Friday, 22 December 2017

Please Stop The Fucking Cavalry

One of the things I dislike most about Christmas is hearing Stop The Cavalry by Jona Lewie. America doesn't have this particular scourge but the UK is full of it. Every shopping centre, every motorway services - I even switched on the car radio and there it was in all its joyous jollity.

We've come over to England to spend Christmas with my mother. But she's in the hospital again - another fall. I seem to have spent most of my time since I got here talking to care agencies, social workers, nurses and physiotherapists, using my best efforts to get her out in time for Christmas.

'I'm coming home with you.'
'Er...no, I'm afraid you have to stay here for the moment but we're working on getting you out as soon as possible.'
'Why can't I come home now?'
Lies, half truths, this feeling that we've somehow let her down as she accepts the situation yet again.
'Where will I sleep?'
She looks anxiously around. Her face lightens up -
'There's a bed here,' she says, indicating her own bed. 'I could sleep here.'

The physiotherapist looks busy, doesn't make eye contact, ducks out of the ward in a flurry of goodbyes - have a great holiday! She won't be back until after Christmas. Without her consent my mother's home care won't be reinstated so she's going nowhere. She's spending Christmas in the hospital and I've got to try and explain it to her.

Even though life reaches its inevitable conclusion nothing prepares us for old age, deterioration and death. Some of us spend our lives sneering at it, not putting anything away for retirement, as though treating it with disdain might somehow stave it off. I'm one of those people, and even now I'm trying to shut out a whisper somewhere in the back of my mind: You're Next...

Getting old is a frustrating and infuriating business. You go through life gathering experience and wisdom until you reach an age when you no longer have the energy to put any of it to use. It leaves you in rages of impotent fury at the the idiocies of the younger and more vital - the ones in charge, ignorant, semi-capable at best, but driven.

It would be far better to start out with all that wisdom and experience and gradually lose it. Old age, middle-age even, would be far more bearable - just give me a Gameboy, a bowl of Cheerio's and I'll be, like... yeah - whatever...

Oh for the Gift Of Stupidity! I could be so happy plodding along, cluttering up some shopping centre, inanely singing along to the brass band on Stop The Cavalry, celebrating Christmas because that's what you do, eating my way to diabetes and an early death. 

As it is some nights I'm practically howling at the moon.

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