Being in St. George’s for the past few days has certainly been interesting, and one thing I’m quickly learning is that I need to enjoy my youth while it lasts. Of the six of us ladies in this bay, I am the youngest by at least 35 years, probably 40 (I am 28, by the way). This vast age difference has made me realise that old age isn’t necessarily something to look forward to. Sure, you get to retire and do whatever you want, provided your pension is adequately funded for it, but there are also several downsides to growing old.
1. Old people are sick more frequently than young people. This has been proven by the ratio of old-to-young people I have seen in hospital in the past two months. Even when I was in Kingston, I only saw a handful of people under 40 as patients on the ward. I’m sick enough as a 20-something, I’m not looking forward to being sick more frequently in old age. I guess the advantage I have is that old age is still a long way in my future, so maybe there will be some incredible medical advances when time comes.
2. Old people are either lazy or unable to do much for themselves. Sure, it sounds nice to have someone else do a lot of stuff for you, things like cook your meals or clean your house, but I dunno if I could handle having someone wheel me to the toilet or change my adult nappy (diaper).
3. Some old people are just plan crazy. The lady in the bed next to me likes to stay up at night saying, “hello? Hello? Hello?” (she’s even doing it as I type this post, and actually woke me out of a sound sleep last night). Then if you make the mistake of needing the toilet when she’s doing this, you get stuck trying to explain why you don’t want to chat and that it’s bedtime. Eventually I gave up and called a nurse for her.
Another lady here also seems a bit crazy, but the more I overhear, the more I think her situation is just overwhelming for her. She’s Sri Lankan and was apparently brought to the UK for medical treatment. I don’t think she knows her next of kin here all that well, and is coping a little poorly with the situation. She seems nice enough though; I even had a 5 minute chat with her earlier about some of the craft stuff I was working on (which is the most English she’s spoken at one time since I’ve been here).
I’d also say the French lady across from me is a bit crazy because she likes to snack at random hours of the night, but she is kind of entertaining. My knowledge of French is very limited, but I can pick up on a few things when she tries speaking to me, and she seems to have a good sense of humour.
Either some of the perceptions I had of old age were wrong, or being in hospital has scarred my image of old-age. I imagined that when I got older and retired, I spend my time travelling the world, spending time with family and engaging in more of my hobbies like baking and knitting, not lying in a hospital bed waiting for someone to change my nappy.