Adventures with Mum and Aunty Norrie

When Norrie was in hospital, I received a concerned phone call from my cousin Gayle. Gayle had called in to the hospital to visit Norrie. She was worried because while she was visiting a Doctor had sat with Norrie and explained the results of her tests to her. Aunty Norrie nodded her head and answered at the appropriate times.

Gayle knew I needed to know what had happened because she knew Aunty Norrie would have had no idea what the doctor was talking about. Not only that, Aunty Norrie wouldn’t be able to tell anyone what she had been told which meant that if the information was important, as life or lifestyle decisions, it could mean that Norrie would be at risk. Something nobody would know until her regular GP received the results and followed through.

Concerned I drove to the hospital and asked to see the doctor who had been with Norrie. As soon as I introduced myself as Norrie’s niece/carer, she apologized.

She explained that she was new to the hospital, and her chat with Aunty Norrie had been her first round and chance to familiarise herself with the patients. She had just called in to introduce herself to Norrie and share the results of her tests. She had not read Norrie’s chart so she hadn’t known that Norrie was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She had since read the chart and realized then that Norrie wouldn’t have been able to ‘take in’ their discussion.

The doctor said she was amazed when she read Norrie’s chart.

“I had no idea that Norrie had memory and confusion problems when we were talking,” she said. “Norrie had acted completely altogether and it seemed as though we were enjoying an every-day normal, lucid chat.”

“When I went back,” she continued, “Norrie had no recollection of our talk or even who I was. That’s when I realized something was wrong, so I read the chart. Your Aunt’s ability to conform completely fooled me.”

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