The Dementia Diary

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The Evening Phone Calls

on May 17, 2012

The phone rings.  If it’s 7.30pm or 10pm we know what’s coming next.

“Hello. I’m in a terrible mess!”

It’s the same every time.  If it’s 7.30 this is the ‘I’m checking that you are coming to see me, without me asking you directly‘ call.  If it’s 10 it’s ‘I fell asleep in my armchair and because it’s late and I’m not quite awake I don’t know where I am or what’s going on‘.

For the past couple of evening’s we’ve had the 7.30 calls.

Up until a couple of months ago I was visiting F i L daily (excluding Saturday) and husband was seeing him a couple of evenings a week, Saturday and with me on a Sunday.  It was too much.  We have children. We have work. We were spreading ourselves too thin.  We’re not getting the help we need from other family members so we brought in outside help. Combined with the club that we packed him off to 2 afternoons a week a carer coming in 2 days per week, on four days he is seen by someone competent who can call us if there is an issue and he gets a proper meal (although F i L disagrees, but that’s another story) on each of those days.  This potentially gives us half of our week back.

Tuesday evening.    The Carer of the day has just left.  F i L doesn’t have a fixed Carer, just whoever is available that shift.  The phone rings and I know it is him.  I look at my watch.  7.30pm.  My daughter answers.

“No grandpa….it’s [daughter]…..I’m good……..Yes, she’s here”

I’m shaking my head, pointing upstairs, indicating to my daughter that she should take the phone to her father upstairs.  She shakes her head.

“He asked for you.”

I take the phone.

“I’m seething. The person who cooks for me has just left and he’s done nothing.  He cooked for me then he sat in the other room doing nothing until I finished eating.  I’m seething.

“Ok”.  What do I do with this information?

“The ladies are always so good.  They never stop working.  But he just sat there.  He said he just gives people their medicine – that’s all.  He did nothing.  I’m seething.  I’m paying for this and he did nothing.”

“We’ll speak to the company  tomorrow about it and sort it out.”

“Oh no.  It’s fine I just wanted to tell someone about it.  Of course it didn’t help that he was {insert racist comment of your choice}.”

I am gobsmacked.  I know he doesn’t like men coming in to look after him.  I know that where money is concerned he has very short arms and deep pockets.  He was born in India and raised for the first years of his life by an Ayah who he remembers with great affection (she effectively replaced his mother at that point).  He has never made such an obviously racist comment before.

I know that this is the Alzheimers making him say inappropriate things, pacify him and carry on with my evening.

Wednesday evening.  The phone rings. I look at my watch.  7.25pm.  F i L is calling.

“Hello grandpa………..yes, I’ll just get her.”

I am shaking my head furiously.  My eyes are pleading with her.

“Dad’s in the bath and he asked for you.”


“About my tablets dear.  I’ve run out.”

Husband had refilled the pill box and I knew that he had enough tablets until I collect his refilled prescription Thursday.

“I’m picking your tablets up from the chemist tomorrow.”

“But I’ve run out.  There’s no more in my box.”


“It’s fine.  I can find them for the morning.”

Oh no!  I have flashbacks to him mixing up all of his pills.

“Me, or No. 2 Son, will come and sort them out later.”

“Oh you will?  That’s marvellous.”

Husband went and I enjoyed a glass of wine 🙂

A Cisco 7960G IP telephone

A Cisco 7960G IP telephone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


One response to “The Evening Phone Calls

  1. kimjoy24 says:

    I admire your sense of humor and understand your frustration, I used to dread those kind of phone calls!

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