Life Story

The old man awoke and, as he did every morning, looked around wondering where he was. He took in the small room, the cheerful flowery curtains, the bedside table with a radio and a lamp, a glass and a jug that was somehow always full of water. It had a little cloth cover on it weighted with beads around the edge.

He looked at the framed Klimt print on the wall. “Danae” he thought to himself. He spent a few minutes lost in thought as he looked at the colours and considered the emotions the painting hinted at. Something nudged the edge of his mind and he looked away.

Across the bedrail at the foot of the bed hung a pair of trousers. He knew they were his. Also he knew he would find clean underwear and shirts in the chest of drawers beside the door. The word home came to him. He was in a home. The word had a comforting feel. It stirred an emotion in his mind. Something like…  The thought slipped away as the door opened and a cheerful young woman dressed neatly in white entered.

“Good morning Albert! How are we this morning? Ready to get dressed and go for breakfast? Its bacon and scrambled eggs today. You like your bacon don’t you! I have put an extra rasher aside for you.”
The young woman helped Albert out of bed and unbuttoned his pyjama top. He knew her name. He was sure of it. But it just wouldn’t come. He pondered the problem as she helped him dress.
“Janet?” he asked tentatively.
“No dear. Your daughter will be here on Saturday. Today is only Wednesday. You remember Janet then? That’s lovely! I think she was a little sad last week when you thought she was Mary.
He had a daughter? Of course he did. He was a Dad once. He knew that.  He thought of Mary, and wondered where she was. The thought made him sad for some reason. He had no time to think further on why, because the young woman, whose name still eluded him, was leading him down the hall and into the dining room which was filled with the delicious aromas of bacon, toast, and tea. He did enjoy the bacon and it seemed to him that whoever cooked the eggs knew what they were doing. He was not sure how he knew this.

He spent the morning in the day room watching television. He had no idea what he was viewing most of the time, but the sound and the images kept his attention, and distracted him from… from what?

He was not very hungry at lunch though he could not recall when he had last eaten, or what. He picked at his food and drank his tea, then allowed himself to be guided out into the garden, where he sat in the shade under a willow for a while and watched some of the others rolling balls across the lawn. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. Occasionally one would wander pass and ask “How’s it going Albert” or some similar greeting. Their faces were familiar but only some of the names came to mind. Doris, the cheerful chubby lady who always talked about her grandchildren. Elsie, the quiet woman with the piercing blue eyes who painted watercolours of orchids and roses. Janice, the old bag who hated everyone and everything.

At dinner he ate his fish fillet, peas and mashed potato with enjoyment.

He was in bed, staring at the painting on the wall and thinking that it looked like her, when young Michael came in with his pills. He liked Michael. He was always cheerful, and friendly. He was gentle and considerate when those awkward and embarrassing things had to be done. Albert never forgot Michael’s name.

Michael had something with him. A red Eastlight ring binder. He put it down on the bedside table, poured a glass of water from the jug and handed it to Albert with a small paper cup containing a few pills which Albert swallowed dutifully.

“I Googled you today Albert”. Said Michael. ” I do that sometimes. Never found ny of my patients before though.”  Albert wondered what googling was and whether it meant more tests.

“I found your blog. You are quite a fascinating character!  Who would have known you did all that stuff and went to all those interesting places?” Most of that shot over Albert’s head. He was thinking about what a blog might be and how and why he had come to have one.

“Anyway, I printed the best bits out for you to read. I thought it might be good therapy for you. There’s quite a lot. You wrote well.” He pointed to the folder on the bedside table. “I will leave it there. You will be asleep in a mo., once the trazodone kicks in. You might like to read it tomorrow.

******************

The old man awoke and, as he did every morning, looked around wondering where he was. He took in the small room, the cheerful flowery curtains, the bedside table with a radio and a lamp, a glass and the jug that was somehow always full of water. There was a red ring binder. It seemed unfamiliar. He picked it up, opened it, turned to the first page, and began to read.

When Shelley came in with her cheerful “Good morning!” he was lost in the story. “What are you reading there Albert?”
He showed her. “It’s very interesting” he said.
“Did Michael give you that last night? Well I guess that it might be good for you my dear. Therapy. Bring it with you and you can read it in the day room after breakfast.

“What you reading there Albert?” various people asked during the day. Mostly he ignored them, and kept reading. If it was someone he liked, such as Elsie or Doris, he would respond. “A very interesting story. Someone’s life story I think.”

He was less than a third of the way through the volume as he climbed into bed that evening. He put it down to swallow the pills that Michael dispensed. “Been reading your story then? Enjoying it?

“Yes indeed. Fascinating stuff. I am pretty keen to see how it ends”.
“Well I am glad, old fellow. It will be there for you in the morning. Goodnight Albert.”

******************

The old man awoke and, as he did every morning, looked around wondering where he was. He took in the small room, the cheerful flowery curtains, the bedside table with a radio and a lamp, a glass and the jug that was somehow always full of water. There was a red ring binder. He picked it up, opened it at the first page, and began to read.

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