Before I start speaking about old age, I would just like to mention something that happened when I arrived at the hospital. I pulled up in the car park and reversed and Charito say’s ‘There’s Chris’ van’! To my my surprise, sure enough, parked a few yards away was my next door neighbours van with the distinctive yellow and blue logo of CJS Couriers. I was surprised to see it their and was worried that one of them (Chris, Jodies or Sophie) might have hurt themselves as it was parked very close to Accident and Emergency. I called Chris on his mobile to find out if they were ok and sure enough they were fine. Chris was in the Van so I walked over to speak to him.
It was a scheduled appointment for Sophie as an outpatient. She has had problems with her Tonsils as they are very large, but she is OK. I saw Sophie later on when we got home and she tried to show me her tonsils while at the same time navigating a polo mint in her mouth. So everything was OK, but it was worrying to see someone in the hospital when you don’t expect too, you always imagine the worst!
I just realised as I was writing this that the title is Old age and then the first thing you see is a picture of my neighbours …. Jodie is bound to tell me off for that if she see it.
Back to the main title theme .. After arriving at the hospital and then settling down in my chair on the ward, there were a few new faces again. It turns out that their were a few people that just come on the ward twice a year for some medication to be administered, I’m not sure what it was or what was wrong with them, but the point is I had never seen them before.
There was one man in particular that must have been in his 70’s that sat opposite me, who’s name I think was Fred if I remember rightly. He was hooked up to a drip similar to me and was waiting for some drugs to be made up. He was quite chatty and had all of his senses, I can’t say that about everyone that comes on the ward and I don’t just mean the patients! One of the things drew my attention to Fred was that when he arrived he asked one of the nurses if it was ok to plug in his laptop computer into the power socket. It took the nurse by surprise a bit I think as she commented on clever he must be to use a laptop as her mother hadn’t got a clue. I must admit though I was surprised as normally most people of his age wouldn’t have a clue, I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, it’s just that they haven’t used the technology much as it moves so quickly that the older generation haven’t got around to learning the new skills.
Fred on the other hand seemed to embrace it. After setting in and him sending his wife and family off while he waiting patiently, I got to know more about him. Not only was in waiting for whatever drug he was waiting for, but he also had dislocated shoulder that was causing him pain and they were going to operate and replace it with a plastic one as his injury hadn’t healed. So he was using his computer with only one arm as well, which is something I think I would find even difficult.
He had a really good sense of humour and didn’t complain too much about the pain in his arm, although you could clearly see that it was causing discomfort, especially when one of the nurses tried helping him get out of the chair to go to toile and they weren’t listening to him tell them not to try lifting him by his arm. The other arm had the drip on and the nurse was trying to support him from the other side while at the same time talking to another nurse. To me it was clear he was in pain and I even mentioned it, but they were oblivious wrapped up in their conversation. Fred just got on with it and managed to get up and make his way to the loo and back though. If it was me I think I would have screamed at them and hit them with the drip, but that’s just me on a good day .
I asked Fred how he injured his arm and his answer perhaps give you an incite into the type of man he is. ‘It was my own fault’ he said ‘I was in the garden and decided to break up some concrete’ - He isn’t a big man, in fact you would look at him and think what a lovely old man. Then he said he was trying to break up the concrete and it must have been the shock running up his arm that damaged his shoulder as he swung the sledge hammer …. yes a sledge hammer! That’s when I really new that this man has led a really good life. His whole personality was one of not giving up and getting on with things as well as keeping his sense of humour. He had me laughing on several occasions throughout the day and I would quite happily spend lots of time talking to him if I ever got the opportunity again. He struck me as a person who I could easily invite around to my home and spend hours and hours talking to and having a laugh with. Now for me to say that is quite a compliment for those that know me. I don’t have a lot of patience at the best of times and I could probably count on one hand the number of people I could happily spend time with, but Fred one definitely be on my list of people to spend time with.
I think now that I have cancer and (pretty much) unlikely to see old age (although according to my children I was old about 20 years ago) it makes you think about it more as you see older people and the life that they have led and are leading. How much respect do we give them after everything they have gone through and the life changing experiences they have had. Some of them have survived world wars and grew in hard times than we are now. Every generation thinks they are hard done too and I think we are in our own way, but lets not forget that each generation is making the future for the next, so we are only here where we are now because of the older generation. More worrying is that the younger generation are doing the same for those that follow, what will the world be like if lose all respect for people and property as it seems they are doing with the recent riots etc here in the UK.
Maybe it is good at times not to reach old age….