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The Story of Mrs Davies

Page 2

Darryl Emmerson

A few weeks in, he began to notice a fairly fit-looking lady in her late seventies, Mrs. Davies. She walked constantly. The corridor was designed around a square, which held the nurses’ station, and on the other side were the patients’ rooms. But, unlike nearly all the other patients, Mrs Davies seemed never to be in her room, she was always up and about, on the move. Was she anxious, nervous, restless? No. The first time Dan spoke a few words to her, she stopped, smiled at him, and said “Going well today, Doctor!” She was slightly above middle height, with wavy, well-kept hair and neat clothing, and her manner was alert, her expression good-humoured. He explained what he did, that he wasn’t a medico, she listened, smiled again, and said, “Thank you, Doctor!”

He asked around, looked into the file. She had been admitted eight months before, at the request of her local doctor, as well as her daughter, for some concern over anxiety. Once arrived on the ward, she had been assessed, her medication revised, and a stay of 'a few weeks' (the file vaguely suggested) was arranged, to ‘stabilise’ her, before discharge. She did not have many visitors, including from her family, and now more than six months had passed.

He began to wonder if Mrs Davies should be there at all: neither the file nor staff comments even pretended to show any ongoing issues. And what did the lady herself want? Well, that question was easily answered. “Oh I would just love to be home again”.

The daughter, when he rang, seemed suspicious. “Why exactly are you calling?” she asked. “You want to know if Mum could come home? I don’t think so. She doesn’t look after herself, can’t take care of the place”. He ventured to suggest her mother gain the support of a nurse for personal care, perhaps get Meals on Wheels, maybe some Council help with gardening. But the daughter barked, “I’m standing here with my mouth open! My mother can’t look after herself, and the sooner you understand that, the better!”. Phone down, end of call.

He spoke again with Mrs Davies. She was lucid enough, said she missed her place. Dan asked if she would like a weekend visit home, if food, transport, nursing and other supports could be organised. “Yes!” she instantly said, “and Frank could come over and have some lunch with me”.

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