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Angus man diagnosed with chronic lateness condition

By Michael Owens, 27 August 2013 3.00pm. Updated: 5.00pm.

Jim Dunbar has been late for everything.

Late for work, late for football matches, late for holidays.

He’s left women stood waiting on a first date, turned up to meals with friends hours after he should have and even arrived for funerals long after they’ve begun.

But the 57-year-old says that it isn’t his fault after his poor timekeeping was diagnosed as a medical condition — at a Ninewells hospital appointment he was half-an-hour late for.

Despite his chronic lateness diagnosis, Jim, who has spent most of his life living in Fintry, still struggles to arrive on time as he tackles the incurable condition.

Recently Jim, who now lives in Forfar, tried to go to the cinema. Knowing that it could be a problem getting to Dundee’s DCA for a 7pm show, he gave himself an 11-hour head-start.

He arrived 20 minutes late.

Dundee United fan Jim said: “I got up at 8.15am to go to a David Bowie film at the DCA that started at seven o’clock.

“That gave me 11 hours to get ready. I knew I was going there — and I was 20 minutes late.

“I get down about it and it’s disturbing for other folk when you arrive late.”

In his livingroom, the former Dundee City Council worker has a special clock that uses radio frequencies tuned to a national transmitter to make sure that the time it displays is always exactly right, down to the second.

It doesn’t help.

He has tried wearing a watch, setting his clocks fast and trying to arrive at places early, but still hasn’t found a solution.

He has had the problem all his life — he can remember being late for school at Longhaugh Primary as a five-year-old — and, until his diagnosis last year, blamed himself.

His family still don’t believe him. He said: “My family don’t believe it and think I’m making excuses.

“I’ve been late for funerals and slipped in and hid at the back of the hall.

“I arranged to pick my friend up at midday to go on holiday and was four hours late. He was furious because we had booked a ferry and everything.

“A friend invited me over for a meal and I was more than three hours late. He only lives in Whitfield.

“It has affected my entire life.”

Jim’s condition affects the same part of the brain as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and means that he cannot properly gauge how long things take. He says that consistently being late has caused him to lose dozens of jobs over the years.

Jim said: “The reason I want it out in the open is that there has got to be other folk out there with it and they don’t realise that it’s not their fault.

“I blamed it on myself and thought: ‘Why can’t I be on time?’. I lost a lot of jobs.

“I can understand people’s reaction and why they don’t believe me.

“It is really depressing sometimes. I can’t overstate how much it helped to say it was a condition.”

