Random Sentences


I mentioned our use of MMSE (Mini-Mental State Examinations) to provide a rough guide to cognitive levels – and I’ll emphasise the ‘rough’ part of that as really they can only be considered in conjunction with other tests and assessments of daily functioning.

One part of the MMSE we use asks the respondent to ‘write a sentence’. This can be any sentence, often the first thing to come to mind. Some of these sentences can provide interesting insights in their own right.

I have had a few ‘I love you’s. A few ‘I love (insert random object/thing/person)’ – I love flowers, I love Bob (where Bob is name of spouse).

A lot of ‘The cat sat on the mat’. ‘It is sunny today’, ‘I am tired’. ‘There is nothing wrong with my memory’. The kinds of things you can well imagine.

Sometimes you get an imperative like ‘Go away!’. ‘Leave me alone’ occasionally with a choice swear word thrown in.

One of my favourite sentences remains

‘XX (insert  name of local authority I work for) social workers are harassing me’.

To be fair, she hadn’t been wrong. It was one of those ‘is it too risky to go home’ situations that had led to lots of hand-wringing assessments of risk..

But at least she got her point across in no uncertain terms and so it remains, safe and filed – a true snapshot of her feelings and ability to express them.

Sometimes the sentences are banal and sometimes poignant. Sometimes you get a glimpse into a different part of someone. I wonder what it is that might make someone able to write what they feel they can’t say.

Most times though, it is genuinely the very first thing that comes to mind.

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5 thoughts on “Random Sentences

  1. Often I get statements about the weather.

    Often as you say it’s about people, with “I love . . .” or more sadly, “I miss . . .”

    Working in a deprived area covering a number of ex-miners and pit villages folk tend to talk openly and honestly. With no abuse to me intended, in the last few weeks I’ve had sentences including, “My wife is a fucking bitch,” and, “My GP is a twat,” and one you’ll appreciate, “All social workers are c***s.”

    The oddest one was, “I hate custard creams.” Of all the things in the whole wide world you could imagine, dream and write, what resulted in that being the fore of her thoughts?!

    • My own relative with dementia wrote: “I think it’s time this interview finished – it’s gone on for too long”.

      On another occasion: “”Please don’t sit on my flowers” – the Social Worker had perched on the coffee table, which was always known as the Nature Table in the family, and which was always covered with plants in pots and vases of flowers.

      Spelling was perfect, handwriting superb and ‘joined up’ still at the age of 83! What a girl!! Just a shame that dementia had to spoil it all eventually.

  2. I’ve never had people write a sentence before. Fascinating! I can imagine the stuff you get.

    If I were forced to write a sentence right now, it would go something like this: “If my doc doesn’t call me back in the next five minutes, I’m literally crawling through the phone line and shaking him awake.” Please note it’s 5 a.m. here.

  3. Pingback: This Week in Mentalists (122) « Mental Nurse

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