The Old Man and I began our first medication session at 06:52. His voice sounded as though he was eating toast, but he said he had to go and switch the grill off. When he returned, he confirmed that his toast had finished browning. The time was now 07:05.
The package of lansoprazole was empty, so I told the Old Man to look for loose bubble-packs. He offered ferrous sulphate, and I redirected him to the deep box.
He offered dispersible aspirin. I told him to take one out, and put it into the cup. The next thing he said to me was that he had swallowed the dispersible aspirin. With water, he said, when I asked. (I hope so.) I told him to repack the deep box.
We moved on to the sandwich-box. He offered dispersible aspirin, but said unprompted that he was looking in the box with no dots.
He found the Normulen package but said it was empty. I told him to look for the little bottle that should have been in there. He didn’t find it.
The Old Man offered ferrous sulphate. I replied yes. There was a pause, then he said:
“I’m all mixed up here, you know.”
He offered lansoprazole. I redirected him to the sandwich-box.
We moved on to bendroflumethiazide; but then I heard the rattling of the little bottle of half tablets of gliclazide! The Old Man confirmed that he’d found that bottle, so I told him to take out a half tablet, which he then swallowed. We reverted to looking for the bendroflumethiazide.
“I’m all iggs and jibbs,” he said, calmly — meaning that he was in confusion.
“I can’t find anything.” — also said calmly.
He found the bendroflumethiazide and swallowed a tablet.
“Surely that’s the last.”
I had to tell him that it was not so.
We moved on to amlodipine. He asked what time his lift was due to arrive. I told him to concentrate on what he was doing. He found the amlodipine and swallowed a tablet.
I decided to omit the ferrous sulphate, which he had not taken earlier.
While searching for co-codamol, he again asked when the ambulance was due. He swallowed 2x co-codamol.
I told the Old Man to eat his toast, drink his tea, and then get ready to go. Again he asked when he needed to be ready — but I didn’t say, in case he skipped breakfast.
Our phone-call ended at 07:48.
When I phoned again at 08:18, the Old Man was still there. I told him to put on his coat and his shoes. He did quite a lot of querying what he was going to hospital for, and quite a lot of grumbling.
I made contact with the Old Man for the second time that evening at 20:03. He sounded tired throughout the medication session. I told him to find the blue-top and red-top bottles; there were various noises off; I asked whether he’d found the bottles; there was mumbling, and then silence. I thought he’d rung off, but when I phoned back, his line was engaged.
I managed to make contact again at 20:17, and asked whether he’d got the blue-top and red-top bottles. He offered co-codamol, then three times he offered dispersible aspirin. Eventually he found and swallowed a cod-liver-oil capsule and a multivitamin. The time was now 20:26.
“When am I going to give up on these?” he asked — he was referring to all his medication. I told him, never.
“I’d rather die.”
We moved on to the evening box, and simvastatin. He pointed out that he’d got two of them, so I told him to take out just the one. He clarified that he’d meant two packages of simvastatin, not two tablets. (I had realised this all along.)
The Old Man found and swallowed his simvastatin and co-codamol. I told him that was the lot.
“Thank God for that,” he responded.
Our phone-call ended at 20:36.
At 21:13 I phoned again, to say goodnight.
“How did you know I was at Peakville Hospital?” he asked.
I replied that we’d booked the appointment together, by phone.
[Original posting 15 July 2011]