Tag Archives: old age

in my old age, the internet is a good companion

21 Jun

london 7.32am 15C sunday rain 2020

just a short drizzle as i looked out of the window, enough to wet the courtyard. added 10.20am, i read this again and realised it sounds like i have taken a piss out of the window. but of course, i was talking of the rain outside my window. 

Length of Day
16 h 38 m
Tomorrow will be 0 minutes 4 seconds shorter

so looks like today is the real longest day. but does it really affect our daily life? i dont think so. at least in my case, it does not. so why do we talk about it so much? perhaps only us in the northern latitudes where we notice it. but i bet you in the tropics no one notice it. as the day is the same length more or less throughout the year. 

most of the time i am indoors, either inside my flat , which is more the case nowadays ; or inside some commercial building, like a club or pub, in my more sociable younger days, so i wont notice this extra long daylight.

if i were a early worker, or a late worker, i might notice it. (or if i were a farmer) this year they are discouraging people who normally would go to stonehenge to welcome in the solstice. but even they are not really belonging to the old druid religion where these things are significant.

now my life in retirement, days can be like nights in that i sleep whenever i feel sleepy, so i might take a nap during the day, and make my days into nights, and wake when i wake. i dont even keep regular meal times, i eat when i eat. i dont know why the experts say you must keep to strict meal times… or do they still say so? i have not noticed it, but u never know, they do keep changing their advise.

life is much simpler now. for me anyway.

i have been looking in on the life webcams of some families , and this one living in italy, i think, have people commenting on how the kids are always online, always looking at their ipads, or playing games on the screen. and criticizing the parents for that. well, i guess it is expected that if u show people your life they will find something to scold you for. haha.  but what is wrong with spending all your time online? everyone seem to say it is bad for kids to do that… but i am online and spend a lot of time online. i find it great, i dont think it is bad at all… but i do leaven it by reading a lot , even when i am online, by reading books online, and also i go offline and read real books . so that might be the difference between me and the kids.

in that family, i dont see the kids ever reading a book , they only read when they are doing their home schooling. now that is very different from my childhood where i am always reading a book. there was no internet then, tv was the bugbear then. with kids spending a lot of time on it. but for kids in malaysia during my growing up years, the tv program was no vice, as we get such awful programs, no one really watch it. for all i know now, the tv in malaysia may well be just as bad. haha. but the kids got the internet now.

today’s google doodle allows you to make your own father’s day card. and below is my idle effort. 



4 Aug

london 10.10am 22C cloudy sunday 2019

its a quiet time nowadays at least in london anyway. august seem to be a month when nothing much happens in london. i suppose u could include the prudential bike ride this weekend, so today buses will be disrupted. but then road works can also disrupt buses so all this is rather par for the course, and is normal and not newsworthy.

the heathrow strike threatening to cancel 174flights is the biggest news so far. the dam which threatens to burst in whalley bridge is another, though that one dont look like it will happen soon, but who knows really.

overseas news the biggest one is the mass shooting of 20people in el paso, texas, and 9 in daytona ohio. this kind of news must make americans feel the chance is high that they will die from a mass shooting. i think what makes it really frightening is the random nature of the killings. 

then  i read that prince harry’s wife is 38yrs old . and i thought is she that old? so how old is harry then, so i googled it and he is 34yrs old. and prince william and his wife are 37yrs old. and i thought my goodness, how time flies when these people who i remember were young people horseing around,  are now like middle aged. where have the time gone.

i guess people with children must be reminded of the advancing years whenever they look at their children. now they are middle aged, it must make any parent feel they are old. it even makes us readers feel old to read about their age in the news. time marches relentlessly on ageing all of us. 

added, maybe it is better to have nothing happening than to have all that killing happened. but now we get instant news as it happens, and so we get to hear or read of it and cannot be blissfully ignorant of these bad things that happen on the other side of the world. 

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. 

it seems i got gout

14 Mar

london 7.38pm 11.2C dry thursday 2019

i thought i had a fractured left foot again, when it came up about 3days ago. there was no reason for it, and i read that it might be a stress fracture. today i decided to go tothe A&E in st thomas hospital, to let them check it out, and to ask them if it will affect the prostate biopsy that i will be getting in chelsea westminster hospital on 21march. i thought i will just get an antibiotic from them, and crutches and told to rest the foot… but they took one look at it and said it was gout. it surprised me so much. and later the urate was found to be high in my blood. so it looks like the other time when my right foot got swollen might have been gout instead of a fracture. that time there was also no history of trauma to the foot. 

