Posted by Naomi Finch at 03/10/2012 12:51:39
I’ve been worried about Gramps’ memory for a few months now. He’s intermittently been forgetting everyday things, struggling to remember descriptive words and even forgetting who we are. He seems to have a particular problem with remembering who my brother is. It’s not like he doesn’t see him regularly either. It was Gramps’ birthday recently so we took him out for tea to a local pub restaurant. When Oliver arrived he did the usual – got hold of Gramps’ hand for a handshake, put his face up close and said, loudly into his right ear, “hello Granddad”.
When I’d picked Gramps up 30 minutes earlier I’d told him where we were going and who would be there. As Oliver was the only other man coming for tea, it should really have been obvious that the man shaking his hand was Oliver.
“Who is it?” Gramps said, squinting up at Oliver. I say “up” because Oliver is 6ft 5. “It’s Oliver Granddad,” he said in a very baritone voice that he doesn’t have to put on. “Vicky? Vicky who? I don’t know any Vicky’s.” Gramps said, looking bemused.
Me and the rest of the family started laughing. Sorry but we couldn’t help ourselves. Here was Gramps being towered over by a very tall, well-built man and he thought he was called Vicky. Hilarious!
Poor Oliver, though, had to go through the motions of talking very slowly and deliberately to make Gramps understand him. ‘It’s me O-l-i-v-e-r. You know, your grandson!”
“Oh. Oliver. I’m sorry son, I didn’t recognise you.” Gramps started chuckling. He knew we would be laughing about it, he has a great sense of humour.
Because I was worried that Gramps has started to forget things, I mentioned it to the doctor. She arranged for him to have a memory test and he passed with flying colours (for his age). It seems his mental processing is just naturally slowing down and forgetfulness is common for his age. Phew.
But then the same thing happened again last week when I took my daughter to see him. We did the usual “hellos” and cuddles and then he said: “I’ve been racking my brains to remember what your lad is called.”
“What lad?” I said, thinking he meant my ex-partner.
“Him,” Gramps said, pointing at my daughter. My instant reaction was to laugh.
“That’s Joely, and she’s a girl Gramps.”
“Joely, that’s it. I just couldn’t remember,’” he said, sounding quite frustrated.
“She’s a girl Gramps, not a lad.” I said.
“Yes, I know that,” he replied. “But her name is like a boy’s isn’t it?”
Well, obviously I couldn’t agree with that, but didn’t want the debate. I’m just glad that there is nothing too wrong with him – apart from being 97!