|Old Couple, Togan Gokbakar|
If your heart stops, do you want to be resuscitated?
The words in the space where my mouth should be
are sewn in with fragile thread, denial embroiders truth,
words unsaid are silent; I shall not talk of it.
If I had known it would be like this,
I would not have gathered history in my bones,
content perhaps to say No! at first onslaught on my breath
as life-congested lungs binding death to concave chest
breathed life again.
Do you want CPR if your heart should stop?
(I would not talk of it).
They chant the mantra of abstinence,
abstinence equals good health or all in moderation
as if longevity will somehow become the nation’s wealth.
Value spent, I am old now, three score years and ten,
wit keen, mind still sharp, I hide behind skin leathered,
cracked by toil and sun, back bent crooked, laid heavy
with the burden of my years.
He must be deaf.
I gathered darkness in my days, sucked down beneath the depths
as each breath issued exquisite pain, brain wracked with black,
black dog dogged; death now circling overhead, spirit broken,
he drones inside my head
If your heart stops,
do you want to be resuscitated?
Care cradle to grave avowed, who will save me now
as I drown ‘neath fluid filling well-ripened lungs;
to old to hold significance, a burden on the state, expendable.
He must be deaf!
Lips unsewn, weary of it all, angry irritated,
just to annoy the callous bastard
I whisper Yes.
The Health Police would have us abstain from doing anything remotely enjoyable to enable us to bounce high with rude health and live forever and ever and ever. It is now deemed okay to stigmatise and dehumanise smokers and the obese –who’s next I wonder - and how much we enjoy this government sponsored lark of well-deserved ridicule and openness of contempt of those whose habits offend our own self-righteousness. We must be healthy at all costs. We must fit the new mould.
Problem is that if we eat sensibly, drink not at all – or at least in moderation - and don’t smoke – we will not become a disease free society, disease will be with us forever.
True, we might live longer – but hey, don’t we have a problem coping with an aging population now? They are considered a burden, right? What are we going to do with all those extra old folk of who many will succumb to disease of the body, and damn it the older they get will become diseased of the mind too?
The state is already creaking under the burden of these pensionable folk and to fill the dwindling pot of gold, some of us will be required to work until the tender age of sixty-eight. Yet, as general hospitals are too creaking under the strain of a large elderly patient population, two thirds of beds being filled by the over sixty-fives and three fifths of these suffering from a mental disorder (80% depression, dementia & delirium) – efforts are being made to ‘treat’ these would-be inpatients in the community…so you will work until sixty-eight – but not be welcome in hospital if over sixty-five...especially if you have a mental disorder…
A ?large proportion of these over sixty-fives are regarded as ‘bed-blockers’ as it is not felt safe that they should return home from whence they came – so provision has to be made for social care – which is a lengthy process as social services have a tight budget too. What I don’t get is that if it is not felt safe that they return home – how would they be safe if treated nursed (at home) in the community instead – or am I missing something?
So there is much packaging of the pleasures of death with all wonderful agencies sprouting up here there and everywhere to help the elderly on their way…
Mental (ill)health is much stigmatised and so increasingly are the elderly. Old with mental health problems, hospitalised – what a bummer. Your ‘care’ will leave much to be desired…
You only have one life - enjoy it to the full.