The Real Jim Dunbar More than 1 year ago
I apologies for the person named JIM DUNBAR replying to comments on this article, it was not me. This is the first time I have seen this article. I would like to thank Harrison Ross for all of his support through these past few years. He has been a big help in more than one way.
Don Drape More than 1 year ago
Did he pick up his wages late or forget to collect his pension? I hope he's not late when needing the toilet.
Faceless coward More than 1 year ago
It doesn't sound very real. Just a great excuse if you can't be bothered to do anything
JamesBNewton More than 1 year ago
This is not a real diagnosis but some Medical Meadow Muffin term. More than likely, this is Attention Deficit Disorder that is NOT being treated. Having this disorder myself, well, the right meds and Behavior Modification will get his life straight. By the look on his face I would consider the Differential Diagnosis to include Oppositional Defiance Disorder, O.C.D. and/or Chronic Constipation. Seriously, stop being just a whiny baby and change your attitude.
Philip More than 1 year ago
Am I the only one thinking alarm clock? I have numerous alarms going off every day to make sure I get to places on time. Smart phones you can set something for every single minute of the day if you wish to! Again I am sure the illness is REAL but in the grand scheme of people with things wrong with them this one seems VERY easy to do something about and I cant see why its newsworthy?
Marc Davidson More than 1 year ago
never heard of the condition before...interesting story...must be a nightmare!
Hacker_Jack More than 1 year ago
This article is useless. So what if he cant gauge how long things take, he doesn't need to "gauge" anything, he can easily time himself doing the vast majority of tasks and then do the maths if he want's to be on time. I don't doubt the illness is real but clearly there are lots of things he could do to help himself that he simply is not doing. Jim I apologise if you are already doing these things but I suspect you are not, either that or the condition is not as described in the article (if it was a case of being distracted by other things then it would make more sense).
1389AD . More than 1 year ago
It's possible that he might have crippling fears and anxieties about some of the events and activities that he is late for. If that's the case, he needs to address those fears. A much more likely possibility is that he gets distracted too easily and forgets where he is and what he is supposed to be doing. If that's the case, he needs to learn how to FOCUS. Yes, he might have some problems in the hardware department upstairs, but such problems can be overcome. I am a brain surgery survivor and I sometimes have trouble with short-term memory and concentration. I'll put the garbage on top of the car to put in the Dumpster and then I'll forget it's there. It falls off and I have to go back for it. Or I won't remember my work schedule and will have to check it repeatedly. That doesn't necessarily make me late; I've gotten mixed up and come in much too early on occasion. Or I'll leave the water running because I've gone off to do some other task. :(
Curious More than 1 year ago
I have a few questions for you Jim, and please don't answer in caps. If you got up at 8:15 AM go to a David Bowie film at the DCA, how were you late exactly? What did you do that made you late? were you distracted?, or did you get there in slow motion? Also, can't you have someone supervise you to make sure you won't be late?, like get you out of the house, and drive you to the place.
Big Dave More than 1 year ago
The Silva Method. It worked for me
Lynn More than 1 year ago
Jim, don't bother replying to the nastiness. Comment boxes, sadly, provide a forum for stupidity that would and should otherwise go unacknowledged. You were brave to allow your story to be told. Just ignore the commenters.
liahona More than 1 year ago
