Once more it's the elderly that causes me the most sadness.
We were sent to an extremely demented woman in her nineties, she lives with her husband and, while in the kitchen, had collapsed.
When I spoke to the husband he thought that she was about to die.
Not any more though, she had taken a shine to me and was grabbing my hand, singing songs and pretty much dancing around the living room.
I tried to get the story of what happened from the husband, but it was quite hard as our patient would keep interrupting us with streams of confused conversation and singing of hymns.
It was in the ambulance that I saw her husband bury his head in his hands. His eyes were wet with tears.
He was the only person caring for her, and so, for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, with no weekend breaks and no holidays he was nursing this confused and agitated hyperactive woman.
They had no other relatives to help them out, social services had arranged for a cleaner, but he did most of the cleaning for himself so there was little for the cleaner to do. Three or four times a night she would wake him up so that he could take her to the toilet, he hadn't had a good night sleep in years.
“It's like looking after a baby”, he told me.
He had to run down the shops when she was asleep, and he constantly worried that she would wake up and find herself alone in the house.
Sometimes she would get angry and hit him.
Once more I found myself more concerned for the relative of our patient than for the patient herself. Thankfully one of my favourite nurses was taking my handover and I let her know that I thought that the pair of them could do with some more effective social input, perhaps respite care for her once a week so that he could have a day when he wasn't caring for her.