Posted by: medicblog999 | July 30, 2009

Always together

dementia-main_FullI am dispatched to an elderly female with a history of a fall and unable to get back up. I am just around the corner when the radio is activated with  a message from control:

” please be advised that the carer on scene reports that the husband in the house also has some facial injuries and may also require transport. Let us know if you require another crew”

Sounds a little strange but I head in to assess the scene. We are met by two carers who inform us that the initial patient, the wife, has just come out of hospital following treatment for a urinary tract infection. She has fallen and now cannot get up off the floor.  Her husband has dementia and refuses to be separated from her, but he has been noted to have a swelling on his face along with cuts to his hands which were not there last night.

It all seems a little odd……

I go into the house to see Frank leaning over Marjorie who is sitting on the floor, half propped against the chair. She seems to be complaining of a painful right hip, but other than that seem ok. Frank on the other hand,  has a number of bruises on his face and various cuts and grazes to both of his hands. I am obviously going to need some help with transport on this one so call for a crew to back me up as a category B emergency.

As I am waiting for the crew, I start to talk to both Frank and Marjorie. They seem a very loving couple, but something just doesn’t seem quite right. Frank has obvious dementia and continues to ask about if his mother is coming over and what time his Dad will get in from work, whilst continuing to hold Marjorie’s hand and telling her over and over again how much he loves her.

Marjorie on the other hand is trying to desperately get off the floor, whilst wincing with the pain of moving that right hip. I tell her to sit still and not to move as she may have broken her hip.

Marjorie: ” I cant have broken my hip! Who will look after Frank if I am not here. He needs me to look after him, he gets scared if I am not here!”

M999: ” Do you have any family that can come and stay with him, once he comes back from the hospital (as he is going to need to go in, so that his facial injury can be assessed more thoroughly)

Marjorie : ” No, we have no one. We couldn’t have children. Its just us……Its always been just us”

As I take in the scene further, I can tell that Marjorie has been struggling with caring for Frank. She seems tired, I mean really tired…exhausted with the burden of caring for her husband who seems more like a child than her partner. But you can really see the love and dedication between the two of them.

She tells me that they have been married for 61 years and have never once had a ‘real fight’

As the crew arrive, I brief them on the situation. Frank becomes agitated when he sees us getting Marjorie ready to move. He knows that she is going to leave the house and he becomes afraid that he is going to be left alone.

Frank: “get off her!! What do you think you are doing”

Marjorie: ” Its okay darling, its okay! These nice men are just going to take me to the hospital. You can come too. I wont leave you, I promise!”

Frank settles down a little and we manage to get Marjorie onto our carry chair. Its a struggle to get her out of the house as Frank wants to be by her side the whole time. And I mean REALLY wants to be by her side. I negotiate with him and take him out to the ambulance in front of Marjorie, so that he knows that we cannot go anywhere without him.

The last I see of them is as I say goodbye at the backdoor of the ambulance, before getting back into my car.

Frank is sitting on the seat next to the stretcher. The crew have moved the stretcher right across the floor so that it bolts into place right next to the chair that Frank is sitting on. They are holding hands and staring into each others eyes.

Im sure Marjorie is thinking the same thing that I am……..

Frank wont be coming back home.

He is going to need specialist EMI care (Elderly mentally Ill), and they are not going to be together again in the same house for a long time, if at all, ever again.

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Responses

  1. and, sadly, it will likely kill them both within a year. Alone and away from one another.

    Great story.

  2. […] Elsewhere around the EMS blogging net, Michael Morse tells the story of a young girls disturbing response to hypnotism in Night Terrors.  Tom Reynolds muses about the frailty of human life in Always. Greg Friese waxes philosophic about overcoming self-doubt in It Cannot Be Done and The Happy Medic displays mixed emotions about the passing of his systems 24 hour shifts in Medic 99 Has Been Deactivated. Ben Yatzbaz teaches us that you can never really know the full influence of your actions in the story Inspirationand Mark Glencourse reminds us that everything is temporary in the touching story Always Together. […]

  3. Just had a similar one last week:
    http://mack505.blogspot.com/2009/07/olive-oyl.html

    I find these calls harder than the high-profile ones. Trauma can happen to any of us, but old age WILL happen to most of us.

    Sadly my partner had the same reaction as Happy, and they’re both probably right.

  4. This story brought a lump to my throat. I really worry about what would happen if my mum had an accident or became unwell … would my dad know what to do to get help ? Really sad story.

  5. A very sad story. I saw this a lot when working on PTS. When one goes the other usually follows.


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