I have Fibromyalgia, asthma and arthritis...all invisible but landed me in a wheelchair for over three years when one suddenly 'hit me' on top of the other until I learned to manage them together. An invisible illness does not mean a non-existant illness - and it annoys me when those able bodied people who have no concept judge others! Just because you havent seen the golden gate bridge doesnt mean it doesnt exist! but one comment Jiim...you need to cut down on the Capital Letters...it just makes you look like you're mad at the entire world....feel sorry for their lack of understanding...they are lacking more than they know - especially if later down the line similar illnesses hit them out of the blue! I admire anyone who eliberately starts 11 hours in advance to get ready for something. Proving this is genuine - the naming of the syndrome could be better though! I think doctors who make up names for different ailments need to think first about the people affected before naming them - take the word 'Spastic' for instance and the amount of offence that caused! Calling it 'chronic lateness syndrome' is giving people the wrong idea, and insulting to anyone who has it...Calling it something like an adverse result of ADHD might have been better and more understandable. But you have my sympathy - and wishing you well in the future.
Karen Eliot More than 1 year ago
if he can't gauge how long things take, why is he not randomly early as often as he's late?
JIM DUNBAR More than 1 year ago
OH,YOU'RE A RIGHT LITTLE BRIGHT SPARK,AREN'T YOU! JOIN THE QUEUE BEHIND THE OTHER IMBECILES!!!
Chris Lowry More than 1 year ago
Jim, I am shocked and appalled at your reaction on this forum. Your clearly wanted to put yourself in the public eye with a condition that at best, is hard to believe. People are right and there are a lot of things you could do to help yourself, but insulting every person on this site is not the way to do it... You have my full name, I live in London, I am not a keyboard warrior and I am happy for you to come and 'visit' me as you seem to enjoy threatening people. You seem to be able to turn up to your free gym session at the gym between 2 and 3pm monday and thursday.... you must have turned up to your operations on time and I feel that the argument stands, if you cannot sense time then surely you must be early as often as you are late. All this besides I am writing due to your arrogant and threatening posts. If you do not want to hear an opinion do not offer your life to the public.
Benedikt More than 1 year ago
This may be hypothyrodism, maybe in a socalled subclinic version, but evenso it may be a problem. This man looks as if he might have a thyroid problem. If it's hypothyrodism, it's treatable. You should go to your GP. And if the GP can't /wont help you, find another /an extra doctor, e.g. someone with experience from orthomolecular medicine - that helped me a lot. It's a real doc, but it's someone who does not only know "common" medicine but also alternative ways. No mumbo jumbo.
Benedikt More than 1 year ago
.... maybe I ought to mention that I got medication for my thyroid condition many years ago, but the last two years I have been using good, oldfashioned thyroid medication. The one, I use, is called Erfa Thyroid (from Canada) but I think Armour (from USA) is a more known trade mark. Initially, I got Erfa Thyroid from a orthomolecular doc. Fortunately, I made great improvement and now get it from my "ordinary" doc at the local hospital.
JIM DUNBAR More than 1 year ago
CONTINUED-ON THE MONDAY,THE DAY BEFORE THE OP.,THE SURGEON TOLD ME THAT ONCE I HAD RECOVERED FROM THE SURGERY ON MY LEFT HIP,THEN THEY WOULD HAVE ME BACK IN,AND REPLACE MY RIGHT HIP. (IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT THERE IS NO WAY THAT BOTH HIPS WOULD BE REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME). UNFORTUNATELY,THE OPERATION WAS A DISASTER,AND I ALMOST BLED TO DEATH ON THE OPERATING TABLE. AS A RESULT,THERE WAS NO WAY THAT ANYONE WAS PREPARED TO CARRY OUT A REPLACEMENT OF MY RIGHT HIP. I WAS TOLD THAT I WAS BASICALLY STUCK WITH THIS ARTHRITIC HIP,AND I WOULD MOST LIKELY END UP IN A WHEELCHAIR. AS YOU CAN PROBABLY IMAGINE,I FELL INTO A DEEP DEPRESSION. TO GO FROM SOMEONE WHO WAS ALWAYS ACTIVE,TO BASICALLY A COUCH POTATO TOOK A LOT OF GETTING USED TO. I ACTUALLY ENDED UP BUYING AN ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR OFF OF "EBAY". AS THE YEARS WENT BY,THE WEIGHT PILED ON. I EVENTUALLY DECIDED THAT I WAS NOT PREPARED TO ACCEPT WHAT THE SURGEONS HAD SAID:THAT I WOULD END UP IN A WHEELCHAIR. I BEGAN TO PESTER MY DOCTOR TO TRY TO PERSUADE THE DOCTORS AT NINEWELLS