For the last 18 months my mother has been assessed by the Cognitive Function Clinic every 3 months. For the last few weeks or so she's improved greatly, thanks to certain interventions I've tried, like Reality Orientation, and lots of Reminiscence Therapy. I have all the memory in our family - I think I've stolen everyone else's share, too! My mother loves me to prompt her about the past, and I find it's the best distraction from her psychosis, so I've done a lot of work in this area, even delving among her hidden possessions to find old photo albums and old cards and letters. I know all the old songs, and encourage her to sing them with me, and I can recite and encourage her to remember the old poems she's fond of, and I've done her some large text print outs of favourite poems on my computer, to energise her long-term memory, although her short-term memory has gone. I've got her a diary book, and have put up a notice next to the front door asking everyone who sees her to sign her book for her. She loves this book. I'm a psychologist, so I more or less know what I'm doing, even though I take reality checks from those who have been carers longer than I have, because I think experience counts. Last week, the nurse from the Cognitive Function Clinic came to test her, together with the CPN. Neither of them thought fit to sign her book. I suppose they thought they were sort of above it. Hmmmmm.......... On Friday I spoke to the CPN who told me that my mother's assessment went very well on cognitive function (as it would - she was a Primary School Deputy Head, and can do any amount of spelling, paper-folding, counting backwards etc, and now that she has a memory book, she knows what month and year it is, and as I've been battling on with the reality orientation, she sometimes even knows which day). Her intelligence isn't affected by the dementia or her underlying psychosis, nor is her ability to have an opinion on anything at all, and her new social package which gives her a one and a half hour call every morning means that her carer has time to bring her up to speed about the day's news, which she's incapable of reading. Soooo, despite the fact that on Boxing Day she was found by her carer covered in vomit and excrement, and had no recollection of being ill in the night, and despite the emergency ambulance and hospital admission three weeks ago as she'd passed out with a suspected TIA, her next appointment with the psychiatrist/cognitive function clinic, posted to me yesterday, is IN A YEAR'S TIME!!!! So this means she can fold paper, knows who the Prime Minister is, and knows where she is (yeah, at home, as she won't/can't leave it, she's now agoraphobic) She knows how old she is (hardly surprising as we made such a fuss of her birthday celebrations this month) and tells the nurse she can do crosswords. Like, not for 10 years, and even then she was rubbish! And she will know all this in a year's time, when I won't be around to monitor and tidy up the mess everyone has made of her case? I am furious. On Tuesday I attend a cognitive function assessment of her with her psychiatrist, and the 'lovely' nurse, and the equally dysfunctional CPN, and her new Social Worker, if one has been appointed. And I shall remind them I'm pulling out in September as I said I would, and they're on their own from then on. I'm sick and tired of having my professional abilities used and abused by this system. Because I am qualified to fill in for their inadequacies, they have decided they can pull back, and leave her very fragile and unstable condition to me, to deal with. No way. As Jude has so rightly said, cognitive function in those programmed to display cognitive function (ex teachers), can differ from day to day, depending on whether they feel like showing off, or whether they're a bit anxious, or distracted, or feel it's a bind. My mother felt like showing off, that day, shored up by extracting from my psyche every neutron of her normal negativity. The gal done good. And I'm left with the shell of what I really am, always. Let them leave it a year, while she pulls her wheelie bin into the kitchen, as she did two weeks ago, to clean it, and turns the house into a skating rink. Let them leave it a year, while she burns another pan out on the stove, forgetting that she can boil water for tea in her electric kettle. Let them leave it a year while she tries to wash her wetted fetid nightdress by hand, and while she doesn't know how to use toilet paper. Let them leave it for a year while she searches the neighbourhood for another man to whom she can give away more tens of thousands of my father's legacy. Let them leave it a year while she truly believes she shops, selects, and pays for for her food every week (I buy it and it's delivered to her). Let them leave it a year while she thows away every electrical item in her home because they 'don't work' . Let them leave it for a year while they can't work out how to give her the medication she needs unless I collect prescriptions from disparate places and dispense pills into the correct boxes. Let them leave it a year while she tells the few friends she has left to leave her alone and go away. After all, she passed her cognitive function test, so everything must be hunky dory for the next twelve months. Gawd. What IS the NHS coming to??? It's stolen my life so that it can chuck my psychotic mother, who never had the help she needed, on to the pending list. This has got to stop. I'm exhausted by being exploited by a system that's failing the desperate and the sick and needy.