I had an interesting conversation with one of my patients today.
Someone whom we had had in the ward for what seemed like forever, who was there before I started working, known by name to the staff, most of whom were eagerly awaiting his departure (finally!). I think every ward has a similar story to tell.
ANyway, I stopped by to see how he was doing, figuring it would take maybe a couple of minutes to confirm he was still medically fit for discharge (have to love that blanket term!) and that everything was in order for him to leave the next day.
'I'm feeling a bit depressed today doctor' - not what I was expecting to hear.
He then started telling me about his early days, when he was an infantryman, serving in the battle of Dunkirk, covering the retreat against the Germans. One theatre of war to led to another as he related stories of campaigns in Africa, New Zealand in a wistful manner.
I didn't mind so much, actually, partly because I'm a sucker for war stories, no matter how far-fetched they seem. Also because it seemed like this chap was so keen to relive his past before the end. He knew he wasn't going to be around forever, he said, as he related somewhat proudly that he had 7 great-grandchildren.
'I just wish someone would tell me what was going on. You know, for someone who always used to be in control and fending for himself...I guess I'm just not used to being moved around without knowing whats going on.'