Sustainable future by remaining upright.

imagesautumn
The man in the park looked wishfully at his surroundings. It had just rained and the trees were not only shedding the last of the leaves but also heavy drops of water. The creek was running fast, yet the ducks had no trouble paddling upstream. No doubt the first of the eggs had been laid. The drakes were on guard, and only the reeds knew where they were hidden.

I recognized the man and his grey little dog. Both are regular walkers. He might know me too but I am unsure. Perhaps he remembers a few years ago when he had slipped in the wet grass, and was struggling to get upright again? There isn’t a lot of dignity in having reached a stage in getting older, when being upright is starting to fail. Perhaps that’s why he might prefer to remain anonymous to his sole witness. The ageing gracefully extracts a price when prostrate on wet grass with curious ducks looking on.

As I said earlier, I had noticed him before on my own walks. He walked with some difficulty. He took little steps. He once stopped and told me he walks each day. ‘I still walk for miles,’ he added proudly. People on the whole still get around, but mainly by cars. Walking is now seems the sole privilege of the old. The young drive or are being driven.

I noticed him lying on the wet sloping grass. He must have slipped and had let go of his walking stick and dog. He had trouble getting up. I asked if I could help. He did not say anything but I got him upright anyway and handed him his walking stick, and his dog with a lead. The whole procedure was then keenly watched by some ducks, and Milo our own dog. The ducks are fed regularly by other walkers, mainly mothers and young kids. The ducks must have thought it was taking some time for the old man to give them the food.

I haven’t reached the age yet of unable to get up from the prone position. But, it is strange how of late I do study old people and their ways of getting about. I keenly observe their gait. Are they using aids? Do their partners nudge them onwards, prop them up a bit, are they a bit wobbly? Do they look vague? Shops are more and more selling equipment for the elderly.

Aldi is at the very cutting-edge of elderly care. They sell everything from mobility scooters, to hydraulic toilet-seat lifters, Chrome bathroom grip holders, tri-pod walking aids, incontinence pads for the bladder-intestinal-harried sufferer. People are not shy. I noticed an elderly gentleman throwing his packet of incontinence pads, with cheerful abandonment, on the conveyer belt. I am as yet not that brave nor incontinent. But, it will happen,… eventually.

On my last medical visit, I was given a thorough check-out. I did not ask for it. It is now a Government initiative to get the old on-board. ‘You don’t suffer Alzheimer at all,’ the old doctor informed me. This was based on my ability to follow an order and fold a sheet of paper in half and put it on the floor in front of my feet. I also remembered three words; ‘chair, sea, and dog,’ after a delay of more than 3 minutes.

Amazing!

Tags: , , , ,

23 Responses to “Sustainable future by remaining upright.”

  1. lifecameos Says:

    Yep, I could follow those instructions – for now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I could also take the number 7 from 90 and keep taking this number downwards without any mistakes. Nurse looked so surprised that I felt her skills in the mathematical department might not have been all that crash-hot.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. shoreacres Says:

    Your story about the old man evoked amusement and sympathy. My right foot had a little encounter with an unseen sprinkler head in an irrigation system about a month ago, and I landed face down on a brick sidewalk. The damage was real, but I managed to avoid breaking my jaw or my wrist. The way I look at it, I just had my bone scan, and passed.

    My mother was given to falling on a regular basis. We managed to put an end to about 90% of it once we got her away from a doctor who’d been happily prescribing one drug after another, without considering how they might be interacting with one another. Interesting that, when I inquired after him after my mom’s burial, one of her neighbors said, “Oh, him. He’s in prison, for drug peddling.” You just never know.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Glad to hear your bone scan came back nothing fractured. I hope that buckets or something were placed above the sprinklers to prevent more accidents. Even so, accidents sometimes do happen.

      My mother in her old age after her return to live in Holland, had fallen between a train and the platform. She had the presence of mind to wave her walking stick above the platform which was noticed by a passenger who alerted the train not to take off. She was hoisted up and had no damage. An amazing accidents and rescue. She lived a week away from turning 96.

      She was amazing altogether. Can you imagine leaving home and hearth with six children and start a life on the other side of the world?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Interesting read and so true about the elderly falling. It’s a shock to the body when you fall. I have fallen twice this year and each time it was my own damn fault for not looking down. I fell on the steps of my bank as I was trying to read a text from my daughter who was inquiring about her brother’s condition when he was in ICU. There was not a sole in sight and I had to hoist myself to a crawling position where I could then sit and then stand upright. The other fall occurred when I went outdoors to “hose out” the bird bath and as I was walking with the hose my foot caught on a partially buried piece of iron. The ground was soft from a rain that morning otherwise I probably would have been hurt.

