Wednesday 26-5-10: the bread thief

“By the way, the neighbour doesn’t talk to me any more,” said the Old Man in the middle of the morning medication session. He meant Mr CJ.

I told him to take out a dispersible aspirin from the little yellow box.
“What does it say on the box?”
“Dispersible aspirin.”
Having taken out the tablet but not yet dissolved it in water, the Old Man wanted to go and check that he had turned the grill off. (Five minutes earlier, he had assured me that he had.) Before he went to the kitchen, I got him to stir the water into which he had put the dispersible aspirin.
In the main part of the morning medication session, I told the Old Man to get out a half tablet.
“What of?”
The new box of bendroflumethiazide was in the sandwich-box.
The first box of amlodipine that the Old Man opened was empty, but he wanted to postpone looking for the new box. As I suspected (see Tuesday 25-5-10), the new box of amlodipine was in the sandwich-box.
About the amlodipine, he commented:
“Ten milligems.”
He found the levothyroxine, which he called:
“Levoroxide.”
When I phoned at 18:45 the Old Man was disoriented and paranoid. He claimed that someone had broken into the house and stolen a loaf of bread. He also claimed to have been ringing my number several times during the day.
When I called again, he testily said to me, “BLEKE, a whole loaf of bread has gone.” The teacakes which I advised him should be on top of the sideboard, towards the back, he said were not there. He also claimed that some scones which had been on top of the sideboard that morning had now disappeared.
When I wanted to start the evening medication session, the Old Man asked:
“Is that all you’ve got to say about it?”
It quickly became clear that he was referring to the alleged theft. He wanted me to contact the police. I told him that the first thing he needed to do was to take his medication.
After I told him to find his cod-liver oil capsule and multivitamin, he left me hanging on the line for so long that I rang off. When I called again, and asked him what had happened, he told me “I forgot” (I took this to mean that he had forgotten there were more tablets to come) and that he had swallowed the two tablets.
It took a long time for him to get out (or so I thought) a simvastatin tablet — “I’m trying to look!” he said.
The ferrous sulphate he had already found while searching for the simvastatin.
Then when I thought he had taken out both a simvastatin and a ferrous sulphate, he denied that he had taken out either tablet.
He got out a ferrous sulphate tablet, and I told him to swallow it with water.
“What about that in the cup?” he asked.
I replied that he should use the water-bottle.
A few minutes later I was not particularly surprised to find that he had rung off.
I phoned back, and told him to take out a simvastatin.
“Simlastas,” he said, part-way through the search.
I overheard him mutter something that sounded as though it ended in “…dead.”
And finally, without too much more trouble, I got him to find and swallow a co-codamol tablet.
I phoned the Old Man at 21:25 and told him: “I’ll call you in the morning.”
“What for?” he asked. I’m sure he was not being sarcastic; he simply thought that there must be something special which I wanted to postpone telling him until the next morning.

[Original posting 26 May 2011]

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