Mostly, I find that there is something terribly and quietly sad about old age psychiatry.
I see a lot of people who are grieving for the loss of the memory of their loved ones. It is a difficult thing to accept and an even more difficult thing to comprehend. It is, for me, one of the saddest of all the things I’ve done, more even than my time in palliative medicine, not because the loss there is smaller or the pain less, but because, as a society and as a profession, I feel that we are far more able to deal with the consequences of systemic physical illness than we are with mental illness, especially in the elderly.
At the end of my first day, all I could think to write was an email to my mum:
“I love you very very much and I always will, even if a time comes when you don’t remember that I do.”