Dementia: One Day At A Time

The following song is my approach to Maureen being on the Konar Suite:

My Blog yesterday was full of good news as my day had been full of pleasant surprises.  Today is a slightly a slightly different story but far from all gloom and doom.

My early morning swim – well mainly walking briskly in the water – went well.   The banter in the Health Suite was louder than ever as a regular had returned from Teneriffe in good form.

Maureen was reluctant to leave the residents lounge when I arrived at the Konar Suite.  She said there was ‘no point as I could not play the piano’.  A member of staff told me she was fixated on waiting for her fish and chips.  When I returned a short while afterward she gave me a beautiful smile and was happy to accompany me on a walk around the garden.

As we walked and talked Maureen shared her feelings about being on Konar.  She told me that ‘none of the others liked her and were often laughing at her’.  She also said that she ‘had been told she would never be allowed to go home’.  I tried to reassure her on the popularity stakes and that her stay in hospital was temporary.

Maureen was really pleased that she was getting fresh air on such a beautiful day.  We did four circuits of the garden walking at a brisk pace as we admired fruit trees and flowers.  Lunch was being served as we entered the dining room and Maureen was happy to be led away for what appeared to be a very small meal.

I was rather concerned about Maureen’s thoughts: particularly that she would never be allowed home.  Therefore, I logged my concerns by telephone in the afternoon.  I also commented on the size of Maureen’s meal compared to what she eats at home.  I was told that she had been served the normal sized portions and there was always the opportunity for seconds.

As it was such a lovely day I decided to take Maureen for a further walk in the afternoon.  When I arrived she was sitting in the lounge looking very sad.  Her face lit up when she saw me and we returned for a couple more circuits around the garden.  As we took drinks in the Quiet Room Maureen told me she didn’t know where she was but suspected she might be in China.  She said that she couldn’t understand some of the staff as they had a heavy accent -I have a similar problem!

Maureen’s options for tea were soup or a cheese sandwich.  We hedged our bets: my chicken soup was reasonable; Maureen was served two slices of dry bread containing a slice of processed cheese.  I ate my soup and a roll, Maureen only ate half of her food.

Maureen closed her eyes as she lay on a sofa and said ‘I don’t think we will come here again’.  She explained how difficult she was finding it to make friends in a foreign country.  As she drifted off to sleep I held her hand and reassured her that we would be moving on soon.

N.B.  In my Partnership Approach with Konar, I have asked if it would help Maureen to settle if I didn’t visit for a period of time.  They have encouraged me to keep visiting so she doesn’t feel deserted.  As it is the weekend and likely to be quieter than ever I’m going to be the Activities Organiser today – if they let me!

Footnote:  This is the second time that Maureen has thought that Grimsby Hospital is in a foreign country.  When she had her stroke, three years ago, she was looked after by Spanish nurses.  This time there a several staff from the Philippines working on Konar and her Consultant is from Egypt.  It isn’t surprising that she doesn’t know where she is or is struggling to understand what some staff is saying to her: far from what the Doctor would order for someone who has problems with cognition!

One thought on “Dementia: One Day At A Time

  1. We have the problem of foreign doctors here in the US also Paul. It is so difficult to find a doctor these days that speaks English that is understandable.

    Blessings to both of you.


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