When I studied health and social care in sixth form, I remember being told that often, as people become elderly, they regress into a second childhood. Having never worked with the elderly, I’d never properly experienced this. Until now. My grandad is in his late 80’s and has been steadily deteriorating over the last 6 months. Earlier this week he was admitted to a secure psychiatric ward as he became uncontrollable on the normal ward. He’s been shouting at the nurses, ripping out his IV access and screaming for 6 hours at a time. Sounds like one of my 4 year old patients, I thought, as I read the latest email update from Mum.
It’s just really sad. He was in the army during the 2nd world war (in communications rather than fighting), he’s brought up two children, he’s enjoyed over 60 years of marriage and now has four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He’s had an amazing life. And it’s just sad that it’s ending like this. I almost wish that he would just die, so that he didn’t have to go through all the pain and anxiety that must be causing him to scream hour after hour. But then I feel like the worst grand daughter in the world.
So yesterday evening it finally felt like my birthday. 🙂 Many of my friends from here and a couple from uni, came to have a BBQ at our house. Anna’s present to me was that lovely hand painted banner, you see above, which I’ll be able to use every year now!
For complicated reasons, we were storing an event shelter in our flat, so we decided to make the most of this and put it up in the garden. We then put old rugs and a blanket out on the ground, with our coffee table and cushions on top. Our hammock was also under the shelter, so people enjoyed sitting there, as well as on a few chairs. With the fairy lights, outdoor lanteens and one other lamp when it got dark, it made for a cosy evening. Everybody said they really enjoyed themselves and I know I certainly did!
If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower or inscribe a stone
Nor when I’m gone speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves that I have known
Weep if you must
But life goes on
So sing as well.
Words from the front of the service sheet.
To say today has been surreal is an understatement. Wake up, open birthday presents, get ready for memorial service, drive to service, cry almost continually for an hour or two, chat to everyone in a somber fashion, drive back, eat ice cream under a shelter whilst it absolutely throws it down and then walk home getting drenched. It doesn’t feel like my birthday. I didn’t mention it at the service for obvious reasons and only a few people knew, so it was only slightly noted. I know he would have wanted me to enjoy my birthday, but that can wait till the weekend.
The service was lovely with tributes from his step dad, brother and a consultant he worked alongside. Everyone had their own individual story of how he’d helped them or made them laugh. The church was packed full with hundreds of people, many of which had to stand at the back. And there were photos of him, throughout his life, around the church.