Friday, 13 November 2009

Talking of Memory

I was just writing to a friend and the subject of memory and confusion in old age became relevant.  It occurred to me that CJ and I were spared that although Mum (whose memory at 90+ was better than mine has ever been) referred to her 'forgettory' rather than her memory.

As usual I digress.  When Dad was taken into the nursing home suffering from chronic heart failure and could no longer even lift a spoon to his mouth because his heart would not pump the blood round fast enough to maintain the effort, the Social Worker came to assess him for eligibility to be there.  I had just arrived from the Outer Hebrides and was completely disoriented as to what year it was never mind anything else.  Dad also had macular degeneration and could no longer see to read nor, realistically, to watch television..

After a pleasant exchange the Social Worker asked Dad (who was 94) if he could tell her the date.  Excuse me.  A man with no eyesight in a nursing home single-occupancy room and no radio.  How is he supposed to know the date when I didn't?  I said as much.  The Social Worker and I had a 'discussion' until Dad said "For heaven's sake you two stop squabbling.  It's - whatever the date was.  I finished lunch about half an hour ago.  They probably serve lunch around 12.30.  So I reckon it's probably between 1.30 and 2 o'clock."  He then recited the name of the Prime Minister and a host of other things that the SW was likely to ask him. 

She and I looked at each other sheepishly.  I went and got us coffee!  She asked a few questions related to more personal matters.  Said everything would be ok and that was that.

Somehow I think I'll be lucky. It was pointed out to me this morning that it is Friday 13th.  Oh.  It's Friday is it?  No.  Joking.  I knew that because I have the family for dinner tonight.  But the 13th?  Next someone will be asking me what month it is.  It's late spring.  It must be May.  Oh no.  It's May in the Northern hemisphere isn't it.  So it must be...?   Oh dear.


  1. :^) ;^)
    Enjoy your dinner, GB!!!

  2. That reminds me(haha!)of a fridge magnet which took my fancy on a recent visit back to Scotland.
    It says:

    The auld yin
    Been tae a' pairts
    Done it a'
    Just cannae mind it.

    Sad but true - I just went out to the kitchen to get the words from the magnet,started to make lunch then remembered why I was really there! I'm 60.

    I like your blog, keep writing.

  3. I've had no awareness all day that it's Friday 13th, until I read this blogpost (late afternoon).

    Probably just as well!

  4. Eat more carrots, or are they for eyesight, never can remember!

  5. A friend's father who recently ended up in hospital after a trauma was asked similar questions ranging from the general to the personal. After a few don't knows (but very smartly giving his date of birth) the social worker said 'Right, I can undertsand you being a bit confused at the moment so let's try some of those again shall we, but (looking at my friend) this time we'll make it a team effort shall we.' What a great way of putting it.