TO CARRY OUT THIS OPERATION. I NEEDED TO HAVE THIS DONE,AND GET FIT AGAIN. (BY 2012 I HAD GAINED FIVE STONES/70 POUNDS/32 KILOGRAMS IN WEIGHT). I WAS HOPING AGAINST HOPE THAT MAYBE,EVENTUALLY NEW TECHNOLOGY WOULD BE INTRODUCED, WHICH WOULD ENABLE THE SURGEONS TO CARRY OUT THIS HIP REPLACEMENT. EVENTUALLY,IN 2012,THE LETTER CAME INVITING ME TO ATTEND NINEWELLS HOSPITAL ORTHOPAEDIC OUTPATIENTS DEPARTMENT. I KNEW AS SOON AS I READ THE LETTER THAT I WAS GOING TO BE HAVING THIS OP. I WAS ONLY BEING INVITED TO DISCUSS THIS. BUT I THOUGHT TO MYSELF:"THEY WOULD NOT BE WASTING TIME HAVING ME THERE,IF THEY WERE NOT GOING TO GO AHEAD WITH THIS". I WAS TOLD THAT THAT INDEED,NEW TECHNOLOGY HAD ARRIVED,AND IT WAS NOW POSSIBLE TO GO AHEAD WITH THIS SURGERY ON MY RIGHT HIP. HOWEVER,FIRST OF ALL,I WOULD NEED TO LOSE TWO STONES/12 KILOGRAMS-ARGHH! I MANAGED TO SHED THIS WEIGHT BY THE END OF MARCH THIS YEAR,AND I HAD MY OP. UNDER LOCAL ANAESTHETIC ON THE FOURTH OF JULY. IT WAS "A WALK IN THE PARK" AND I WAS DISCHARGED ON THE 8TH.JULY. UNFORTUNATELY,ONE SMALL PART AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WOUND REFUSED TO STOP BLEEDING. AND A WEEK LATER I WAS BACK IN HOSPITAL TO HAVE ANOTHER OPERATION. IT WAS THEN DISCOVERED THAT THERE WERE THREE DIFFERENT STRAINS OF STAPHYLOCOCCUS BACTERIA IN THE WOUND. THIS MEANT BEING PUT ON ANTI-BIOTIC DRIPS,AND HAVING TO ENDURE A TWELVE NIGHT STAY IN HOSPITAL. I HAVE TO SAY TAT TE DARE OF THE DOCTORS,AND NURSES IN NINEWELLS HOSPITAL WAS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC-AND THE MEALS ARE NOTHING LIKE AS BAD AS WHAT PEOPLE MAKE OUT IN THE PRESS. I WAS DISCHARGED FROM HOSPITAL ON THE 26TH.JULY. I RECEIVED WHAT IS TERMED A,"G.P. REFERRAL" TO ATTEND THE LOCAL GYM. LAST WEEK I BEGAN THE LONG ROAD BACK TO FITNESS UNDER THE WATCHFUL EYE OF AN INSTRUCTOR. I INITIALLY ATTEND THE GYM TWICE A WEEK-MONDAY,AND THURSDAY,TWO P.M. TO THREE P.M.-FOR TWELVE WEEKS. THEN,WE'LL SEE HOW THE LAND LIES AT TGE END OF THIS PERIOD OF TWELVE WEEKS=18TH.OCTOBER,I THINK. I AM PREPARED TO GIVE MYSELF ONE YEAR TO LOSE THIS FIVE STONES. AFTER ALL,IT HAS TAKEN ME FIVE YEARS TO GAIN THIS FIVE STONES. THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORDS OF SUPPORT BENEDIKT. SINCERELY,JIM DUNBAR.
Duncan Deng More than 1 year ago
come live to China, there are no appointments thus no such a thing called being late
JIM DUNBAR More than 1 year ago
YES,AND I KNOW THAT THE CHINESE PEOPLE ARE MUCH MORE INTELLIGENT THAN SOME OF THE IMBECILES POSTING THEIR DUMB COMMENTS ON THIS PAGE.
Kevlin More than 1 year ago
..or maybe he just is hypothyroid!! http://nahypothyroidism.org/
Benedikt More than 1 year ago
Yes!
JIM DUNBAR More than 1 year ago
O.K. SMARTY PANTS KEVLIN. IT LOOKS TO ME AS IF YOU HAVE MISSPELLED YOUR NAME. SO, NOT SUCH A SMARTY PANTS AFTER ALL,ME THINKS.
timebandit More than 1 year ago
I think the posters who make the abusive&ignorant comments are the ones with real problem.the brain iscomplex&anything i possible.
JIM DUNBAR More than 1 year ago
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR TAKING THE TROUBLE TO POST YOUR WORDS OF SUPPORT. YOU SOUND LIKE A VERY INTELLIGENT HUMAN BEING.
Bob More than 1 year ago
"causing him to lose countless jobs" I can imagine how this would go down at an Atos assessment.
JIM DUNBAR More than 1 year ago
ATOS APPOINTMENTS? I HAVE ATTENDED TWO ATOS APPOINTMENTS RECENTLY AS I HAVE BEEN SUFFERING FROM PELVIC OSTEO-ARTHRITIS SINCE AROUND 2008. ON BOTH OCASSIONS THE SO CALLED "HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL" SUBMITTED INCORRECT REPORTS. AFTER THE FIRST ASSESSMENT IN APRIL,2010 THIS "PROFESSIONAL" REPORTED THAT HE HAD ASKED ME TO CARRY OUT CERTAIN TASKS. HE REPORTED THAT I CARRIED OUT THESE TASKS WITH EASE,AD THAT I WAS NOW FIT TO RETURN TO FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT. OF COURSE,HE HAD NOT ASKED ME TO CARRY OUT ANY SUCH TASKS,AS I WAS UTTERLY INCAPABLE OF FULFILLING THE TASKS MENTIONED IN HIS REPORT DUE TO MY DISABILITY. AFTER I HAD ATTENDED THE SECOND ASSESSMENT IN AUGUST OF 2012,THE HEALTH CARE "PROFESSIONAL'S" COMMENTS REFERRED TO MY 'LEFT HIP'. AS THE DISABILITY WAS ENTIRELY IN MY RIGHT HIP,THEN HER "REPORT" WAS IMMEDIATELY BLOWN OUT OF THE WATER! IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT I WAS SUCCESSFUL IN BOTH OF THESE APPEALS TO THE TRIBUNAL. AND THIS WOMAN HAS THE NERVE TO CALL HERSELF A PROFESSIONAL! AFTER ALL THE NEGATIVE PUBLICITY SURROUNDING "ATOS" RECENTLY,I'M AMAZED THAT YOU WOULD EVEN HAVE THE CHEEK TO MENTION THEM! GET A LIFE MATE! I JUST HOPE THAT YOU DO NOT BECOME DISABLED,AND FEEL THE NEED TO APPLY FOR "DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE".