    Bottom line is that the “old” person needs to be very careful and sometimes that is hard to do if you are active and in a hurry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Ivonne,

      Yes, we are told to ‘take it easy’ slow down and be careful. Of late I notice young children, where taking straight steps seems impossible for them. They hop and skip, do turn arounds, jig about, but never a straight step. It is sheer joy to watch, such enthusiasm to taste life. Everything is still a discovery.

      I try and maintain a bit of that same fervour but it does get harder. I have been told that I have developed a bad stoop. This is of course somewhat handy as it makes my sight concentrate downwards to the ground. It might aid me to see obstacles. Yesterday, I even found a twenty cent piece.

      Liked by 1 person

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Have you had a bone density test? Do you take calcium? It is not good for you back to be bending forward. Please have a doc check it out and see if physical therapy might improve your posture.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Thank you Ivonne,

        Since it was pointed out, I do try and straighten up. However, my mum used to stoop as she got older, resembling a sprightly sparrow towards her latter years.

        I do fancy slices of Edam cheese and eat cage-free eggs, my calcium should be OK. I drink milk ( straight from the container) first thing in the morning.

        Last time I saw the doc. I had to get undressed and got poked about from behind. I hardly saw the doc. I then was steered towards a terrible ‘culture test,’ which was nothing cultural at all. It involved a scoop and containers. I will spare you the details. Not that I expected anything like Wagner’s Ring cycle or the dance of the Valkyries….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. stuartbramhall Says:

    I don’t have Alzheimer’s yet, either. But fortunately I have a “dementia friendly” bank for when I do. It’s an Australian bank of course (Westpac) but all but 2 of our banks are Australian: http://www.westpac.co.nz/rednews/community/new-zealands-first-dementia-friendly-bank/

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Well, I’ll be darned, a dementia friendly bank. Oddly enough, I had a call from the NAB who want to help me achieve riches by investing our savings which is getting 2% interest.

      Like

  5. timkeen40 Says:

    I did not understand the aches and the pains of my grandfathers and grandmothers when I was young. As I get older, hurting takes on a whole new meaning.

    The doctors all have strange ways of pronouncing us healthy or not and either diagnosis seems to cost the same.

    Thanks,
    Tim

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Welcome, Tim. Yes, we are getting a lot of attention. It seems the age of the old has arrived. By and large, I try and stay clear of medications and doctors. Of course my dear wife tries and install healthy eating habits. It can’t be easy living with one of those creative types. One who doesn’t seem to know, metaphorically speaking, if he is a painter or a writer. His magnum opus of ‘Almost There’ is languishing at the moment.

      Like

  6. Julia Lund Says:

    My mother told me never to grow old gracefully. Kick, scream and fight all the way, was her advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Your mother must have known a thing or two about getting old. My mum never stood still and wasn’t the reflective type at all. Unfortunately, I have more of my dad’s gene, loves just pondering and going backwards. One step forward and two steps backwards, slowly coming to his beginnings.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Julia Lund Says:

        Neither of my parents saw old age by today’s standards (48 & 68), but both packed a lot in to what life they had. Perhaps because of that, I see each birthday as a privilege. Of course, health issues can make life very difficult, but I hope that I will find things to take joy in, everyday. Mostly, I don’t find that difficult.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, my parents packed in a lot as well but going across the world to make a new life, with six kids took its toll. Not that my mother ever stood still or reflected on that.
        The Australian diaspora has reached over 10% of the population. Many no live in Holland. Can you believe it?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Big M Says:

    Yes, Gerard I pray that you will continue to stay erect!

    I saw a fellow at Woolies tossing bags of incontinence undies into his trolley with gay abandon. I hope it’s not me in the near, or distant future. I guess old age has nothing to recommend it. A dear friend of ours has managed to avoid it by dropping dead at 61. As my friend GO, always says, none of us get out of this life alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      So do I, Big M. The erectness is not as rampant as it was. It is so much better though. I am grateful for the little and small things now. So much ado about nothing really.
      We had a dreadful storm as would you at your place. Who would have thought ending up, placing sandbags near the front door?
      Have been busy mopping up and clearing the gutters. Three hundred twenty millimetres of rain!

      Like

      • Big M Says:

        The storm was forecast for Newcastle to be of the ‘Pasha Bulka’ variety, but wasn’t so bad. I think the Northern Beaches of Sydney, and much of Tasmania suffered. Sorry to hear that you reached the sandbag level. I hope your beautiful house is OK? We’ve gone from the warmest spring in history, to the depths of winter.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Been busy buttressing our townhouse. I might write a piece on the storm and tempest in the Bowral region. Even the ducks were nervous.
        It has been cold as well and he was seen to wear socks in bed and a beanie to keep his head warm.

        Like

  8. rodhart (@roderick_hart) Says:

    This is excellent. I am beginning to notice problems like this in a certain person sitting to my left as I type.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. tedgiffin Says:

    I STILL walk with my dog, proudly stated.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: