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by Alex Gan February. 26, 2008 1095 views

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them..
Desmond Tutu


I was in the GP surgery today when this couple came in. An elderly gentleman on a wheelchair. A small woman pushing behind it.

“Good evening, nurse” were the first few words that came from the gentleman. He has dementia. The wife introduced herself to the GP and takes a sit on an empty chair. The doctor began her consultation.

Wife expressed her concerns about the gentleman's waterworks. He has been wetting himself lately, accompanied by many other medical conditions. She asked the doctor if there is anything that can be done. She has tried her best. She is tired and she doesn't know if she can take it anymore. She has been looking after a grumpy elderly man for too long. The doctor acknowledged her concerns professionally and thinks it will be better if the gentleman goes into a day hospital, in everyone's interest, including his wife.. For a while, it seemed as though there was some element of relief on her face. She asked for her husband's opinion.

He refused. He was indeed very stubborn. The gentleman began to become agitated. Obviously, he was angry and annoyed. His wife is going against him. He wants things to be done HIS way.

“You fucking twat..”. It was for his wife. Boy, were those words harsh. At that point of time, I was literally stunned. I cannot imagine how a man can say these things to another woman, let alone his wife.. She was embarrassed and I can see there were tears in her eyes. She maintained her composure and she continued talking to the doctor as though it was a norm for him to behave like this. Pitiful old woman. Yet a more pitiful old man. If he was able to choose his acts properly, I doubt he will want to do anything like this to his wife. Sigh.

Consultation came to an end. Both husband and wife expressed their gratitude. “Thank you, doctor..” was what he said this time.

Door shuts. The GP and I looked at each other, feeling a sense of hopelessness.

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