Wernicke’s Aphasia it says in the notes. Minor right-sided deficit.
Of course, Mr Girondello still has capacity to make decisions for himself, even if some of those decisions – to be discharged home to this run-down caretaker’s lodge in the middle of a run-down park, for example – seem less than ideal. He has carers three times a day, and they do a good job, making sure he’s clean and fed, and that nothing untoward happened between calls. He has an emergency button, too, and if it’s true he probably wouldn’t think to push it if he got into trouble, it’s some reassurance.
He took a fall recently, and the GP sent us in to review the situation.
‘How are you today, Mr Girondello?’
‘…dello right! It happened, it just happened like that, and the place it was there, and so on…’
‘Well it’s good to see you, Mr Girondello. I’m from the hospital and I’ve just popped in to see how you are, to take your blood pressure and so on. Is that okay?’
‘…s okay. Good. Ahm…Wednesday around and oh boy!….they took it there and it was something else….’
‘Would you like me to make you a cup of tea before we start?’
‘…up tea… start. Yes, that was another trial right in there, that and they thought… and so the box was open… and so…. sugar.’
‘You’d like some sugar?’
‘Ahm…I think horse.’
‘There you go.’
It’s a sunny morning outside, not that you’d know it. Mr Girondello’s kitchen looks out onto what used to be the depot yard, a narrow, high-sided quadrangle, with broken down sheds opposite, and poplars rising high over the slates. If that wasn’t bad enough, someone has hung some heavy green material across the window as a makeshift curtain, nailing it in position so you can’t draw it back. Even with the kitchen striplight on, and a little light coming in through the frosted transom window over the door, the overall effect is of a cold and soupy aquarium. I can hear voices far away across the park, and for some reason it makes the whole place gloomier.
Mr Girondello seems happy, though.
‘There you go!’ I say, carefully passing him the mug. ‘That’ll put hairs on your chest!’
He takes it in both hands, and after taking a sip, looks up at me and says: ‘Ah! That’s how it is..and…and soon… and…and I just hope the water comes down for you, too.’