10 Forsythia Grove
CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT
My Dear Ralph
Well here I am dear, outfitted in my new stripey mini dress and ankle-length suede boots, supping upon a Hot Chocolate in the WiFi cafe. Thankfully the toilet door locks seem to be working this week and I have not got locked in. Also, I believe I have detected one or two admiring glances from gentlemen on adjacent tables. I have not reached antiquity - and retirement - from the (mixed) pleasures of romance quite yet!
I received a telephone call from dear Pom-Pom last night. He relayed the news that he was about to be moved to (yet another) ward and said, "I am afraid we are going to lose touch with each other." And so we may if the redoubtable Xanthe has anything to do with it! Is it really alright, do you think pet, to be trundling patients about the hospital in the middle of the night? I appreciate that this may well be the quietest time in which to accomplish this, but one has visions - rather sinister ones - of hundreds of elderly people being shunted through semi-lit corridors in a manner which is distinctly behind the scenes.
He also told me a most distressing tale of how he had been got out of bed in his latest ward, only to collapse to the point where an ECG technician had to be urgently summoned. This is the kind of thing that happens when patients aren't on a ward long enough for the nurses to become familiar with their recent history and level of capacity. He has been lying in bed for so many weeks now that his body must have adapted to functioning in a semi-prone position! If I was on the relevant committee pet, I would endeavour to establish a minimum period of time that a patient was required to spend on each ward. This would give the patient some hope of equilibrating with the conditions and - as importantly - give the staff time enough to equip themselves with a deeper understanding of the needs of those in their care.
And then, this morning, I received another call from him in his new situation. He sounded bewildered. He said, "I wish that I could swallow my tongue and die" - and that he hadn't had anything to eat or drink, for 24 hours, because this seemed to be the only way to achieve death. This all sounds terrible. Would any of us like to be so old and possibly dying under these circumstances? And all I can do dear, is listen, and pen my memoirs so that his suffering - and the suffering of those like him, does not go unnoticed and unrecorded.