An odd balls up…

So, I meet my outreach mental health Dementia nurse.

Six monthly meeting.

She checks how I feel. Driving? Functions? Conversation? Orientation?

Memory test: 26/30 (one down this time… wrong day of week)

So all looking ok. No particular decline, though I do get days of the week wrong on occasions.

I become convinced it is a Tuesday, for example, when it’s a Wednesday.

I think it’s Tuesday. But my diary tells me what I’m doing on the right day, and I don’t miss appointments. So it’s not a huge issue.

Then we get to the bit I don’t enjoy, though I started quite relaxed.

How will you know if you are doing too much?

Do you think you are doing too much?

How will you know when you can’t quite keep up with things and ought to consider not attending meetings or committees?

Have you got things right?

In other words…

Be careful.

Don’t do so much.

Don’t tire yourself.


You may not be able to take part in conversations and discussions but you won’t realise it.

And perhaps that is happening now?


At the time I just said stuff about choosing what I do more carefully now.

About talking to people about whether I am on the right wavelength, in the right room, etc.

But later I really started to question my capabilities?

A real crisis of confidence.

I am due to attend a local health economy dementia steering group that afternoon, and as I drive there I wonder whether I have indeed got things out of proportion…

About the lack of support for people post diagnosis.

About what people affected by dementia actually want and value.

The patient view against the clinician view.

Social model of care versus medical model.

So I start the meeting, where I will rehearse my NHS Citizen presentation, really confused.

Complete implosion of confidence.

Am I just simply wrong? Deluded? Got it all out of proportion?

After all, clinicians tell me there are around 45 staff in Shropshire providing dementia services, peer groups, cognitive stimulation therapy courses, crisis support.

What more could we want? It’s a good service.

By the end of the meeting I am back.

Most members of the group agree with me.

Shameful lack of support post diagnosis.

A neighbouring commissioner agrees with my arguments, and confirms my intuition and knowledge.

Back on track.

And a bit annoyed at what happened.

As Kate Swaffer says, “prescribed disengagement” is bad.

Live well, do what pleases you, keep as active as you can.

Ok, make the odd balls up, but wasn’t it ever thus?

That, dear reader, is life.


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