Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday re-runs

While at Local Grocery after work I was sighted and approached by a patient.

An Alzheimer's patient.


Bill: "Uh, excuse me? Hello."

Dr. Grumpy (looking up): "Yes, I, oh, uh, hi"

Bill: "I know you, um" (he leaned forward, and I realized I had my hospital ID clipped to my shirt) "You look familiar, um Ibee Grumpy?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Yes, Bill, how are you?"

Bill: "Don't tell me, it'll come! I know! You work here!"

Dr. Grumpy: "No, Bill, I'm..."

Bill: "Can you tell me where breakfast cereals are? My wife asked me to get some Corn Flakes."

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, aisle 16, that way, about halfway down."

Bill: "Thank you."

As he walked away I realized he had a box of Corn Flakes in each hand.


Anonymous said...

I can't decide whether to chuckle or whether to feel bad.

Mockingbird said...

My dad would repeat the same funny story...5 minutes after.

Anonymous said...

My first thought was "that's sad for Bill", then I realized you must deal with that all the time in your job - it's sad for you too.

migraineur said...

Feel bad. It's hell for them and their families. I'd do breakfast with Grandma once a week (we all took turns) so that we knew she'd eaten breakfast and taken her morning medications. Thankfully I had an 11 AM college class, because after about 3 rounds of, hows the weather, how are your parents' doing (Mom ate with her Tuesday and Friday), and how's class going? I was exhausted and needed to go to school to get a break. Thankfully that's about how long it took to wake her up, and get tea, juice, and cereal eaten, which is all she ever wanted, and trust me, we all asked.

My final semester of clinicals, I'd just finished a night shift 7pm-7am, and went to visit her on my way home to bed. I had to zip up my sweatshirt, otherwise all she saw was scrubs, and assumed I was her nurse. Thankfully that worked, but the nurse came in as I was finishing up, so we left the room together. I'd mentioned that a portion of the family's ready to let her go to palliative, but another portion was resisting. I'd mentioned that this pattern of really bad confusion, UTI, catheterize, and re-hydrate via IV had gone about the 'merry go round' a LOT, could something be brought up about end of life decisions? I mentioned I'm just a granddaughter, but I know some of her kids hate seeing her so confused, and one is wanting to keep her mother 'out of a home' as grandma had mentioned that at one point. Bless that nurse, wherever she is, she got the palliative team in and evaluated her. The best move she made was asking what religion grandma was, and had one of the Catholic priests come by. She told him bluntly, three different times that this wasn't how she wanted to continuing to live. The priest telling my aunt that helped get the ball rolling, and it was decided that the next time she got a UTI, it wouldn't be treated. Plus we got her in a small assisted living facility. It was about 8 pts, so lots of time for each person, because I think there was a 2 staff night/3 staff day shifted facility. She did really well there for about 6 months, and was happy, because it didn't fit with her mental image of the older, 1970 era nursing care home- 90 beds, 5 nurses. We called it her new apartment, and she like that phrase. Then she got sick again, so true hospice level care was brought into play, and she was kept out of pain and as comfortable as possible until her end. Even my aunt admitted that this was for the best in the end, but she'd been trying to avoid a nursing home.

Ms. Donna said...

Poor fellow. Was it safe for him to be alone in the store, or was there someone with him, perhaps in the next aisle?

As Anonymous said, it has to be hard for you, too.

Packer said...

I have always wondered if this type of loss of memory is distressing to the victim. Do they realize what is happening to them. If they do, it would lower my mood more than this story did.

Mari-Ann said...

I'm expecting cancer or a heart attack but PLEASE (insert your favorite deity here) don't let my mind go. I would hate it but my small, sturdy group of loved ones don't deserve it and would hate it more.

Anonymous said...


They do realise it, in the early years when they still have some cognitive functions left. It's enough to make you cry.

bobbie said...

One of THE most devastating of diseases! Yes, cancer sucks, but to almost literally lose one's mind...
Please just take me out and shoot me!

Just Me said...

