1 EAGLETON NOTES: The Elderly Nurse

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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The Elderly Nurse

When I was in Glasgow's Royal Infirmary last December my first ward after A and E was the Medical Reception Ward. Whilst there I received lots of questioning, tests and so on. When one has sepsis one is often confused but I was alert enough to know what was happening when  a nurse walked across the ward towards me announcing "I'm the elderly nurse.".  My response was quite simply that she didn't look anywhere near as old as I am and I don't think of myself as elderly.

"No. I'm the Elderly Nurse." Ah. That was her title. Of course I knew that but it did seem a very strange moniker.

The standard questions followed: did I know my name?; did I know my address?; did I know where I was?; and did I know why I was here? Able to answer the questions without a problem I was pronounced not to have dementia and off she went to find another patient who might not have been so fortunate.

So when the nurse taking all my details when I got onto the ward last week said "And now for The Questions." I knew exactly what was coming and answered them without her having to ask. Without batting an eyelid she then asked me to recite the months of the year...backwards. As it happens I can do that almost as fast as I can recite them in the correct order: something I was totally unaware of until that moment.

30 comments:

  1. Never thought of doing it, but I just did. I could recite the months backwards very easily, I just pictured a calendar. The thing is, I can't seem to do that with the alphabet!

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    1. Kay, I've never tried to recite the alphabet backwards. I hope that I never have to do so.

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  2. Coincidentally I was asked earlier on today to say the alphabet backwards - and did. Not had cause to do it for years but I guess some things you don't don't lose track of!

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  3. Yes , I get tired of questions. It's usually your birth date. I suck at backwards stuff so they better not ask me to recite much backwards.

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    1. Red, I am resigned to questions when I go into hospital. I just hope no one asks me to recite anything else backwards.

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  4. I must be in need of your elderly nurse; I can just about make it back to X in the alphabet. Months aren't quite so bad.

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    1. I'm sure, Cro, that very little would defeat you.

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  5. You are a clever clogs I would probably fail that test. Hope you are feeling well now.

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    1. Thanks Diane, I'm back on track now I hope. I'm sure you would be able to do more than you think.

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  6. I don't know whether I would pass the test - I'm not trying it for myself right now, as my brain is a bit muddled at the moment; the flu got me after all, and I've been home since yesterday.

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    1. Meike, I'm sorry that the 'flu has managed to get you. Get well quickly.

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  7. I too can recite the alphabet backwards in a sing song fashion, we learned to do that at school. I tried the months of the year backwards and managed that, albeit fairly slowly. I can't remember what I had for dinner 2 days ago so that's a bit scary.

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    1. What an unusual thing to learn Beverley. I think most of us have problems as to what we had to eat a few days ago.

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  8. Thank you for the tip
    It will be interesting to practice backwards recalling skills for the years ahead.

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    1. I hope, Maywyn, that you don't need to use those skills.

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  9. I'm glad you passed the test :) As much as I enjoyed reading your story here, I think it's a good thing that they do check, though. Of course I too immediately tried the months of the year backwards... No problem. After having read the comments here, I also tried the alphabet backwards... I hope no one ever asks me to do that in a stressful situation, because I'd probably be immediately judged illiterate! (Leading me on to the reflection that I think somehow my brain has the year sorted clockwise - January between 12 and 1. The days of the week are also stored in a circle, but anticlockwise, with Sunday at the top, and Monday to the left. [I have no idea why!] The alphabet, however, is in rows of four letters, which just have to be read from left to right, and top to bottom. Trying to see them the other way round is just utterly confusing!)

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    1. Monica, I really admire and envy your abilities. As someone who has no ability whatsoever to 'see' lists or whatever in my head.

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  10. Sounds like you did very well, if I was asked to recipe the alphabet backwards I'd have to think and go through them slowly, the months of the year however would be a bit easier.

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    1. Amy, I managed to persuade the various enquirers that I wasn't demented anyway.

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  11. In our local branch of Boots, there's a small notice with the name of the "responsible pharmacist". I just love that, as I envisage all the other pharmacists popping pills and dancing in a back room with their knickers on their heads.

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  12. The Elderly Nurse should have asked you to name all of the 92 teams in The Football League followed by the phonetic alphabet and every Greek letter. Failure to do so would have proved conclusively that you are now officially dolally.

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    1. YP I would not even attempt to recite the teams in the Football League. However I use the phonetic alphabet and am pretty sure I could recite that without much hesitation at all. The Greek alphabet I can recite absolutely at speed and have been able to since my youth. It has been invaluable for crosswords if for nothing else.

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    2. Repeat after me Accrington Stanley, AFC Bournemouth, AFC Wimbledon, Aldershot Town, Arsenal...etcetera

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    3. Oh in Alphabetical order. You should have said, YP. I thought you meant in league order.

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  13. My husband has a small stroke six months ago and the therapist asked him to recite the months backwards too ... he did this and I was sitting quietly by as I did it also ... he was better than I; faster.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that your husband had a stroke, Jill. However it's good to be thankful that it was a minor one.

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  14. A young Elderly Nurse with no sense of humour, apparently! Some people are very slow on the up-take...and most of those are the young of today! :)

    What year is it?

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    1. Soryy I missed your comment, Lee. I think her sense of humour was okay. I think she was just rather taken aback.

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