Dementia: A Day Of Pleasant Surprises

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Yesterday was a good day full of really pleasant surprises.  During my early morning swim, I resumed chatting to a woman I had spoken to the previous week.  From my routine in the water, she had gathered that I  was addressing the consequences of hip replacement and she was doing the same.  As we chatted we realised our paths had crossed on a previous occasion when Maureen had taken her on a hike around the Boating Lake as I exercised at the Leisure Centre.   Maggie was another excellent carer lost to the cause because as she put it: ‘it was costing me money to work for that Agency’.  She had decided to call it a day three years ago as she was fed up of the minimum wage, irregular hours and no time or payment for travelling between calls.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I popped in to see my dear wife shortly before noon.  She was fast asleep lying on a bed in a room that she had refused to enter on the previous day.  She stirred as soon as she saw me and gave me a beautiful smile.  When I saw the clothes she was wearing I was amazed: a pair of new trousers that she had sworn were not hers for a couple of years were being worn.  Then it got even better when she held out a hand with beautifully manicured nails varnished to perfection.

Maureen was eager to tell me so many things that she had been doing since my last visit.  She had clearly been fascinated by ‘a man who could read the stars’.  This man had been to University and his ability to read the solar system had clearly fascinated her.  Then she mentioned that she had been involved in craft activities.  She told me she had made a cushion cover that she had kindly given to a young boy.  In some ways, she regretted her generosity as she would have liked me to have seen her handiwork.

As we sat chatting in Maureen’s room a member of staff arrived and asked me if I would like to stay to lunch.  I would have been proud if I had served the chicken hot pot that arrived – it was gorgeous.  Maureen had fish although she ate it, she told me it wasn’t quite as good as my cooking.  The sweets that arrived were lovely Maureen chose bananas and custard and I had a chocolate sponge with a similar sauce.  Our meal would have done credit to a four-star hotel.

Shortly after lunch staff ran a check on Maureen’s vitals and she passed with flying colours.  I suggested that it might have been a time when Maureen would have consented to the outstanding ECG but unfortunately, the doctor was unavailable to carry out this assessment.

It would be risky to suggest Maureen is settling on Konar but yesterday was full of pleasant surprises.   She remains concerned that her independence is often under threat and resents being told when to take her medication or have a wash and change her clothes.  This is a familiar tale that challenges us all as we try to provide the support that Maureen needs and without challenging her independence.

The good news from Konar this morning is that Maureen slept through the night in her room from 8 ‘o’ clock!  I didn’t do as well as that but after a couple of hours in the afternoon managed 6 further hours in bed.  I’m sure as we both get the rest we need we will be both in a much better position to make sensible choices on our journey!

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