My first thought other than poor man was - hope he didn't drive there.

Moose said...

I know this one. Actual conversation with my mom:

She mentioned that the cat's long hair (ok, fur) is matted. My last cat was a long hair so I gave her some advice on what to do. She mentioned her sister-in-Law was in town, visiting. We talked about her post-shingles neuropathy. She mentioned her sister-in-Law was in town. She gave me updates on what my nitwit siblings are up to. She mentioned her sister-in-Law was in town.

I said, "Mom, that's the third time you told me that."
She said, "Yeah, but it's really traumatic."


The next day I got back from running errands to find I had voicemail. It was from my mom, asking for my advice on what to do about her cat, who has matted fur.

We have a set schedule - I call every Thursday. She hears my voice and says, "Oh, right! It's Thursday!" Ten minutes later, she says, "Today is Thursday, right?" Ten minutes after that, she says, "It's [any other day but Thursday], right?"

And of course, this is just going to get more fun...

Anonymous said...

My thoughts exactly!

gloria p said...

Poor Bill. Poor all Alzheimer's patients. It's heartbreaking.

The Angry Medic said...

Like the first commenter, I chuckled - and then I felt bad, because I actually do have many patients like this.

The long goodbye is a cruel punishment for both the patient and their loved ones.

Unknown said...


A mate of mine worked in a nursing home, and he always said he wanted to be senile when he was old. He said that the demented patients were happier than the rest.

I noticed with my own grandma, that after a certain point, she was quite happy - but living only in the present, on the level of 'Look, the daffodils are out. Isn't it such a lovely sunny day? Look, the daffodils are flowering.' But the person she used to be was completely gone. She didn't recognise us, or remember us.

It's like losing someone in slow motion.

Mage said...

A dear friend became demented. After a very bad fall, we hospitalized him. He wanted to try and live in his senior apartment again, so we got him home with someone to help. Another really bad fall got him back in the local hospital where he thought his cruise ship had docked and left him behind. He donned his coat, hat, and cane over his hospital gown , and went out to see where the ship was docked. That saved him. The cops brought him back, and the doc put him in a nursing home near our home for observation.

We should have paid more attention to initial triggers like this conservative gentleman wearing orange clothes head to toe. Like behind his shower curtain was a shower with 2 years of scum everywhere. Of his cleaning his carpet with a clothes roller because he couldn't find or run his vacuum. I was honored to visit this wonderful gentleman every day till he died. I'm still pleased that the head nurse ran after us one day yelling, "You always have issues, issues, issues."

Me said...

Agree with everyone above. Very sad.

What is strange is the reetition of questions already answered. Why do they remember the question but not the answer? Must be questions are generated in a different, healthier part of the brain?

Anonymous said...

Yes there are many horrible diseases however dementia is probably one of the most devastating things I have ever watched a person go through. When it is someone you love it is even far more painful then even dealing with the reality of it at work. We aa staff didn't know our residents before they had become ill but when it's a family member or friend you see the devastating decline. The Alzheimer's Association has support groups don't know if any of that would be remotely helpful

Anonymous said...

Dementia is beyond devastating for all involved. Please God let the neuroscientists finally figure out the true etiology. The current meds are marginally helpful at best if that. I too hope he was not alone in the store.

C said...

great.... the golden years... I can't wait :(
it's just amyloid plaques... >sigh<

BendySadness said...

My grandmother is having some mild memory issues - nothing unusual for someone who's 80. She cared for someone with dementia, it worries her. I think her main hope is she dies before she has it properly, living with it scares her more than dying does.

My Mum worked in old folks homes for years, including with people with severe dementia and alzheimer's - people with it who forgot how to go to the toilet, how to eat (would forget to chew). They didn't just lose their memories of people, they lost every ability most of us take for granted. That is a terrifying thought.

Anonymous said...

I lost my mother last year to this horrible disease. I can't begin to describe how hard it is to watch the woman that was your best friend growing up, slowly fade away before your eyes. I miss her terribly.

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