ALLCAPS More than 1 year ago
no one cares.
Barry More than 1 year ago
What a load of crap, who thinks up these syndromes.. there is one for anything and everything now..
enp More than 1 year ago
We are in the age of no personal responsibility. nothing is the fault of the individual but of society or some 'syndrome' that is outside of his control.
hypocrisy stinks More than 1 year ago
My My some of these comments are childish,reading those i thought i was going back in time to the playground.Doctors are more qualified to make the diagnosis dont you think lol end off.
Rosalind Ainsworth More than 1 year ago
No - how the hell can you believe what these doctors are saying? Incurable condition - what aload of tosh. If you're willing to believe what these doctors are coming up with, how far are you willing to go? Next thing we know, hypocrisy will be explained away as a condition - 'chronic sanctimonious mania.' No offence intended.
JIM DUNBAR More than 1 year ago
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR WORDS OF SUPPORT. IMBECILES WILL ALWAYS BE IMBECILES I'M AFRAID.
lowser More than 1 year ago
Was going to comment earlier but lost all track of time. Must be a real condition after all. Ha ha. Never heard so much codswallop in my life. Typical of the world today, where we have to invent a name for everything to make so called "sufferers" feel better about themselves, rather than tell it how it really is. Pathetic and laughable.
JIM DUNBAR More than 1 year ago
LOWSER? SURELY THAT SHOULD READ AS LOSER!
lowser More than 1 year ago
Erm, no. I think that would be more suited to your good self.
Jimmy_Jablonski More than 1 year ago
What a punchable looking man
Wilma Hutcheson More than 1 year ago
Aye some of you would question this and think a lot of rubbish, what if it was your child acting out rationally or doing odd things you would be right at the doctors wanting an answer. What if they gave you that as an illness, how would you react? I'm not saying its right wrong, however the hospital felt the need to diagnose Jim with this condition, which is obviously an illness. Dose that mean you slat hi for it, id say NO! if you find it so ridiculous take it further. Question is though what if this has been a problem since Jim what your and no one ever recognised it. Well now they have. Know what Jim does sound ridiculous but hey new illnesses come out every day. Hope your well.x
Jimmy_Jablonski More than 1 year ago
He's a fat lazy meatball
JIM DUNBAR More than 1 year ago
YOUR FIRST COMMENT HAD ALREADY CONVINCED ME THAT YOU SERIOUSLY OUGHT TO CONSIDER CONSULTING A DOCTOR.
Rosalind Ainsworth More than 1 year ago
Seriously? It's not true - new illnesses don't come out every day, otherwise theyre'd be loads of kids with 'chronic sleep-in condition.' How come your willing to believe this stuff?
JIM DUNBAR More than 1 year ago
I DID NOT JUST WAKE UP ONE DAY AND I HAD THIS ILLNESS! I WAS BORN THIS WAY! WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!
rhumbas More than 1 year ago
Is it the 1st of April ? what's the cure a wrist watch ?? tosh absolute tosh .. what's a decent paper writing about this garbage
JIM DUNBAR More than 1 year ago
WHAT'S YOUR REAL NAME,AND YOUR ADDRESS? I CAN'T GIVE YOU A DEFINITE TIME,BUT I WILL VISIT YOU. I REFUSE TO HIDE BEHIND PSEUDONYMS-NOT LIKE THE MAJORITY OF IGNORANT LOW LIFE ON THIS PAGE I HASTEN TO ADD.
Splod More than 1 year ago
Wow you really are a nice person. Threatening to "VISIT" someone who hides behind an anonymous ID, and insulting anyone who does not believe your story. I think maybe you should look up the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and section 127 of the Communications Act 2003
lowser More than 1 year ago
Wouldn't worry. You would probably have moved house by the time he arrived anyway.
Tricia Dailly More than 1 year ago
Now that explains everything x
Tricia Dailly More than 1 year ago
Now that explains everything x