IT must have been her stirring and moving to the end of the bed that woke me. I looked at the wall clock – 2.30am – and then the end of the bed.

She was semi-crouched, clinging on to the end rail, one leg stretched along the bed.

An Alzheimer’s patient, I’d had to have removed from my room several times.

God help her, she knew nothing of where she was. As I’m on the second floor there are several such patients – ambulatory and considered safe to mix with the rest of us.

Her room is two doors down and she’s a walker who enters any room she believes is hers.

My next-door neighbour has entered here twice or stands at the entrance peering in the barely open door.

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I had this problem on my first sojourn here until I begged to be moved.

They are not bad, say the nurses. That doesn’t reassure me when a blank face talking God knows what sits on the bed either in staring silence or talking non-stop nonsense. It disturbs me for one never knows what they may do next and although I feel deep, deep compassion for these poor souls, I am frightened of what they potentially could do in my condition.

It hit me that she had probably been sleeping in my bed by my side.

I decided to stay quiet when pressing the call button. The early hours can be difficult for the two nurses on duty, stretched thinly if patients are restless and call pressing. It was almost 15 minutes until one turned up and took her away. She didn’t want to go and clung to the rail.

It is not allowed to lock an impaired patient in her room as she can’t give informed consent.

They can only lock me in if I permit it. I am deeply uncomfortable as only one nurse carries the key and the thoughts of being trapped in fire run riot through my early morning brain.

But it is the only way to get some secure sleep and reluctantly I agree.

She cannot get off the floor for all exit doors are guarded by a security code as is the lift. I don’t know the code.

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Twenty minutes after the door is locked there is a strong tapping on it and the handle turns. I am glad it is locked.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep until the clock turned 5am.

Unlocked, I have to keep my door semi-open during the heat. Between that and the long open window I can get a through breeze to keep down the temperature and my breathing even.

But it is an open invitation for the lost, prowling corridors, and I have to weigh up what’s worse.

In the afternoon she returned, straight to my bed, sitting on it. This time I told her firmly she must go to her own room and where it was. Her glassy eyes simply stared at me and she began her incomprehensible monologue. I tried everything including, ‘I’m not French, madame. I don’t understand.’

She looked at me strangely as if trying to compute my words, but they obviously made no sense and then she seemed to find it mildly funny and was off in her fast talk with herself, moving her body more comfortably up the bed.

She apparently falls a lot – one side of her face bruised from eye to end of her cheek – like a dark birthmark. Her left arm is bruised and swollen from elbow to wrist.

Her right shoulder is in a sling but it is not always worn.

I can’t judge her age. She could be in her 70s, I suppose, but it’s possible she’s even older or younger.

The nurses are firm but kind when they grip her arm to take her back, but she clings to the bed rail so it’s a question of prising her off before they can get her away.

I’ve seen her walk at some speed when she chooses to pass my door. I’m told I’m not the only one she visits but that brings me no comfort.

Further down the corridor there is a man, I think, who often in the afternoon shouts, ‘help, help’ every 10 minutes.

It cannot be help as I am the only English-speaking patient here so maybe it’s an inarticulate cry of despair that I’ve given meaning to. I slump down in my wheelchair and vainly seek solace in the blue sky.

I’ve been asking for a move to my old floor, one below, and hopefully once a room becomes vacant, I will get it. I hope it is quick for I am too unsettled and worried here.

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I have never liked the room I am in – the ambience is all wrong unlike the last one which soothed me and felt right. There are no Alzheimer’s patients on that floor and no exit panels to be pressed.

Soon I’ll have the key turned in my lock and hope to override my concerns to get the sleep vital for my health.

Ah, God, nothing is coming easy for me.