When I phoned the Old Man for the first time that day, he told me that a man had come into the house the day before. He had been able to get in because he had a key to the house. The Old Man had been sitting with his false teeth in his hand, and the man had snatched them away. So the Old Man had no teeth now.
“I daren’t leave the house,” said the Old Man. I pointed out that he he hadn’t been planning to.
When I phoned again, for the morning medication session, I asked the Old Man whether he had made himself a cup of tea.
“I haven’t got time.”
He wanted me to come to Peakville that same day.
A black clock-radio (he took a long time to make it clear what kind of object he meant; I had to do a bit of guessing) had appeared on the chest of drawers in the Old Man’s bedroom. (He does have a clock-radio on the chest of drawers, but it is cream-coloured and he has had it for years.)
After swallowing the dispersible aspirin, the Old Man said:
“Well?” His tone of voice was sharp and impatient, as though I must have known that he was ready for the next item of medication, and nonetheless was keeping him waiting. Yet again, I reminded him that when we communicate by phone I cannot see what he is doing.
I asked him to find the co-codamol, and he came up with:
So at some time since his last injection of Cobalin-H on Monday 17 May 2010, he must have put the pack of ampoules into the sandwich-box.
I had told him to get out two tablets of co-codamol, but he got out only one.
All in all, the morning medication session did not go too badly.
The Old Man went off to the dining-room, to see whether he had anything for breakfast. He came back and said he had “one little cake”.
I told him that I would call him that evening.
“If I’m here.”
I responded that it was no good trying to manipulate me like that; it wouldn’t change anything. At that, the Old Man rang off.
After a few minutes of hesitation, I phoned Mrs CJ and asked her to call on the Old Man later in the day. She told me the story of her late mother, who once had phoned her at 06:30 to say that she had been burgled and that the burglars were still in the house. Mrs CJ’s mother had been speaking in a whisper in case the burglars heard her.
On Sunday 30 May 2010, Mrs CJ will be going to the christening of a friend’s grandchild. Mrs CJ has only two grandchildren; she told me with a chuckle that she did not think she would be having any more.
When I phoned the Old Man at 18:30 he sounded cheerful. He had walked up to the corner shop and bought something for lunch — he was not sure what it was — and he had chatted with Mrs PM. He did not mention Mr or Mrs CJ.
During the evening medication session, the Old Man wanted to put the multivitamin and cod-liver oil capsule into the cup he uses for dispersible aspirin, rather than simply swallow them with water from the water-bottle.
As he had done that morning, he found Cobalin-H when looking for co-codamol. Found it twice, this time.
Then, having swallowed a co-codamol, he was puzzled about where he should put the box of tablets. I told him to put it back into the sandwich-box.
I asked whether he had eaten an orange and a banana that day, and he kept trying to divert the conversation onto other subjects, such as what time it was, and whether it was morning or evening. Eventually he said that he had eaten neither an orange nor a banana. I told him to go and get one of each.
[Original posting 28 May 2011]