The first time I met 87-year old Virginia, it was immediately apparent why the nurses had made the referral. She spoke too quickly, words pouring out one after the other without pause. She had vague theories that a staff member was trying to steal the house she’d vacated a few months ago and attempting to steal her boyfriend as well. She couldn’t identify which staff member it was, nor could she recall what day it was or the name of the United States president. “He’s got a wife and two kids, I remember that much,” she told me.
Her gray hair was orange at the ends, giving her an unfortunate clown-like air; the flowers on her hat emphasized this effect. Her fingernails had been painted red weeks ago with only small bits of color remaining. She lifted up her floral shirt despite my protests to show me that she had no bra in her clothing collection.
“Do you think I’m crazy?” she asked with concern at the end of the interview.
“I think you’ve got a lot going on,” I demurred, “and I’d be happy to try to help you sort it out.”
“I wish you would,” she replied, satisfied.