Thursday, 13 November 2008

Stepping Hill 31 Oct 2008

J is a young-looking 90 year old, but her her legs don't work - 'Your car and my legs are the same, they're both worn out, darling' - she has that English charm, kindness in the form of good works - a life given to other people, perhaps as a makeweight for her own class-status - cups of tea and an empathy for all walks - 'Hospitals are great,' she says 'I get cross when people criticise who aren't in them. These girls work so hard' - indicates the nurses - 'getting me on my feet. When you get to my age independence is the only thing you've got left, yet you can't do what you want when you want to do it. For instance, I've just been able to get to the loo by myself for the first time in days. Very precious to me my independence' - she takes calculated risks at home, balancing the pain of falling with the necessity of movement, the pleasure of making a hot drink - 'Sometimes I go down. It's a hard floor in the kitchen and I get a black eye or something. So I try to fall on the lounge carpet, nice and soft...' - her bravery lifts me up and as I go to meet Lois by another bed I realise I'm smiling at strangers.

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