It’s kinda funny (fragment b)

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.



It transpired,

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.

Royal International Air Tattoo 2015

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