When we got there, as usual, he asked me to stay with him for the doctor's consultation. This time it was not the usual doctor. A new one aged about forty or so.
He introduced himself as the new doctor and said, "You know ... as we get older, we all have lapses in memory. We tend to forget things. Does this happen to you often?"
The old man replied promptly, "No ... never ... I don't have a problem with my memory. In fact I can tell you who is our Prime Minister. It is either Churchill ... or that other fellow ... Presley, I think ... yes ... probably Elvis Presley. We had an election recently you know!"
I was about to intervene when the old man glanced at me sideways as if to say, "Keep out of it!"
I said nothing.
The doctor mumbled, "I see ... the Prime Minister is either Winston Churchill or Elvis Presley!"
At which the old man said, "Have the visitors been yet?"
I thought the man was losing his marbles. A few sandwiches short of a picnic. Why was he behaving like that?
The doctor asked, "Visitors?"
To which the old man continued, "Yes ... we get visitors in the afternoon after lunch. Have we had lunch? Because I'm still hungry!"
The doctor wrote a few notes in his book and then asked, "Tell me ... imagine we had a bath here full of water; and I asked you to empty it using a spoon or a cup. Which would you use?"
The old man thought a little and asked, "Which carries more water?"
The doctor said, "the cup of course!"
"Funny that," said the old man, "I would just pull the plug and see all the water drain through the plug hole ... more efficient that way!"
The doctor was about to say something. The old man raised his hand and said, "One moment Doctor. My friend here has something to tell you!"
I explained that the old man was as sane as anyone else. The only reason he is in an old peoples' home is because he has some physical difficulty. In fact he used to be a doctor and is well aware of all these cognitive tests.
The rest on the consultation went all right.