There is a warden controlled place a little way down from our station and we find ourselves going there a fair bit. Unlike some of the so-called 'care' homes that we go to, this place is really nice, the wardens are great and they call us for all the right reasons.
Our patient was somewhere in her seventies and had just moved into the place, her 'paperwork' was still coming in from the various agencies that had arranged her placement here. She had a 'funny feeling' in her head from the night before and had vomited once in the morning.
As these were unusual symptoms the warden thought that it would be best for her to go to hospital and had called us. I couldn't disagree.
It was hard to get the patient to describe her symptoms to us as she was suffering from the early stages of alzheimers disease.
Her disease showed itself by her constant repeating of a few conversation topics. She kept telling me about the lino that she had jut bought. She told me that she was concerned about the women who keep knocking on her door (the wardens checking that she is alright), and that she sometimes gets panicked during the night.
Yet she was able to recite a long prayer word for word at me.
She was a really pleasant lady, one of the 'old East end' types, littering her talk with gentle, friendly cuss-words. Friendly and polite, telling me about her family that keep visiting her and fitting her new lino. Just the sort of old person that I like, and if you've read this blog for any time you'll know I have a soft spot for the old 'uns.
Normally when we see patients with alzheimers disease they are pretty far gone, often bed-bound, they cannot remember anything, they are incontinent and can spend the whole day crying. It's an awful, awful disease, and this pleasant lady was going to end up like this.
It's hard work to care for someone suffering from dementia, it was hard enough for me to listen to her circling conversation for twenty minutes.
Especially as when I looked at her I could see her future.