There is often something endearing about the pleasantly confused elderly, at least in the short term. For us at least it makes a difference from the confusion that has little old ladies grabbing your testicles because you are obviously 'a Nazi come to take me to the gas chambers!'

We were called to one of our less regular warden controlled homes, I've been there a couple of times and have normally been impressed with the staff there, not just because I had a cup of tea and a cake once when I helped them out a little outside of what is normally expected of us.

It was two o'clock in the morning as we pulled into the parking area of the home. We'd noticed a little old man in a heavy coat pulling a wheeled basket being flummoxed by the automatic gate.

The warden, looking at the end of her tether came out to meet us. She pointed at the man, “There he is, he's confused and I can't do anything with him”.

The patient didn't really want to go to hospital, he wanted to go for a walk. Chatting to him I could tell that he wasn't in a right frame of mind. My crewmate expertly took the warden off to one side and got the information that we needed. I on the other hand worked on the patient.

Luckily he didn't need much persuading, after a bit of a chat I found out that he had a long-running problem with his elbow. I explained that 'as we are here', it would be our pleasure to pop him down the hospital so they could have a look at him. He was a really pleasant bloke, and I enjoyed having a (slightly muddled) chat.

So we had a nice little journey down to the hospital where we discovered the probably source of his confusion.

Someone had cancelled his night-time sleeping pill. It's a well known effect of stopping sleeping pills that (particularly in the elderly) it can cause night-time confusion, agitation and wandering. I believe that an early episode of 'Scrubs' had a running joke to this effect. Still, at least the hospital could make sure that this was the cause for the confusion, not something more serious.

8 thoughts on “Dotty”

  1. Although it may seem to have little relevance to the subject of this post, I must blatantly hijack your title of “Dotty” to tell you of this “accident” which (I guarantee) will NOT be among the endless variety of calls you receive!There is an activity down our way (Cornwall) – Tombstoning. For those who may not know, this is the extreme sport of jumping into water (usually the sea) from various inanimate objects. This is usually a rock or jetty but sometimes (as evidenced recently) from a derelict building into an adjacent river!

    Anyway, my point in making this comment is to tell you of the latest instance – from a sea wall into the sea at Newquay. He had to be rescued, unconscious, by helicopter, suffered a broken leg and a fractured cheekbone and is now stable in hospital.

    He is a Newquay lifeguard!!! – and a member of the RNLI (who employ[ed] him) was quoted as saying “”We need to take it on the chin (classic comment, considering his fractured cheekbone!) learn from it and pass this experience on.”

    A free pint, Tom, when you collect your first Newham tombstoning injury (with photo evidence!)


  2. Love the story, these RNLI guys…. no sense. Although it reminds me of a story about a fisherman who got curious as to how his EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) worked.A brief explanation on EPIRBS… An EPIRB works by emitting a signal which gets picked up by a satellite which indicates that a vessel is in distress. When an EPIRB is removed from the vessel or tampered with in anyway it begins to emit this signal. This signal gets routed to the nearest Co-ordination Centre to the position for Search and Rescue Action. (very simple explanation)

    So this fisherman takes his EPIRB off his boat and takes it to the his shed outside his house….

    When the Coastguard Helicopter started circling overhead he remembered what the manufacturer told him about the beacon!

    So he dutifully went outside and apologised to the Winchman, who advised him to wrap his EPIRB in tin foil (one of the tryed and tested methods to stop an EPIRB going off) until he could take it back and replace it.

    it takes all sorts

  3. What ws it my Gran used to say…”I'd've thought yoused knows better by now”As a Brummie, even I've got more sea-sense than that!

  4. Good grief…It's only a matter of time before some idiot jumps from the Excell bridge into the docks (and those further into London have plenty of bridges to jump from)…

    Then I'll be around for that pint!

  5. A known DSH near me was getting on the nerves of the crews that were (regularly) sent to his gaff after his latest cry for help. Eventually one crew told him that if he was serious about topping himself to go and jump off the bridge (the bridge being the Humber Bridge).A few days later there was a call to a male stuck in the mud under a bridge in the centre of Hull. The muppet had only gone and jumped into the River Hull when the tide was out and was now stuck up to his knees!!!

  6. Elderly gent comes to surgery complaining that his wife is weeing all night and sleeping all day…. you guessed it , he was giving her her sleeping tablet in the morning and her diuretic at night.When I was a student nurse we had a patient who was very confused, he kept setting off for Monte Carlo with his squash bottle in one dressing gown pocket and his wash bag in the other. Us students had to follow him round the hopsital and take him back to the ward. This went on for 3 days and then he suddenly came out of it and started apologising to everybody in case he had been rude to them (which he hadn't ).Turns out he had got a bit forgetful and was taking his pain killer and sleeping tablet and then “remembering” to take them 1/2 later , and again, and again. Dr told him to forget about them and just have a glass of whisky before bed.

    Another time we lost a patient who was a bit paranoid in her confusioin and went wandering off. After a search of the hospital the police were called. They wanted to complete their missing person form- questions such as was she wearing a wedding ring?….. dunno, she's a little old lady in a nightie…

    She turned up about a mile away , spotted by people having a barbeque by the river! She was ok, thnk goodness (not tombstoning)- these things always seemed to occur when I was in charge of the ward on a late shift….

  7. I was at an inquest a few years ago, not long after the Excel Bridge opened. A boy was out with his friends and jumped off the bridge on a hot May day. Although he could swim, he got into trouble, his friends jumped in to save him (nearly drowning themselves) but sadly he drowned. It seemed that the water below the surface was exceedingly cold, he'd gone down quite a way before he surfaced and he probably cramped. The coroner returned an inquest of accidental death.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *