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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Man in the White Coat

So this is going to be another happy-go-lucky post of mine ... not.

My Grandad’s in the hospital.

He fell over and hurt his shoulder, and on top of that he has a bladder infection. I’ve been told its nothing to worry about, but he is really frail anyway and he’s quite old: 88. So I cant help but worry.

He’s spent the last 5 years of his life talking about ‘when he dies’ and so forth, which is a horrid thing to talk about but in a way it is true. Which isn’t helped by my mum who also talks about it ... far less often, but she still does.

Like, he is so unbelievable proud of her and her marriage as his didn’t last, so she is choosing not to tell him that she broke up with my dad and is instead waiting for him to die so that she doesn’t have to tell him. I disagree with this, but I can see her point.

I just don’t like the idea of lying to someone until their dying breath.

So I went to see him the other day in the hospital. I didn’t get much time with him as visiting hours are only between 6.30 and 8.30, but it was nice seeing him :)

So in the end, there were me, my two sisters, my mum and our newly-reconnected cousin at this one bedside visiting him and I hope it made his day :) but then again, he enjoys hospitals. The sheer number of times he said “I like it here, you get three square meals and a comfy bed”, which he has these things at home anyway, but I think he enjoys being pampered.

But I found it difficult to see the happiness and comfort there. I was just reminded of when my Nan Val was in the hospital.

I just remember the acrid smell of the alcohol hand wash and the dim energy-saving lights they had. I remember the cold air and the bland walls. But most of all I remember her frail face as she lay there with whatever ailment she had this time.

She was quite a sickly lady but she always put on a brave face. Until the last year or so.

She would get chest infections practically back-to-back which meant she had a permanent bed in the hospital for a while, and although I tried my best to visit her as often as I could, I hated it there. I hated what it was doing (well from my perspective) and I just hated what was happening.

I remember the gentle buzzing of the oxygen tanks, the bland water the stuffy air. I remember so much and yet I try so hard to forget it.

That why I hate hospitals and why I hate the man in the white coat.

But its strange ... I never used to be this way ...


Wayne said...

I hear you Jack cos my parents are both in their mid-eighties and I spend a lot of time helping them out. You go downhill fast after the age of 80 with increasing frailty and weakness. Best to keep moving and be occupied when you get old. But actually getting very old, frail, and disabled makes it a lot easier to accept death; who wants to die when they are strong and healthy? If you do make it to old age someday the best attitude to have is to 'make the best of it' and enjoy what you can. It is very important to live a moderate and healthy lifestyle (including regular exercise) in your younger years also avoiding booze, drugs, and cigs. Adjust your lifestyle to avoid excessive stress cos mental health is important too. Doing all this will provide a better quality of life in your older years. In old age don't complain constantly about ailments cos people will head for the door lol. They should have your grandfather fixed up in a few days; he is doing well to make it to 88, I figure every year after 70 is gravy. Actually hospitals are wonderful cos when you are in pain and/or sick it is comforting to know they can help. Don't be afraid of getting old (you will have the wisdom of age); prepare for it. - Wayne :)

A Wandering Pom said...


I'm sorry to hear about your grandad, and I understand why you're worried about him - quite justifiably, I think.

Your grandad talks about "when I die"; my parents are in their early eighties, and do just the same. I think that at that age, the inevitability of it becomes much more immediate, and perhaps less frightening. Maybe also people of that age are trying, perhaps subconsciously, to prepare those around them for the time when they are gone.

I can understand why your mum is not telling your grandad about her marriage - sometimes it's kinder (or seems so) to maintain someone's illusions than to destroy them.

And I understand why you hate hospitals, with your experience of them.



Jack xx said...

Thanks guys, i appreciate it :) i know how frail and weak some people get in old age, which isnt always the case, but largely is. Age is one of the only things you cant outrun. But i'm not affraid of old age or death, usually i embrace it a bit too much haha, but i'm not scared of it. really its just hospitals themselves that i dont like. And i know they help heal the sick and wounded, bu i cant help think about the pain and suffering that takes place there and the number of people who die there and such. i just dont find it comforting there :/

jaygeemmm said...

I don't like hospitals either, nothing good ever gets you there. And at least over here, they're not that great a place to get well. Your granddad is a super human to put a happy face on it all. My dad, who is 85 and is spending more time at doctors' offices and in hospitals hates them..."They don't let you sleep, there's nothing on TV, and I always get someone in the other bed who wants to gripe and complain" as he lay there griping and complaining!

Hopefully, like my dad, your granddad will come home again, and stay healthy longer than he's sick! But you not liking hospitals, I can understand that completely. I feel the same way!

Peace <3

Micky said...

Pete's dad has recently died - but not until he'd reached his 100th birthday. He had been a butcher for most of his life and obviously did very well on heaving those animal carcasses around and butchering them - and all on a diet rich in meat, of course.

When I was in the sixth form at school instead of doing time in the school CCF (Combined Cadet Force) I and most of my friends undertook 'Personal Service' on a Friday afternoon. My job was to visit half a dozen elderly people in their homes each week and in some of them the smell there was - simply from them and too much disinfectant usually, was a big, big problem.

A bit like your hospital smells and ambience.

I hope very much that it all turns out OK.

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