Friday, November 25, 2005

I hope I die before I get old

Soundtrack: Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills

More absurdity this week, but not necessarily in a good sense.

Since my uncle died, my grandad (who lives with my auntie Carole) has taken to not leaving his bed and not eating. I won't go into too much detail, as it's a long and emotional story, but he basically said he was waiting to die. Being 82, a chain smoker and suffering from emphysema doesn't seem to be helping him along, and his demanding self-pity has literally taken my aunt to breaking point. After quite a rigmarole, he's been placed in a residential home. We all think it's the best thing for him - mixing with people his own age, social events, and possibly more freedom than he had at home, if that makes sense.

My dad told me all this on the phone last night. I wasn't aware of it all, because he didn't want to worry me while I was in Berlin. So I was quite amused when he dropped into the conversation that the infamous 'Uncle Phil' had returned. Phil is an alcoholic who lives homeless in France, and I haven't seen for around 15years since my dad chased him out of our house where he ran down the front garden and hurdled the 6foot fence into the sunset. My memories of him are that he bought me a globe, and we used to play Connect 4. A few years ago he was mugged and had his passport stolen. Phil made his yearly phonecall to Carole last week, in which he found out her husband had died and he rushed straight back (via the British Embassy who had to issue him emergency access over the Channel).

So, he's back. My dad says he's been very helpful to Carole and he seems to be doing well. He's tackling his alcoholism 'I used to drink 12litres of wine a day, but now I only drink 8!', and he told my dad that he really enjoys his life. Don't we all try and achieve that? I mean enjoying life, not 8litres of wine a day. He's going in a couple of days, and said to my dad yesterday 'A loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, some cooking oil and no change from a fiver? And you wonder why I don't want to live in Britain?'.

So after my grandad's first day, my dad relayed the feedback from the residential home last night: 'He's had a full meal, a shit and shower. He's having a fag and entertaining everyone with his stories. He'll be on the karaoke next - they have more going on there than at Kirkholt Club'.


  1. It can be really tough when a family member is placed in to a care home. Especially if its against their will.

    My Gran moved in to a home a few years ago, and for the first few months did nothing but sulk. She adores it now though and it is true that being around folks of a same or similar age will probably have a very positive effect on your grandad. Just being around other people who have similar opinions & experiences can really help. Also the staff at these homes have probably dealt with this scenario many times before. I'm sure your dads right... grandad will be on the kareoke before you know it.

    Take Care and Chin up.

  2. Tricia x09:24

    Uncle Phil sounds like 'a character', something I aspire to be by the time I'm at least 50.

    Good luck to your Grandad, though it doesn't sound like he needs it. I wish we had karaoke here. It sounds like just the right thing.

    How's your lurgy? I find whiskey and ice cream and sometimes dry toast are all good for a knackered throat. Failing that, just whiskey and lots of it.

  3. Sounds like your Grandad's doing alright, which can't be bad. And no doubt your aunt is appreciating the break.

    Families are so strange sometimes. They can compete effortlessly with the best written dramas and comedies.