Notepad on Life

November 7, 2012

Old age and the return of Big School jitters

Filed under: Old People — - @ 9:21 am
Nursing Home

(Photo credit: LOLren)

She has an elderly mother in care. While the four of us wait for our meals, we hear of the downside of longevity: how mother’s  claims of being uncomfortable in bed were curtly dismissed by nighttime staff, how two brusque male nurses changed her underwear, bundled her back into bed and warned her not to disturb other residents.

We learn of the repercussions; the formal complaint and the care home manager’s attempts to browbeat the daughter out of making it.

Whitney’s voice assumes a minor key as it booms from the bar’s speakers. There is a sudden rancid edge to the aroma oozing from the kitchen.

I am in my early fifties, after all. No longer is old age merely someone else’s problem, to be clucked over sympathetically while waiting for the arrival of stuffed mushrooms to lighten the tone. It is now my world too, looming ever larger and as I fret over the prospect, detachedly revolving my glass on its beermat, I realise that it’s not an entirely unfamiliar experience.

Big school. Going up to Big School. The replacement of home and safety with an ominous unknown. Alarmist rumours spread by peers enjoying their brief moment of power.

Only this time, there is no reassuring squeeze of the hand from your mother. This new era, we face alone.


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