When I was a boy I never thought about what it would be like to get older. In your youth you think that you’re invincible. Even when I did begin to age, I was a bit like Peter Pan; the boy who never grew up. My name is Harold; I’m 89 and this year I’ve spent the past three months in hospital. I’d have to say it is a little hard being my age sometimes. I can’t read anymore because I’m blind. I used to love reading, it passed my days and got me out of bed each morning. Hospital has been a real eye opener for me; I’ve really come to understand that I took a lot for granted. Hell, they don’t serve Big Macs here no matter how hard I try; I’ve even tried to bribe the nurses.
Before I went to hospital, I had my routine and I had the world around me. That’s what I miss the most, the world just going on around me. One day my granddaughter suggested I have someone from a home care company come and read to me. Before my three months in hospital I’d probably have told her to buzz off. But at that point, I was willing to give it a go. Just between us, I’ll tell you, it made me excited at the thought of hearing the words from those books again. I haven’t read in two years. Suddenly, I had a little bit of hope and when I talked to my daughter about it, she had relief. I could see that she wasn’t feeling guilty like she was letting me down by not having the time to read to me. She’s a good kid, does everything she can to make sure I don’t miss out on anything.
So a week went by and my first visit came around. In walked this lovely young lady called Amy. She sat with me and talked, even ate the chocolates I’ve been trying to give the nurses. They all keep saying they’re on a diet while I just want to have a chocolate with someone. Amy’s not shy, she tells me her stories and even reads to me. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to hear my favourite James Patterson book again. It was so nice to have someone to talk to, a bit of companionship. Amy made me feel human again, someone aside from the nurses and my family who wanted to spend time with me.
I didn’t think at 89 I’d really learn anything new, but Amy has showed me how to use the new software update on my computer. At my age, my friends and I talk over the telephone or email and I couldn’t read any of my darn emails. I used to feel for the phone and dial numbers; sometimes I’d get it right, sometimes I wouldn’t. Every visit, Amy dials my friend James before she leaves so I don’t call the wrong person.
There’s a new Aldi down the road from my house and I hadn’t seen it until Amy came along. She drove me down and showed me the store; it’s pretty flash. She drives me around a bit and takes me to the IGA to get a strawberry milk. I’m happy I don’t have to hire a driver. It’s wonderful to feel normal again, like a part of the community. Amy’s made the biggest difference in my life. The thing that gets me out of bed in the morning can’t be reading anymore, but it is being read to by Amy.
By Harold Keith
Harold is an enthusiast for life who may be 89 but still acts as young as he feels. Recently he has discovered the benefits of accessing Help to keep him active and part of the community. His zest for life and passion for a spot of McDonalds will keep him ever-young in everyone’s eyes.