I watched Terry Pratchett the author on the television with great interest in the week. What a brave and talented man. Mr Pratchett has recently announced he is suffering from Alzheimer's and has probably been so for the past three years. The illness is progressive and one of the puzzles is to how to measure its progress.
In no way can I mirror Mr Pratchett's talent or his stoic demeanour for that matter but since being diagnosed with TGA I recognise the tendency to look for signs of progression in illness. We well might outwardly 'look on the bright side' and you have no real alternative, but there is a mite bit of pessimism in the most optimistic of men. And this is where imagination, conjecture, suspicion, call it what you like comes in. The slightest doubt that all is not well, that the old memory is going and you're away, and senility seems just around the corner.
I couldn't recall a name last week, however hard I tried; thus the black clouds gathered.That was it, finished, on the scrapheap, useless, a burden on both state and family. The former, not too bad an idea, they've had enough of my money over the years but the latter, not so keen. Never one for gloomy thoughts the mood passed and the new reality took over.
I'm sixty eight, for goodness sake, not twenty eight. No sixty eight year old still has it all intact, otherwise they wouldn't have invented viagra. My wife thinks Sean Connery is wonderful. I personally would love to see him first thing in the morning. Plus I've got more hair, just! Jealousy is a wonderful thing. And thinking back I wasn't exactly Einstein in my youth.
I went to town on my bike once and went home on the bus. When I eventually realised, a day or two later I returned and, lo and behold, it was still propped up by the kerb in the market place. How long would it last now I wonder, twenty minutes?
I regularly had to retrieve my football boots at the Barton Bus lost property office in Long Eaton, retrieved quickly though my satchel containing homework was less urgently recovered.
Its no secret I'm less than perfect as an adult. But I'm surely not the only person that's left library books on a car roof and driven off. (My last library fine for late returns was just under ten pounds.)
Haven't we all sat on a car park at least once and wondered where we were and why. A little more unusual in the school minibus but teaching is a very stressed profession.
I used to put my sandwiches on the staffroom window sill. I ate them early one dinner time and they were the best ever. I thought my wife had been to cookery classes. I fetched some books from the car and, hey presto, there were sandwiches on the passenger seat. I rushed indoors, slipped them onto the windowsill and waited. I watched a colleague retrieve sandwiches and tuck in. Only he continuously looked inside them to see what exactly they contained. I must confess he didn't seem over impressed. He should be so lucky.
I've given up on 'Hole in the wall cards' but I have more to do with my life than fetching the card back when I've fed in the wrong number. I know they give you three tries but three's nowhere near enough. OK, I sat outside the house this week for twenty minutes with the alarm going off because I fed in the wrong number but I tried every button and nothing would shut the thing up. Interesting no-one came out to see if I was being burgled. Thanks a bundle!
I'm not allowed a mobile phone, my wife quite rightly says I'd only lose it. Plus I once borrowed one, it went off in the car and it startled me so much I nearly finished up in the nearest ditch.
Everyone reckons my wife 'carries me' in life nowadays but she always did, and seems to enjoy it; I'm not totally hopeless. Not quite, though a cup of coffee I made recently when my wife was out gave food for thought. I thought it tasted a bit strange though it took me a while to decide. On close examination gravy brownings and salt are a poor substitute for coffee and sugar; come to think of it my taste buds are apparently failing along with everything else.
I might agree that I'm ready for the knackers yard but there again don't be too sure. I may not remember what I had for breakfast but who cares. I had a motorbike in the 1950's, a Francis Barnett; the number plate, TNU 137. My pride and joy in the 1960's was my Mini Cooper S, number GDT 703C. Not bad recall for a decrepit geriatric.
Good luck Mr Pratchett and anyone else similarly afflicted. By the way, the name I was looking for has still not come, but it will, I know it will.