Friday, January 14, 2011

The lost man and me

I was preparing lunch around midday and looked out of the kitchen window onto the street. There was an elderly man looking very confused and lost so opened the kitchen window to ask him if I could help. He had a lot of difficulty speaking and could only answer ‘yes’. I popped outside to talk to him properly and asked him where he had come from and his name. He couldn’t remember and could only say ‘yes’. I tried to think of questions that might help him to remember, but he couldn’t. Locking up the house we set off down the road and round the corner. I rang the doorbell at a house where someone was home and the person there didn’t recognize him. She phoned the retirement home the other end of the village, but everyone was present for lunch. We set off in the other direction to see a neighbour who is on the local council and is married to a villager born and bred.

My neighbour didn’t know him either, so we all set off trying to jog his memory walking though the local streets while my neighbor telephoned the gendarmes who said that they were on their way. The post office closes at one In the village so I spoke to the post office lady who was just arriving home for lunch. She didn’t know him either. She fetched a chair and a drink of water for the old man who seemed grateful. The gendarmes seemed to take ages to arrive, their base is only 10 minutes away. We left him in their care.

My neighbour’s wife has just phoned. The gendarmes eventually took the old man to the emergency department at the hospital where he was known. The line was bad so I’m not sure whether he’s been reunited with his family or taken back to the home that he ‘escaped’ from. At least he’s safe and sound now.

Olivier was very worried, he’s home for the weekend and heard me lock the front door. He went into the kitchen to find a half prepared meal...


Melissa said...

That was very kind of you to offer your assistance. There are some people who would have been afraid to approach him.

I one saw a disoriented elderly man in a hospital gown, walking down the street with an IV tube hanging from his arm, dripping blood. There was a hospital about a block away, so I assumed that's where he came from. I parked my car and walked him back to the hospital, where they instantly recognized him and called him by name. I wondered how they ever let him wander away in the first place.

Melissa XX

Caroline said...

Did Olivier call the flics to ask when his meal would be ready or did he bravely finish the preparation?

Only a few years before I shall be wandering the streets in a daze.

Caroline xxx

Don said...

Caroline, I feel like I'm about there myself at times...

Glad you were able to help him Anji!


Keith said...

This thing seems to be very common now. I once found an old man standing in the street looking confused. I asked him if he knew where he lived and he said yes, but the house had gone since he left that morning.

What had happened was that the gas board had put up those red and white barriers in front of his house and dug a big hole while he was out walking. He didn't recognise his own home, and it was only a few yards away from us.

Dirty Butter said...

We were caregivers for 3 of our parents with Alzheimers. Thank good ness you saw him, or he could have been in real trouble. Thank you for taking care of him!! Our neighbor had Alzheimer's too, and he was bad about wandering off. He was walking down the road and asked a friend to drive him to the next town, WHICH HE DID! You can imagine how frantic the family was looking for him. His friend finally brought him back, oblivious to the obvious mental issues. I suspected then that friend was in early stages himself, and he's still a little odd.

PS. We put key dead bolts on all our outside doors and never let them see where the key was.

I follow you on ExposeYourBlog.

Anonymous said...

Ah, a land-locked Marie Celeste. You did good though Anji.

Bill Y said...

It was good of you to help him out Anji. Not everyone would of been so helpful.

Dru Marland said...

When they closed down the big mental hospital in Portsmouth, they relocated the former residents to guest houses and B+Bs around the city- there was one such place opposite my flat, and whenever I was tinkering with my motorbike I would find that I had attracted an audience of fascinated but strangely mute people... though they usually managed to find their own ways home...

Véronique said...

What a lovely thing you did! You showed kindness and concern and tried your best to help. I am glad that things seem to have turned out OK.

Andy D said...

Wow. You did a very kind and wonderful thing. I'm not sure how many people would have done the same thing. I'm not even sure if I would have. The man was very lucky you saw him.

Anonymous said...

I worked in missing persons bureau. All the detectives would go out and look for old people that wondered off. It was so hot in Vegas, that you had to find them, or they would die. Sometimes they needed medicine that kept them alive. A lot of times we would find them dead.

You did a good thing, helping him out.

cassie-b said...

That adventure makes you a "true" good samaritan.


Anji said...

Melissa: We have very windy streets and high walls, if he wondered off the pavement he might have been hit by a car.

Caroline: He went back to bed and waited...

Don: I'm sure that you have a while to go yet.

Keith: When I told Rob about he it wondered if he was a victim of 'Granny dumping'

DB: All the time we were waiting for the Gendarmes I was hoping that someone would turn up looking for him, sadly no.

Graham: I like that idea

Bill Y: I couldn't have lived with myself if I'd have ignored him and then heard he'd had an accident

Dru: It is impressive. I was trying hard to think of ways to ask questions that had easy answers. I remembered my Grandfather and he could only say 'no' so I understood more than some I think.

Véronique: Thank you - me too!

Andy D: Once you know that most people leave these things because 'someone else better qualified to help is bound to come along', you do something about it.

Connie: fortunately it was a reasonably warm day. Goodness knows what would have happened if it had been colder

Cas: Thanks. Where have your comments gone?

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