In A Hospital Near You

The sun burns down on them. Him and Geoff as they squat in the desert. Could he use a drink, and he doesn’t mean water ? But the enemy are visibly before them  and he has other things to do. Now in the garden shed, he goes to fetch his spade, then feels a stinging pinching  sensation in his upper arm. He opens his eyes, startled into the present and sees a nurse standing over him.

“I said get out of bed. We need to change the sheets”. The eyes are dismissive,  somewhere between boredom and cruelty. The nurse would clearly like to be elsewhere. He’s not alone in that  but, for him now the patient in bed, that’s not possible at the moment: ever.

Nearly ninety- two, and who’d had thought it, he’s seen better days. His water works are faulty and his heart would like a nap. but ” no peace for the wicked”. He says that every day, or used to as he talked to his wife Gladys, when off to tend his plants. She’s already gone through death, and soon he’ll have to join her.

It’s early in the morning and the shifts are changing. Each shift must leave the ward neat for the next: patients not withstanding. Standards are in everything but care, it has been said.  The heart must play the music not the head. And so he starts to talk, to this young man who’d like live another life than his.

” All I’ve done means nothing in your life. We get bored of being caring, reaching out. Grabbing is much easier on the mind. Your urgencies brush past your feelings. Time enough for them in later life. When young I thought like you.

For me  there are no pressures. Only questions, normally unanswered. Did the cock crow three times in my life ? Do they remember you, those people at the bus stop ? It is the essence which retains you. Events somehow seem to lose their charm

Each age  looks different as you leave it. Conversations continue but not with you. Plans are made but you are not included. Thought of, possibly, but not included. The sun will rise and eyes will focus on the day ahead. But not your eyes. Soon they will become a memory in someone else’s  life. When I was young I thought like you.”

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, Health, Life, life2, old age, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to In A Hospital Near You

  1. catterel says:

    “Your urgencies brush past your feelings” – so well put. And so sad but true. Have you ever come across the poem “Crabbit Old Woman”? My Dad got the nurses to put it up on the notice board in the staff room at the hospital where he was cared for back in the ’90s.


  2. cyberian says:

    Well put. Time for that terminal injection?


  3. Kirri White says:

    I feel heavy after reading this Peter…melancholy. Your writing makes me feel. Deeply x


  4. Ina says:

    This is what almost dying must be all about, and you put it so well, the insight we get when we have lived it all. And the questions that will go with us. Beautiful.


  5. You raise the issue so poignantly, Peter: older people are still people, yet those in younger generations see them only as old, not people. We need to stop separating the old from the young and to stop seeing age before the humanity that animates us all.


  6. Barbara says:

    I can see my father-in-law in this piece Peter. I would rather go out in a blaze of glory (or by some magic pill) than shrivel up and become insignificant. How about you?


  7. Deana says:

    Very nice Peter.


  8. Purely.. Kay says:

    I agree with another commenter, old people are still people. They have amazing wisdom and they’ve een more then we have. I love talking to old people, I lkearn so much. Nice read my friend


  9. Al says:

    You often hear of those racked with age and infirmity say “I’m tired and ready to go.” Both my mother and her mother said that to me before their passing. Not to be flippant about death, but there must be a certain serenity and warmth that accompanies the end of a life well lived. I’d go so far as to say it may be the highest moment of living. If I’m lucky, I’ll get the answer to that postulation some day.


  10. gotham girl says:

    Tears are rolling…


  11. Beautiful! Very touching and true fact! God bless you! Love your post!:)


  12. Shonnie says:

    Deep and beautiful.


  13. Very melancholic.Does this melancholia emanate from your thoughts in the moment? What could you do to shift away ?



  14. nelle says:

    Living life does change our perspectives and interests… in some things we are more observer than participant, but there’s some wisdom to tap.


  15. Lafemmeroar says:

    This made me think that age really is just a number. I truly believe that our hearts still yearn what we yearn for in adolescence. Oh, not the superficial tuggings of hormones or the desire for material things … but that unarticulated yearning to be understood, to be seen, to connect. Young people have these within them, ironically society ignores the young as they do the old. It’s sad really, but there you go the “process of dying” can be a celebration or a tragedy. I want to celebrate my process … but the party has many obstacles … mainly my own superficial tuggings that I’d like to sever.


  16. renxkyoko says:

    This is a sad post… well, It made me sad.


  17. ***. The sun will rise and eyes will focus on the day ahead. But not your eyes.***

    As usual, profound & thought-provoking, Peter.

    As for me, I will be ready for my eyes to focus on something else when that time comes. I will be ready to be with my sister, Kay.

    Love Love Love. Kiss Kiss Kiss. Xx Have a good weekend!


  18. winsomebella says:

    “Each age looks different as you leave it.” Wise words 🙂


  19. I like the way this starts and then forces us to do a double take. This is a sad one.


  20. Writerlious says:

    Rip my heart out!


  21. This brought back memories of my mum and dad.

    Superbly written as always and ever so moving and thought provoking.



  22. Beth says:

    You’re only as old as you act and feel… but I hope for your sake that your girls enjoy your company and significance well into your 90s. And perhaps you’ll be like my Jim and Marilyn, who in their 80s, became adopted by myself and my parents as pseudo grandparents and parents, respectively. They are a wealth of wisdom and humor and I find I can’t imagine life without them. If more people would just take the time to talk to someone who is in the twilight of their life, they might find someone precious who is worth treasuring.


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