch myself doing this and sometimes I even add in a few dance steps to accompany the music.

My repertoire ranges the gamete. Right now, some of my favourite tunes are:
♫ Tweet tweet, twiddle twiddle, there's only one candy with the hole in the middle (Life Saver
commercial)
♫ Lord of the Dance – Church song written by Sydney Carter
♫ I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers
♫ Sugar, Sugar – The Archies, and
♫ Oompa Loompa by Willie Wonka.

I'm told that I even sing in my sleep! Dawn has said that I can break out in a resounding rendition of “Row row row your boat.”

I must confess that my very favourite song to sing comes from Mary Poppins: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!My friend, Helen, sent me a wonderful video featuring André Rieu & his Johann Strauss Orchestra performing this song. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IWH3Hmsr5fM) I have long lost count of how many times I have watched this video singing along with Mary Poppins. My audience of one, Shiloh, never seems to tire of me
singing the song while clapping.

Some of the ritualistic behaviours of Frontotemporal Lobe Dementia (FTD), includes clapping and singing. I think it is pretty obvious I am now displaying these behaviours. Of all of the different kinds of behavioural changes I might show, I figure this one isn't too bad.

The human body is susceptible to many types of worms – pin-worms, roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms. Although, we generally don't associate these parasites with humans in this day and age. I just have to face the facts that I now have an earworm. If you catch me singing, please feel free to join in. And don't worry, you don't have to be in key, because I'm certainly not!