added. 3.48am saturday 16.3.19. i got prescribed colchicine 500micrograms , 4x a day for 3days.  then he told me he is also going to give prednisolone, but i take it only after a day or two of the colchicine, with the pain getting no improvement. and pain killers paracetamol. i allready made up my mind that i wont be taking the prednisolone or painkillers, and i know i can tolerate the pain. i am glad i dont have to pay for these prescriptions. it cost £8.80 for each medicine. i wonder if i can return them but i know they dont like taking back medicines .

today saturday, (about 2days) it is working. swelling going down and not so painful . colchicine is given to reduce inflammation. he was telling me not to take ibubrufen, whcih used to be given for gout, but i should not take it it seems. even though it is a anti-inflamatory medicine. 

i did not think i eat that much red meat… though they say it includes chicken and pork in the cause of gout. and that i do eat. so it looks like i will need to reduce my intake of those , if not cut them out entirely. and eat lentils and peas instead. oh well, i will change my diet if it will help prevent any more episodes of gout. i wonder if it is old age that is giving me so many medical problems these days. for someone who have no medical problems at all before i retired, it shocks me that i am getting so many now. 


13 Nov

london 5.58pm 12.4C dry night tuesday 2018

one thing good about not working or having any responsibilities for another person, is that i can sleep as much and as often as i like. and i think healing takes place quicker too when i sleep. certainly my foot looks better today than yesterday. so that is a good sign that what i am doing is right.

my friend david who goes to the circuit training class has told me he fell on a visit to his brother(it is to celebrate the brother’s birthday) somewhere up north and is on antibiotics. between us two we are a right old bunch aren’t we? is that what getting old means? i hope not because it would be a horrible prospect to contemplate.

i wish david got email, but he seem to have leap frog that to a smartphone and so communicates only by text or calls. and it is difficult to write a lot on text. 

old age problems

16 Mar

london 6.12pm 11.4C dry cloudy friday 2018

its mild, warm today. strange really because tomorrow it will plunge to 0C. when the east winds brings in siberia cold to cover all of uk.

i have just been with ian, for our monthly chat meetup. we went to the ageuk tavis house cafe, where they are very welcoming, and coffee is only 50p. they are in fact very easy going about people bringing in their own food to eat there, even providing microwaves to warm the food up. and a sign says to bring your own cup if u want to takeaway a drink. they still continue with washable mugs if u drink in. i think that is good , so that they dont use any disposable cups anymore.

our talk is rather gloomy in a way. about his ageing parents. they are in their 90s.  he got a text message from his sister saying his mum had a fall. and there is also the constant problem with his father, having strokes, and needing care. what with his mum having cancer, he got a lot of future problems to solve involving their care. as the population ages, many will have this problem to solve. 

but here is something for the kid in all of us. i found them. 

right hand image is a macdonalds happy meal toy. the legs pull out to a 12cm measuring tape. the other one, i have no idea . toy cars inside this yellow container. usually i find the container empty… and i use them to keep coins. this is the first time i find one with its contents intact. 

added 8.39am saturday 9.11.19. ian’s dad died 20oct 2019. he was actually visiting us at my flat when the call came from his sister that he had died in hospital. she and his mother were visiting him at the time, as the doctors have said he has not long to live. and they had just came back from lunch when he died. ian thought it was a false alarm, as he had been lingering on in the past for so long. that is why he did not cancel our meet and had planned to go there after our meet. the hospital is in essex. the father has dementia and had been so for a long time. 

old friend

12 Jan

london 1.03pm 7.6C overcast. friday 2018

i have this friend who is in his 80s who had told me he is stressed out doing simple things on his laptop. like for eg, he said it took him 3hrs to pay a parking ticket fine via online. he said it is too small the words so he finds it hard to see, even using a magnifying glass. it straight away gave me an inkling of why he is finding it so hard… he is not savvy about computers otherwise he would know that he can change the font size of the words in his computer, or tablet…anyway i told him to ask me to come round next time you have this problem, and let me see if i can help. and so he asked me to go see him at his flat today at 11am. he uses a tablet and microsoft computer, both of which i am not familiar with, so i am not sure if i can help out. but i shall try. 

but i slept late and woke up at 10.30am, and was rushing around thinking i am going to be late. but when i opened my mobile to see if there are any messages, i saw one from him, stating that he forgot his hospital appointment today and have to cancel our meet and meet on monday instead.

it was close to 11am by the time i got to read that message so it was a great relieve to me to text him back saying it is ok, monday is good. 

i am so glad that i dont have to rush about to get to him today. and suddenly instead of a day of rushing about, i suddenly find myself with lots of time on my hands.

