'But you are not my wife...'

George* is a 68-year-old man who has recently been admitted to hospital with a "mild right temporo-parietal stroke" and is recovering well in the geriatric ward.

As a consultation-liaison psychiatrist, I was asked to assess George in view of symptoms of anxiety, paranoia and unrest.

When I meet George, he presents as an elderly gentleman sitting in a chair pushed into the corner -- "so that nobody can be behind me", as he later explained -- who looks me up and down with a quizzing, somewhat paranoid, look.

He appears alert and oriented, and wants to know exactly who I am, how to spell my name and why I am seeing him.

It is clear that George is not the most trusting of men -- at least not at this meeting, when he indicates to me that "one can't trust anybody these days".

Somehow or other, we are able to have a discussion of sorts, until a nurse comes in with a kindly looking elderly woman and