Whenever someone has been brought into an emergency room and there is a question of mental competency (due to age, head injury, whatever) he or she may be asked a little set of questions. If one can correctly identify 'person, place, and time,' then s/he is 'oriented times three.' Confusion about any of these may indicate a need for further evaluation.
So this morning the mother-in-law had a medical appointment scheduled. The DHubby and I were up early, and by 8:45 we were clean and dressed presentably, breakfasted, medications taken, teeth brushed, NYT puzzle solveded, CoCoRAHS report made (happily, we had 0.73" of rain to report!), and phone call from daughter received. I told her I was taking Gram to the dermatologist while her dad awaited the electrician who failed to show up yesterday. On top of things. Hitting on all cylinders!
I picked up Gram, loaded her walker into the car, buckled the seat belt for her, and we headed out. She's been seeing this dermatologist for 8 years now, and at last her long-standing skin problems seem to have abated. "I don't think I need to keep coming so often," she declared. "He didn't need to do anything last time, and coming here every three months is ridiculous." (Actually, it has been six months since she was seen, and he actually treated the site of a skin cancer --surgically removed-- because the site repeatedly opened up. But then, she is very elderly and has a diagnosis of dementia; that's why I'm along on appointments: I'm her memory now.)
We chat companionably during the short drive, and then I pull up under the awning (out of the sun, which is already fierce), unload the walker, help her out, hold the two sets of doors open, then hop into the car and park it in the lot. Imagine my surprise when I return to the door and she is coming back out! ........I've taken her to the wrong doc--primary care instead of derm. Oops. Reverse process, back into the car, drive 20 yards to the correct building, repeat unloading sequence.
Mean Old Lady appears not to be oriented as to place.
The dermatologist by now is something of an old friend. He is very pleased with her condition. "How long has it been that we've been working on this problem?" he asks. I quickly exclaim, "Ten years!" But that's incorrect; Gram says, "I moved here when I turned 80, and I'm 88 now, so that's eight years." What a day I am having! I confess to the doc that I've already goofed up once.
After I deliver Gram to her assisted living home (where she is excitedly expecting three of her friends to come to lunch) I decide to take care of business. I noticed that the Handicapped Parking placard has an expiration date of 03/30; oops. A quick stop at the Driving Control office should take care of that....but they've moved! Fortunately, we've lived here more than 10 years and I can find the new address. I take a number and wait patiently until I'm called to the counter where I explain my errand. The clerk gently informs me that the placard doesn't expire until 2013.
Mean Old Lady appears not to be oriented as to time, either.
At least I still know my name.