Over the last couple of weeks I have become more and more reluctant to take Anthony out of the nursing lodge to either bring him home or elsewhere, even with the use of the wheelchair taxi, because of how often these ‘outings’ sort of backfire.
One of the nurses said to me the other day that when he gets back to the nursing lodge he is often moodily unhappy and it has been suggested to me by friends, family and staff, that taking Ants out of an environment he is still adjusting to might be detrimental rather than delightful. Now, in principle, I already knew this because I spent many years working as a nurse, then undertaking a PhD about dementia and finally having a book published. Wiithin that book, I devoted a chapter to this very issue, so I do know.
Back then I was writing about a patient who always wanted desperately to go home so one day, I took him out for a walk up the street and, instead of being delighted to get away from the nursing home, he became even more disorientated and I had to bring him back much sooner than I expected. It was a humbling experience because I had thought, at the time, that I would cheer him up but that little venture out exacerbated his confusion and he was more agitated than usual for a couple of days. Yes, I felt bad but I also learned something.
That was years ago – well before Anthony and I were married. I told him the story of this man and Ants was proud of me for undertaking the thesis and he said I was too kind and I should have just left the situation alone. He said, “Jules, he needs to settle.” Ants felt so sorry for that man.
Now he is that man.