 i realise i am not good for early morning meets. even though i usually wake at about 7am… it is just that today i thought i shall lie in a bit, rather than wake up at 7am and have so much time to kill before going to him at about 10am. by which time i know i shall be rather sleepy.

so afternoons will be better timing… i text him saying i prefer our monday meet be after 2pm.

it is also a day when i get a free lunch from a restaurant that is doing a promotion. it is between 11am -2.30pm . it is a indian restaurant, but a fusion one, not a traditional indian restaurant. rola wala, it is called, and u could go to their website and get an invite from them via email for a free lunch on that day 15 jan. it is for one of their vegetarian dishes.

i am wondering if my friend might like to go, but i dont know.with old people you sometimes wonder if it might be too taxing for them…i hope i wont be tired out to go out just because i am 80, but who knows, at that age, it might be everything is an effort. now you know why people dont ask 80 yr olds out, because they just fear that it might be too tiring for them.

generally for these freebies, i like to go on my own, that way i can go whenever i like, instead of having to coordinate meeting times with another person. 

getting back to normal with the foot. an insight into how old age view money and spending

1 Jun

london 1.15pm 23.9C sunny thursday 2017

i have had my follow up hospital appointment in the fracture clinic this morning. the foot has healed so well, that the doctor says i can get rid of the surgical boot, and even the crutches. or when i said i would like to keep the crutches he said maybe have one.

he sent me to see the physiotherapist to get instructions on how to exercise that foot. and it was during the session with the therapist that i realised,  from what he said, that the time to not put pressure on the foot is at an end. from now on, the foot has to be worked on to get it back to normal use. there is a time to take pressure off it entirely, when the bone was healing but once healed, it is important not to carry on that no pressure kids glove treatment.

it is a danger that the patient gets too used to molly coddling the foot, but it is time to change tac and get that foot working … hence the exercises that i have to do two times a day… a set of 4 exercises that would make me put an  evenly spread  pressure on the foot whereas now because the ball of the foot is still tender i tend to not put my foot flat down. in fact, if i dont use it i shall lose it. i had a chance to put my leg close together and i can see the muscles of the left leg was so much smaller and not as muscular as my right leg. even in such a short time as 6wks, the effect is showing.

it makes me realise i should go back to the gym and start body building. i had a look at my arms and saw that they are much thinner than i remembered them… 

i saw this article today in the daily mail, one very honest writer telling of how even though she is very comfortably off, she is like a miser when it comes to spending, and confirming the old adage that we turn miserly as we age. she says she had seen how old people she knows turn miserly and vowed she wont be like them, and now she finds she is turning into them.  i think there is a lot of truth in what she says… and she is being very honest in seeing it in herself and writing about it. it is not something that old people may wish others to see.

she gives some reasons why she feels that way… and one of them , that she knows what those things used to  cost in the old days… that the prices now are like exorbitant to her and she refuse to get them now. that seems possible as an explanation.

but she did not mention another reason that might be quite high in the list of refusing to buy things now. and that is not to be wasteful. she says she can well afford to put up the heating, but wont… it can be argued that she does not want to waste energy wastefully heating up the room. she think she is just being miserly. but not wanting to waste is a good reason i think.

and i wonder when we grow old, we tend to not bother with our looks, hence she writes about  not bothering to buy fashionable clothes and buying from primark instead or go to the hairdressers,(it seems joanna lumley cuts and dyes her own hair. if so she is really good at it, because she always looks so well turnout) or even bother with makeup…or use the cheapest moisturiser as we realise they all work the same. i mean these are really legit reasons not to spend money on those things. so it looks like some of the things may not be due to being miserly, just being savvy about goods and services and getting our money’s worth. in other words we have seen through the advertising hype and able to see the real worth of things and alter the way we spend. as usual, there is a line between being frugal and being miserly… it is a fine line. 

good morning

2 May

london 9.51am 11C sunny tuesday 2017

i get the wordpress reader and there is this 10 countries with the highest male expectancy. females live longer, 84yrs as opposed to males 80yrs. interesting to find singapore there. the oriental stock and the nordic stock seems to be long lived.

we are all familiar with japan’s old people. but it is switzerland that tops male expectancy. but  not by much. so generally i would  say all 10 countries have about equal footing.

though to have too many old people is like a poisoned chalice. it is not all that great for the country or even for the families of the old , though good for the individuals concerned but not always. some may suffer so much they might long for death. the old age statistics is like a time bomb as the bulging age group in the graph moves right leaving fewer ones working to pay for them. at first, when i saw this article i thought how nice to know which countries have their old people live so long. sounds like it is a success… to provide conditions where their people can live so long. but on second thoughts, u realise it is not all that great. these countries will struggle to afford all these old people with their increasing burden of health and long term care. 

