I was talking at the staff induction today.
This was the dementia/delirium/end of life and falls-prevention training day that we provide our staff;
I was talking about frailty.
This is a modern concept which relates to the combination of advancing age in association with reduced resilience.
Resilience being that concept
Where a ball bounces or a rubber band stretches and returns to the original state
In other words…
During this, I mentioned an 85-year-old man I met yesterday;
I’ll call him Graham, although that isn’t his name.
Graham is a former flight lieutenant.
He used to command Vulcan bombers;
Now, he is old and isolated and struggles to walk.
What is the thing that we all know about pilots?
You can’t be one unless you have perfect vision.
(aka, eat your carrots!)
I don’t know if this folk tale is true or not;
I remember when growing-up, tales about my brother Lloyd, who never read at night to protect his eyes, as he wanted to be a pilot.
In the end, he became a doctor like me.
A different profession,
With less obsession with eyesight.
Even though today, in his 50’s he still doesn’t wear specs.
But, Graham, what was he up to?
As he sat
and I crouched down beside him,
Listening to his story &
Observing the flickering of his eyes.
What could this be? Which neurological phenomenon could account for the shimmer? In medicine, we sometimes call this nystagmus, perhaps a combination between the nictitating of Rilke and the iridescence of butterfly’s wings.
Despite his 85 or 6 years, was wearing contacts.
His 9 decades of life
Still affording him the dexterity to manipulate tiny slivers of plastic;
Wash them in solution and clear his eyes as he goes about his life.
An, old guy with contacts.
Lots of stories to tell.