Why does everything have to be such a battle? Why do some professionals have degrees coming out of every orifice - but not an ounce of common sense? Prior to our appointment, I had typed a full summary of John's behaviour, incorporating my worry that the care home would not be able to adequately monitor him, and did he now qualify for CHC on a 1:1 basis.
When we arrived, I asked the receptionist if the doctor was in her office, she said she was, so I gave her the summary and she took it straight in. Great, I thought, I don't have to say anything in front of John.
We were early, so she had 15 minutes to read the summary, and discuss it with the student she had with her. When we entered she asked if I minded the student being there, I said that was fine. She then started talking to John, asking where he was staying, if he liked it, what did he like best of all the activities and he said "kissing the ladies".
Although part of me wished for an earthquake at that second, the other part was glad he'd said it. She talked to him for a bit, and then turned to me, and said "you do know this is part of the illness, don't you" - aaaaagh!
She then asked if I'd discussed his "disinhibitions" with him. I said I hadn't, as it would be tantamount to discussing it with a pen, and if I pushed the point, it would cause unnecessary distress.
And she continued questioning me, whilst I struggled to explain things without using words that would alert John that I was talking about him, so, desperately, I said to him "Doctor Blank is asking me about a man who used to be at your hotel called Cyril" and then carried on. John seemed to think it perfectly normal that I would be discussing the mythical Cyril, but I still had to watch what I was saying.
The doctor suggested we try an anti-depressant first, and if that didn't work then another option was an anti-psychotic, though that apparently has a lot of adverse side effects and not an option she would suggest. The anti-depressant, Sertraline, is something I started taking 7 years ago, when John was getting worse, and I got breast cancer, and it had no effect on my sexual ardour! But I agreed that this is something we could try. And then I asked what the next steps might be, if this didn't have the desired effect.
She said possibly a Nursing Home, and I asked if he would have 1:1 care there, and she said "are you self funding?", so I retorted "what has that got to do with anything"!!! I added that I was still waiting for a financial assessment, but John would be getting some assistance.
The sexual ardour is not rare, but not common either. She said she would be writing to the GP, and send a copy to the Care Home Manager and Social Services. "And me please" I piped up. I shook hands with the student, wishing her every success in her career, shook hands with the doctor, and watched as John firstly shook hands with the student, and then stared, horrified, as he literally grabbed the doctor, and attempted to kiss her on the lips.
He then made a sort of throat-growling noise and said "you're 'arf a nice bit o' crackling, doc" . I ushered him out, secretly pleased that he'd displayed this behaviour on cue, and then I took him for a coffee and cake at a garden centre, where we sat outside in the sunshine, and he talked about the ward being full, and the dogs weren't in, but the cat was, and had I left my children with a baby-sitter, or were they at school?
I said our children were 46 and 44, and he said "no, not our children, your children, they're young. Don't tell me you've just left them on their own". So I said that I hadn't, but he then became fixated on tapping his cup, and then his saucer, with a spoon, like he was Ringo Starr, and biting his top lip and squeezing his eyes, and jiggling about, as if his musical talents had propelled him into Utopia.
As this became more frantic, now accompanied by palm banging on the table, and foot tapping, a couple at an adjacent table turned around, and I said "my husband has Alzheimer's". The look of pity they gave me, said it all.
Why can't the doctors listen to us carers? Why did she ignore your request? It's horrible talking about someone as if he/she is not there. Talk about lack of dignity for the patient. Glad she experienced his behaviour and can hopefully get things moving for you.
Do buy John a treat next time you go to visit! You'd honestly think he knew he needed to help you make this doctor understand!! And who knows? Maybe the doctor will have had a little rethink after you had both left!