A Description Of An Old Man

I’m writing this in a crisp, white hospital bed. I’m getting old.

So many things are getting worse: my joints are creaking, shrieking with pain; my hair is getting greyer everyday; my memory is going now but I still know what I want.Lying in a ward for elderly patients, I don’t want to be here. My daughter forced me, my Doctor forced me.

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Why can’t they mind their own business and let me die peacefully in my own home? It’s what I want. The first line of my Will reads,”After dying peacefully at home, I leave…” That will never come true now. I’m too weak and feeble to go home. All this has been made worse by the medication they are pouring into my veins.

I hallucinate, I forget things but I still remember every vivid detail of how I got into this state-into this ward.Huddling by the scarce warmth of the gas fire in the hospital waiting room I knew what was coming next. The Doctor would emerge from the room next door and tell me I was dying. I didn’t need to be told. I have known for months now that I am fading away. It was just the way I wanted it to be; to die peacefully at home, no-one need ever know that I was suffering. That dream, that one last wish flew out of the window when my rude, disrespectful daughter drove me to the hospital in the next town.

I didn’t want to go. In fact I didn’t know I was going.’Let’s go for a drive, Dad.’ wow! That sounded lovely; ‘perhaps’ I thought ‘she loves me after all’. No such luck, I should have guessed.

I thought I was going for a nice peaceful drive in the countryside, something to take my mind of my aches and pains. My happiness, however, dissolved as we entered the hospital car-park. She forced my shuffling, old body into the hospital on a wobbly walking stick. She introduced me as only my daughter would,”My old, ill father would like to see a Doctor.” When had she ever asked for my opinion? She didn’t even stay with me.

I was stuck then, no money for a taxi and no hope of being collected even if I did phone.I sat in the cold waiting room, shivering by the open window. A nurse came to shut it and said,”I’m afraid you’ll have to wait sir.

We’re running a few minutes late.” A few minutes! A few hours more like! It was just as cold sitting to the closed window as it was by the open one. The gaps between the glass and the rotting wooden frames were so big that great gusts of wind came in and chilled me right to my bones.

I’m surprised I didn’t leave this world that very afternoon. I don’t know why they were so slow; there was no-one else in the waiting room.At ten minutes to two o’clock, four hours after my darling daughter had departed, I was finally sent in to see the Doctor. Twenty minutes of intense questioning proceeded x-rays, scans and blood tests. I’m sure he only sent me for the tests because of the huge bags under my eyes, or perhaps my face was too lined and creased for his liking. I refused to tell him the truth. I repeated stolidly that I was fine and could I please go home.

They ignored me and insisted on me being sent for tests. They eventually bundled me into a taxi for home.”The letter confirming your next appointment will be sent to you as soon as we receive your test results.” That was all that was said to me as I was hustled out of the hospital and into the taxi. My daughter didn’t step foot on my doorstep again until the day of my next appointment. Three whole months later was when she finally reappeared in my life. It just shows that she really didn’t want a poor, wrinkly, elderly father on her hands. She wanted me shoved in a nursing home or stuck on a hospital ward.

Well, that’s just what she got.Here I am, stuck on a ward with a load of old people with cancer, pneumonia and all the other heart-wrenching illnesses. My eyes, sunken into my masked face, fill with tears as I realise I have no other choice.Well, I suppose I am in the right place. I always forget how old I am, 89 years old, I don’t think that is a bad age so why do they want to keep me alive?Alright, forget what I said earlier, I’m a bit wrinkly and I don’t have much hair left but up to the last year I have always been very active. That makes me forget that I’m getting on a bit.

People don’t last forever. I feel defeated, lonely and upset to know that I will spend the remainder of my life in this hospital. I have no visitors. My daughter doesn’t love me and I have no other relatives. My friends are all in care homes or too ill to leave their homes to come and visit me. How I envy them, I wish I could be at home.

The last few weeks of my life are going to be solitary but I am not afraid of what is facing me. However confused I may appear, I am excited about the next world. If only they would let me feel this way at home.Whenever I think about what it must be like to die, it saddens me to know that I could be next. Those sad thoughts however turn to happier ones as I remember that after you die you go to a better place, place with no evil; a quiet, loving place to rest in until the end of the world. Why don’t they let me go home and get to this happy place when God calls for me? I don’t want to go when they turn my life-support machine off.

That’s if I get that far.