Fear of the Aged

OR HOW I AM LEARNING TO FEAR FOR MY MUM NOT JUST FEAR HER

Women's Royal Naval Service
Third Officer Murphy served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Now she doesn’t know her own kitchen in 2013 from a hotel bar in Malta… in 1951.

Totally irrationally I distrust every single website of every single care provision company/organisation I see. This makes me distrust the companies themselves. This makes me go to the CQC.

Sadly, I also believe that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is in cahoots with the care companies, all of whom are making pies out of old people having tortured them first.

This is proving limiting in finding care for my Mum who this morning didn’t know where she was so sat in the hallway, having not had breakfast or taken pain killers because her diabetes and lack of breakfast had made her think she had breakfast and for some reason this meant that painkillers would poison her and make her fractured T12 vertebrae worse… Mmmmm… challenging.

Third Officer Murphy, as was, served in the Womens Royal Navy Service (Wrens) in the 1950s. She left home in a strop at her father, Clarence, pub owner, bully and ex-Royal Household Cavalry or Horse Guards, I forget which, he would have hated that. Her temper was vast and all conquering, even as a small Anglo-Irish teenager in the 1950s…

Clarence, my grandfather, was a bastard of a man. A brute, size of a dray horse, temper of a small man who had discovered himself somehow in the body of a powerful one. He had stopped my mother from accepting her place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts… at least that’s what she told me in a moment of dramatic queenery; a trait I share but my brothers don’t.

So, in 1951 or somesuch at the age of 19 or thereabouts (she struggles with the details of the 1950s, but she struggles with the fact that both her husbands are not bringing her tea any longer because they are dead), she told Clarence to stow his tyranny in the cellar of one of the pubs he owned (possibly The Huntercombe in Cippenham, more of that and murder later maybe). She left to join the navy.

Now, in her home near the sea, she swears blind the other old ladies – the ones who are not there but who she hears sometimes and who leave her to be alone – need her help.

“Nothing ever goes right for me,” she tells me. “But I am not an idiot. I am not! I am not!” She isn’t. She is becoming a lost ex-service woman though, with many stories to tell from the 1950s where service still happened even though she never fought a war, or became a hero.

She did once have a young naval rating, “He must have been 17,” she told me years ago, die in her arms, “I must have been 20”, she said. He had been cut in half by a flying chain, an accident – not heroic. I’ll tell that story one day maybe; she comforted him until his last breathe. He asked for his mother with it. I am totally, utterly serious.

I won’t tell that story for now. Nor the one where she drove at Le Mans, not yet. Right now I need to call her. For now I am becoming lost in CQCs and Care Partnerships and deeply inside the fear you have that you’re never, ever going to do enough.

(Let’s take it as read that I’ve decided to avoid the obvious Soylent Green reference please we nerd friends)

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