Friday, September 05, 2014

little things

Marjorie is ninety and feeling it. Her daughter Chloe took her to the doctor’s to see about her legs, which have become more swollen and painful. The doctor did an ECG, called an ambulance, wrote a letter. We wheel Marjorie out in our chair. She’s so light and tiny it’s like kidnapping ET.
‘I should wave, like the queen’ she says, as we pass through the waiting room.
‘Don’t. You might get used to it,’ says Chloe.


Marjorie is as comfortable as we can make her on our trolley, padded with blankets and everything arranged around her just so. It’s half an hour to the hospital; there’s not much else to do now but let Marjorie rest and keep an eye on things.
‘I must look a mess’ says Chloe. ‘I didn’t think we’d be going anywhere else. Look at me! I’ve got dog hairs all over my trousers.’
‘Don’t mind me,’ I tell her. ‘I’m just as bad.’
‘Good job I fed the chickens before I came out.’
‘Oh? How many chickens do you have?’
‘Four. Good layers – well, they were, till they got the red mite. Tiny little things they are, no bigger than a grain of salt, but they get their fangs in and drive the chickens crazy. It’s put them right off their stroke.’
‘What can you do about it? Dust the chickens?’
‘Not really. You put this stuff in the water and you treat the coop. It’s the weather, you see. The mites have gone mad this year.’
‘It must be nice to have fresh eggs, though.’
‘You wouldn’t go back to supermarket eggs if you tasted ours. It’s a completely different experience. Out of this world.’
‘What about the meat? I bet fresh chicken meat tastes good.’
Chloe frowns at me.
‘No,’ she says. ‘Just the eggs. Would you kill something called Claudine?’


We pull into the A&E car park. Marjorie seems to perk up a bit, arranging the blanket over her lap and then sweeping her hair into position.
‘I look a mess,’ she says.
‘What about me!’ says Chloe. ‘I’m an absolute shocker.’
We unload the trolley and move into the department.
‘At least you’ve got a bit more colour in your cheeks now’ says Chloe.
‘It’s all these hunky men around me,’ says Marjorie.
‘Oh?’ I say, looking right and left. ‘Where?’
‘You,’ says Marjorie. ‘And you’re about my height, na’ll.’


Anonymous said...

Aw bless her, and thank you for reminding us about the little things
best wishes

TomVee said...

Better polish up your Swing moves there, Spence. You have a date.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Were you surprised she didn't ask you for a dance before you got back on the road ?~! I love seniors and their spunky selves. My new client is 85 and a real sweet gal with all her marbles in line and no real medical issues so it's fun and so interesting to hear her stories-she's from your neck of the woods.

So glad you get great clients often enough to keep you in the job; the world needs Helpers and you are definitely one of those.

jacksofbuxton said...

You old smoothy Spence.

Still got it then....

Spence Kennedy said...

Lollipop - I hope the story about the chickens & their pesky mites didn't make you scratch...

TomVee - I think the only swing moves coming up are in a hoist

Lynda - She was even ruder than that, I have to say! But you're right - it's so heartening & life affirming (and entertaining, I have to say!) It's a side of working with geriatrics that often gets over-looked. We do get plenty of clients like M to keep us on the level, thank goodness.

Jack - Yep - everything but the height, apparently.

petrolhead said...

I've had fresh chicken eggs, they're so fresh and delicious! But then I brought up 12 chicks for a month when I was in supported housing. I named one George and for months my other half teased me in McDonald's saying I was eating George!!

Spence Kennedy said...

I don't think I've ever had a fresh chicken egg! Must remedy that soon. I can imagine it'd be difficult to dispatch an animal you've kept pretty much as a pet for a long time. You should probably give them dreadful names so it's not so bad. Stalin maybe, or Bee-eggs-ebub.

Blair Ivey said...

"Marjorie is ninety and feeling it."

If I reach ninety, I'm sure I'll be 'feeling it' too. My family history makes this a reasonable possibility.

As far as grown vs store bought, I can't eat commercial tomatoes. I've grown them, and the taste is worlds different. It seems the same with eggs.

Spence Kennedy said...

I'm sure there's a large genetic component in longevity - 'old bones' in the blood (Just so long as you lay off the booze and fags - but even then, some people seem immune...)

Often with store produce like tomatoes, they pick them before they're ripe, to give them more time to transport. Which means they never mature as they should. Not sure that applies to eggs, but in that case, you don't know how well the chickens were fed / how happy they were &c &c. *stops typing and starts thinking about a little snack*

Cassandra said...

Bee-eggs-sebub. GENIUS.

I don't have any experience with raising farm animals (except that a foster family I lived with when I was 3 had chickens, and it was my job to feed them-- SUCH a good memory!), but in regards to the produce you were mentioning… yeah. You can taste the difference between store bought and home grown. When I lived in the Northwest US for several years, I ended up living with a family that had a small farm (by which I mean a large garden and orchard lol), and the produce was out of sight. I cannot recall ever having better food, and the best part was that you could walk outdoors, pick what you needed for making your meal, and then bring it in and use it. Amazing! The strawberries were my favorite.

On a related note, I've always hated grape juice. I think it's gross and tastes funny and I won't drink it. But I've always had store bought, untilllll… moving up to the Northwest, I rented a room from an elderly couple who had a garden that they canned the produce from to supplement their social security money. It's the only way they would have lived through the winters, no doubt about it. Anyway, they also grew their own grapes and canned the juice themselves, and THAT is when I fell in love with grape juice. I still won't touch the store bought stuff, but that homegrown juice, oh my… I still salivate just thinking about it, and it's been YEARS!

Spence Kennedy said...

Chickens are da bomb! Spoken in voice of Jesse Pinkman. I bet he'd like chickens. Too much.

A friend of mine used to keep them. I loved helping him go in the enclosure and root around for eggs. They all had such big characters. I have to say that his family had a much more utilitarian view of farm animals than those patients. The chickens (and sheep &c) were regularly dispatched, sold / put in the freezer. Still - they had a lot of fresh, free-range, organic produce (though of course it wasn't called that at the time), and were better off for it.

Fresh grape juice sounds great (as does wine, btw). And when you say canning, is that actually in a glass jar, or do you mean a real can? I could google it but I'm feeling a bit retro today...

:) x

Anonymous said...

Canning does generally mean putting food in glass jars. You can use metal cans, but they cannot be reused and you cannot see inside them, so if your label falls off you get to play the game of "what's in this can and is it something I want to eat?". Most people who put in the money to start up canning would rather have jars they can reuse. With the glass Mason jars (which are tempered glass, unlike the jars on the shelves at grocery stores) you can reuse them for many years before you have to replace them.

Spence Kennedy said...

Thanks, Anon. That means we did some canning the other day - blackberry jam, in (what sounds like) a Mason jar.

So much jam - I wonder if it'll keep...?