old age and losing the mind

21 Jul

london sunday 2.36pm 23C cloudy 2019

this morning i checked my mobile and saw i had a message from a friend last night, asking me to call him . he texted me at about 5pm last night. but i have the phone switched off and only got the message this morning when i switched it on to see if i got any messages. its unusual to get this message, so i called him and got a very bad reception. i could not hear him well, but managed to get that he is in hospital, in chelsea and westminster hospital, having suffered a mental breakdown and committed himself to the hospital and had  been hospitalised. this was 5days ago and he said they are keeping him in, even though he wanted to leave.

anyway, i cannot understand him over the phone, for some reason he was mumbling and i could not hear him. so i said i will go to the hospital and see him. when i got there, i found a sign at the entrance to the ward, saying visiting hours are between 2pm-8pm. well that surprised me because i had the impression i can visit him now. it was about 10 am.  i called him on his mobile, but no one answered.

then a nurse came by and used his card to enter the ward, and i asked him if i can enter as my friend had asked me to visit him. so he allowed me to go in and talk to reception… and she seemed to know that he is expecting a visitor. so we went to the visitors room, and a nurse made us tea and brought it to the room.

i have to admit i did not recognise my friend, if the nurse had not pointed him out to me, i would have missed him.  haha. it has been a long time since i last saw him. and i noticed why i could not understand him. he was mumbling and not pronouncing the words properly…i think he had gotten worst, because in the past he used to talk more clearly… no wonder they wont let him go home, as he has no one there to look after him. at one time, he forgot where his hospital bed was.so i told him to take this time in hospital as a rest , here he is looked after with his meals prepared and he can let his mind not worry about day to day living outside. 

i have a feeling that the hospital is finding him a dilemma, because they cannot let him go home, and at the same time, cannot get social services to provide him with some kind of care. so he ends up blocking a hospital bed. i wonder if that is the fate of us old gay men, if we live long enough to be senile. 

when i got back,( after i went on to the library and read the papers  after my visit to him), simon who was recently told his brother had terminal cancer, (it was a shock to him, as he did not know. they must have not told him about it, as there is nothing he can do, and it will only be a worry to him)  told me his brother had died. i was thinking, it is for the best. its sad to know someone you know died, but i think better to die quick than to linger on for ages, esp with cancer.

and after my visit to my old friend, i am thinking death may be a better outcome than losing your mind, whilst the body is still vigorously alive.

he was telling me he tried to contact another friend of ours, ian, but unable to get hold of him. and i was thinking ian have his own worries, about his old parents, his dad in a nursing home because he is in senile dementia, he is in his 90s, and his mum recently admitted to hospital because she had a panic and anxiety attack and could not cope. both are old and need looking after. it seems if the doctors say they need to be hospitalised or social services decided that a person need to be sent to a home, the family dont have to pay for it. sigh, the perrenial problems of looking after parents or friends that have gone old and losing their minds.

this is a sad post, full of sad news. but it is the kind of news that will fill our days to come in the future, i fear…as friends grow old and die off, or suffer long terminal illnesses, or dementia. or even we ourselves suffer those things. 

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