Wow, loads of people editing the holiday wiki – many thanks for all the ideas although if I were to take them all on it'd take me a year to see it all.

I've seen my future, well it'll be my future if I'm lucky and don't drop dead in my 50's.

It was a lovely day, one of the first sunny days we'd had all year and our patients were obviously riffing off the change in the weather, everyone was being really nice.

We were sent on a 'green' job, essentially a transport job with no blue lights or sirens. We were to pick up an elderly man from his flat and run him into hospital. No emergency, no stress, no worries.

One of his neighbours in the block held a key to his flat, so we opened the door and announced ourselves. The interior of the flat was grimy. Junk mail and bills spread on every flat surface. Underpants were hanging over the bath, and a few empty cans of beans spilled over the bin onto the floor. Sepia photographs lined the walls, men in army uniforms, women with babies in arm looking stern.

The reason for the flat being in this state was because of the patient's heart failure, it had caused the lower half of his body to swell up with retained water. He couldn't move around the flat, he was pretty much stuck in his chair, watching the horse-racing on a tiny television.

We had a chat with him, he'd lived in the area all his life, seen his family grow up and move away. He'd seen the population of the area change from English people to Afro-Carribean people to Bangladeshi people, he didn't seem upset by this. He'd only moved house once, when they knocked down where he'd been born and put up this block of flats in it's place.

The only person he saw was the woman who held his key, she hadn't been to visit for some time as she couldn't stand the state of the flat.

We talked about different subjects, from football to politics, the odd joke and the odd tale. We drove him to hospital – none of our medical skills were needed but it still felt like we had used our expertise to put him at ease.

He seemed sad to be wheeled into the A&E department. It was as we went to leave him that he turned to us and with moist eyes said, “Thank you for the company, it's a shame you can't stay with me”.

It upset me to leave him there, we had probably been the first human beings that he'd spoken to in quite some time. He'd been living out of that chair for some months. We were company to him for that short time and now he was probably going to become another meat parcel passing through the hospital system.

Hopefully the nurses on the ward will have the time to sit and chat with him, maybe they can refer him to the social services and they might try to place him in a residential home. I think that the company he'd have there would do him a lot of good.

8 thoughts on “Alone”

  1. Deep :(It is sad to think there are probably many more out there like him, I hope he gets to spend the rest of his life in good care and good company.

  2. It's those little moments that make me stay in my job as a nurse, I want to be able to find out about my patient's (if they want me too of course) and be able to become a part of their life for just a few moments because you never know how important a simple gesture can mean to someone.Tom, you and the rest of us like you are the suckers to the system – we have hearts and do our jobs because of what it means, not what it pays.

  3. I've seen my future, well it'll be my future if I'm lucky and don't drop dead in my 50's. “My first thought was an angry “why?” – my second thought was, this will be MOST of us, marriage isn't forever any more, it's only until the bad times hit. Thanks for utterly depressing me, and converting me to nihilism!

    At least when I die, all alone and knee deep in dogshit, someone might get a blog entry out of me. You bastard! :o)

  4. “Nihilism is the infantile disorder of the revolutionary.”The Revolution of Everyday Life

    Raoul Vanigem

    “Those who talk of Revolution without understanding the transformative power of Love are talking with a corpse in their mouth.”


    May 1968

    Two cheery thoughts from a Mobile Librarian who knows a bit about spending limited time with people on their own. It's not always about the books. Job well done Tom!

  5. Tom ,you have to come and meet Jean ! she is an example of what to do when you get old ! you have to be bold ! you never say no to any invitation out of any sort ! the night may be long but the day can be full ! I only hope I remember her lessons and have the energy she has too ! she is over 70 .

  6. If I ever get old, I hope the internet still exists and hasn't been ruined by people trying to control it, etc. Then I won't be lonely.To be honest though I don't expect to last until I'm 40, so it's by the by. 😉

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