Saturday, 15 December 2012

Table. Apple. Penny.

Whilst there were several places I might have been that morning, I wouldn't have been anywhere else.  The practitioner from the Memory Service arrived promptly.  I liked her instantly. 
Mum was nervous.  I think I was a little, too.  It's been a difficult year.
"It's Friday, it's the fourteenth of December and I'm at home..."
No problems there.  CAMCOG, or the Cambridge Cognitive Examination is a thorough assessment tool used to assess the extent of extent of dementia, and to assess the level of cognitive impairment.  The standardised  measure assesses orientation, language, memory, praxis, attention, abstract thinking, perception and calculation. 
"Table.  Apple.  Penny."
Three everyday items that were introduced at one point, and then referred to again later on.  Again, Mum was able to recall each.   
I am reminded that the only three certainties in life are old age, sickness and death.  Not perhaps the most uplifting of realities, but something to focus on in the midst of all the chaos.  Life is short, and Mum's chronic and debilitating condition that has made such an aggressive progression in recent months, serves as a ready reminder if ever I need one - life is precious and health is not to be taken for granted. 
The clinician guided us through a long list of assessment tools, and the combination of her confident expertise and warmth conveyed both that she was good at her job but, as importantly, that we were in good hands.  Mum spends a great proportion of her time attending appointments with different professionals.  One of the difficulties is the coordination of her care.  Falling under several consultants at different hospitals presents challenges, for all concerned.  My single bugbear is the incongruence: we all know that whilst good, it's far from perfect.  So why pretend?  Would it not be better to acknowledge the gaps, so that we can 'mind' them and get on with it, as best we can.  When the loopholes and pitfalls remain unspoken, trips and falls are more likely.  Together with the consequent and injurious disappointment.  Relationships grow from trust, and when your life is quite literally in the hands of a.n.other, you want and need consistency of care.  Dignity depends upon it. 


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