We are born and we die, two sure things in life, when the later happens we have no idea. For some it comes all too soon and for others it drags on while there is a fight with failing health and faculties. For those who have lead an active life this is a tough experience, dare I say a learning curve. There is no text book that tells us how we cope with old age or failing health, we just have to battle on as best we can. Dignity has to be preserved and from what is written in the newspapers this seems pretty low on some peoples list, until it comes to them (maybe!).
Although not a nurse but many other things so far in this short life, through no fault of my own I have been destined over the last few years to care for others in declining health. All along I have thought this puts me in a good position to look after my own when the time comes. Well the time has come and I can assure you it is easier looking after someone else’s family than it is your own.
We can imagine what it is like to be frail and hanging on but this is the key word imagine. Its very easy to say I know how it must feel but you can’t unless you have experienced it. My heart goes out to families with children who are suffering from incurable problems this must be so hard. An old friend of mine used to work at Treloar’s looking after the children there, I always said to her I couldn’t do that, I don’t mind looking after people who have lead a good life even if shorter than it should have been, but children with no future, no.
I remember vividly when I first lost someone I knew. It wasn’t a family member and it wasn’t anyone I knew really well but it stays with me to this day. Back in my late teens I used to frequent a country club (night club really) where we danced to live bands, played bar billiards and drank too much. I remember the records were being played while the band was having a break and it was the Beatles ‘all you need is love’ and ‘Hey Jude’. There was a scuffle at the door and someone rushed in to say a young couple who were regulars had gone off the road at the end of the lane the car had gone into the ditch and as it was going so fast the low branches had sliced the roof off, it was obvious there were no survivors. Now if these records come on the radio I have to turn them off as it takes me back to that night and those vivid memories.
I wonder where my life’s journey will take me in the future and will I be treated with care and dignity when the time comes. Perhaps I shall never know.