but enough of those gloomy thoughts on this bright sunny day. let us just enjoy the moment. and have another cup of coffee. 

good afternoon 3.47pm 15C cloudy. i have quite an enjoyable time shopping for chicken and pork and veg. i have found the best combination of buses and distance from the bus stop to decide which tesco is best to shop at. it is the kennington tesco. even though it involves two changes of buses, the tesco is a short walk from the bus stops. and it has trolleys which i can use as a crutch. and it has fruits that u can pick up. meant to be for kids, but hey, for us kidless families, why shouldn’t we pick them up too. but i find out i can put the chicken in the backpack and use the crutches to carry the pork, and celery. so this way i can carry close to 4-5kg without any trouble at all.

so i finally was able to roast a chicken and have a roast dinner. cooking it in the oven is effortless. its quite a simple pleasure. not sure if most people are aware of it, or not. i get a lot of pleasure out of it. the cooking and the eating of it. the eating of it will continue for a few more meals yet, as i find different ways of making dishes out of it.

i think those people who dont learn how to cook lose a great deal when they grow older. the sense of independence where u can live off what u cook instead of relying on another is priceless. for those who are so pampered , or are so rich they have cooks and butlers to cater for their every need, and never learn these simple life skills, or who have relied on their wives to cook for them, to find themselves entirely in hopeless need when the wives die… that skill of being able to look after yourself when everyone has died on you is a very happy life skill. 

gout ( latest, not gout, it is an infection.)

23 Mar

london 2.26pm thursday 2017 11C cloudy .

i have been diagnosed with gout. i saw the doctor yesterday wednesday 22nd,at about 3.15pm. it all started on tuesday but only got worse overnight so that by wednesday morning i was so bad, simon offered to take me to the surgery by car. it was raining too, so i was rather glad for the lift. we hope to be seen straight away , a forlorn hope, they were all busy, of course,so the receptionist said go home and the doctor will call me. he called me about 1.30pm, and said he can fit me in at 3.15pm the same day.

 what a strange thing to have, in that i always thought people who drink red wine and eat a lot of cheese are the ones to get it. i dont normally eat cheese, and i dont drink. though a few days ago my friend from usa made me a cheese omelet, and he likes cheese so he might have put a lot of cheese in there. but still, you would not expect just one meal of cheese to give u gout.

its a painful condition, affecting my left foot. not the big toe, which is the usual spot, but the ball of the foot. it is only painful when i touch it or put my weight on it. it got so swollen at one point i could not wear my trainer on it, and have to wrap a plastic bag over my foot and  have to hobble to the bus stop to catch the bus which takes me to the doctor’s surgery, which fortunately was just near the bus stop.

the doctor took a look and said it is either infection or gout. and he wrote a prescription for gout, and took a blood sample. he said if the blood test comfirms it is gout, i carry on with the medicine, if not and it turns out to be an infection, then he will give me an antibiotic.

i think it is more likely to be gout. makes u wonder if we can prevent these things. looks like we cannot really, no matter if we abstain from drinking, or eating cheese. so might as well continue to eat and drink. no point depriving yourself of these things if u like them. i dont like them, so it wont be much hardship for me to get rid of cheese and wine from my diet. but if it has effect on me getting gout, i doubt abstaining from it will improve matters. i think we dont really know what causes the build up of uric acid which is the culprit. 

Gout is caused by the buildup of too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid comes from the breakdown of substances called purines. Purines are found in all of your body’s tissues. They are also in many foods, such as liver, dried beans and peas, and anchovies.

no mention of red wine there. or cheeses. but i dont eat those things they mentioned either. so for some reason my kidney is not getting rid of the uric acid. i hope it is not a sign of some kidney malfunction.

so that is why i have not been very active. i am glad for the nhs, i got the medicines, 3 lots of them, free. there was a sign saying each prescription costs £8 something. i dont know if it is for each medicine, or for one form listing all three medicines. but anyway they never ask me to pay for it. thank goodness for that. 

i still need to hobble about the flat and did not feel like making my usual trip to the library. i am glad my flat is a one level flat, and there are no stairs to climb inside it. i wonder if others get gout too, and that it is just old age catching up on us. for someone like me who dont have any medical problems, it really shows me i am getting old.

added. 7.09pm,  i just now read the text message sentby the doctor. it says the blood test shows no urate. so it is not gout. but an infection, and they ask me to go and get the prescription antibiotic. but it is too late to go today. they sent it on 10.11am this morning, wish i had thought of checking my mobile for messages from them. i could have gone to the surgery today and be taking the antibiotics now instead of waiting till next morning. i have noticed the swelling is much bigger now.