It’s Remembrance Sunday this weekend, and I had a rather apposite consultation this week, with Mr C. He is an elderly gentleman, nearly 90, a retired serviceman. He was an officer in the Royal Navy during the second world war. On his discharge he struggled to work, as he was suffering from PTSD and impaired hearing as a result of his experiences. He is now very frail, falling at home, and struggling. He begged me not to admit him to hospital – “just get me well enough so that I can stand with my head held high on Sunday at the parade”. He doesn’t like hospitals you see, because they treat him like a child. “I don’t like being called by my first name – do you know once I was addressed as ‘you there’ in a hospital?”. I shuddered at the very thought. He wants the young to know that old people are people too, and something he said was so very apt that I scribbled it on a post-it note once he’d left my consulting room. He said, “I don’t mind being forgotten if I’m all right, but if I’m not all right, I wish they’d remember.”
I’ll be remembering this Sunday.