"I'll tell you what has happened. The dog's been sick and it's red. I think there's blood in it. So I've rung the Vet and she's coming out."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Where was she sick?"
"On the carpet."
"I mean where in the flat?"
It turns out that the dog puked right by the phone. That's why Mum didn't take 15 rings to answer.
"Anyway, I must go and get my coat on if I'm going to get down there..."
"Mum, didn't you just say that the Vet was coming out to you?"
"Oh yes, that's right."
"Are you sure now?"
"Yes!"[angry]"Yes, she's coming out to see the dog here!"
I tell her I'll get off the phone and leave her to tend to the dog.
10 minutes later, on a hunch, I decide to call the Warden. He tells me that Mum told him the same - that the Vet was coming out. Then, a few minutes later, Mum passed his office on her way to the Vet's surgery. After a short period, Mum was back, explaining that she'd got as far as the surgery before realising that she'd gone down without the dog...
The Warden reckons that it's any deviation from usual routine that throws Mum.
ADDENDUM: Mum ended up taking the dog down to the Vets, after all. She called me back 10 minutes ago to tell me that she had some tablets for the dog and that she'd been instructed to feed her on fish. When I asked Mum how and when she was meant to administer the pills (having had SO much trouble scheduling her own), she couldn't tell me. So I rang the surgery, who gave me a more complicated picture. Firstly the dog is to be starved tonight. The pills Mum has are to start tomorrow night. Meantime, over the weekend, Mum is to give her bland food such as chicken or fish. Also, there are 2 further sets of pills which Mum failed to take with her on her way out which she is meant to start tonight. I put down the phone feeling somewhat depressed at the task ahead of me. I rang Mum and dictated the instructions slowly, but when I asked her to read them back to me she was unable to read her own handwriting. So, I've sent her down to the surgery again and asked them to write out a set for her. I feel really bad about it, but I think I may try not to get involved any further. It seems a hopeless regimen for Mum to follow. It was excruciating and depressing coaxing her through taking 2 anti-biotics a day for herself. THIS is beyond possibility.
ADDENDUM 2: Evidently, the Vet has begun to understand the problem. Mum forgot to return to the surgery that day, despite another reminder. The next day, the Vet gave the dog an injection that would suffice in place of the 3 prescribed medications. Once again, I'm glad that those around Mum are finally recognising the problem - if they're trying to think of easier ways to deal with things then there'll be less I need to manage over the phone, and consequently fewer frustrating tearful conversations.