22 January 2021
As I wrote the words for the above title, I was reminded of a lovely hymn I used to sing in the various choirs I have had the privilege of being in. I have said before that my asthma wasn’t spotted any earlier than it was, because I was singing so much and exercising my lungs. So it was a good while after I stopped singing, due to work and other things, that I had a major asthma attack. I was also living to work, rather than working to live. It is so easily done. A big surprise was the epilepsy, but that, thankfully, was kept under good control for many years with the necessary medication. Then came the heart attack, when I was just fifty-seven. No warning, it simply happened! After a while the tablets to control my epilepsy had to be changed, but the new ones work well. But in all of these events, all these changes, I was still spending much time around a mix of people.
There have been quite a few changes in my life over the years and I have tried – no, I have had – to accept that change is a part of my everyday life. It can happen with or without due warning. A car that I really liked was damaged in an accident but I was unharmed, just a bit shaken up. It resulted in me getting a better car afterwards! A change of job was forced upon myself and others but it created further opportunities for me that gave me much greater experience and, years later, enabled me to start and run my very own business. I have tried my best to see change as a bit of an opportunity to perhaps learn new things, meet new people and see new places. So I try, as best I can, to take a positive view on whatever change does and will occur. Right now I am having to live one day at a time, to take one step at a time – literally. It could be a whole lot worse. I am in this Care Home at the moment, being well looked after and as I write this, an inmate in a room near me is so consumed by dementia that they don’t always know where or perhaps even who they are. They call out for help, and yet there seems to be nothing wrong. When a Carer then comes to sit and talk with them, they do not want to be left on their own and it takes only a short while after the Carer goes before the same inmate calls out yet again. As a result I am learning to be even more thankful that despite my physical disabilities, I am capable of writing these words. There are many who cannot do so.
We know that quite a few folk will not accept change, but like it or not, it does happen. As babies and then children, we are for the most part surrounded by others. We are usually guided and guarded by them and we learn. We learn to be on our own, but we know that usually another is nearby. As we grow older, some prefer their own company, whilst others crave company. As children we have toys, pets, we learn to care for them as our parents and grandparents have done for us. It isn’t always an ideal life, sadly some are taken advantage of, which is wrong. Then the natural order of things is for many, but not all, to meet a partner, get married and have children of their own. I was the youngest of three boys and after a time I too was married for a time, but we had no offspring. I was also very busy at work. It meant that for so many years I was with or around a mix of people. Then things changed.
We all go through ‘dark’ times, when just about everything is seemingly all against us. I am reminded of words I sang so very many times in church, these being ‘Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil’. Words taken from Psalm 23. What with work and hobbies, in the past I was usually out and about. I like my own company, but I am not like a good friend of mine who seems to like living on his own, largely in isolation. So it was that about eighteen months ago, when I simply had to keep going to the doctors to get treatment (sometimes twice a week) it meant I wasn’t seeing others. Perhaps I was even feeling a bit sorry for myself as the pain in my legs was bad and I wasn’t sleeping well at all. This meant that by late 2019/early 2020 I was not going anywhere else, I was isolating myself and, sad to say, not letting others know how I was feeling. That was a mistake. I deeply regret that now, I really do.
In March 2020 I was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary. I have absolutely no memory of my being taken there or the first few days afterwards, but I was then aware of being transferred over to the General. It took a while for me to fully regain my senses. I was moved to one or two Care Homes, it took absolutely ages for me to be declared clear of the Covid-19 that I had caught whilst still in hospital, but in all these hospitals and Care Homes I was interacting with other people. That was the key. We are social animals, like it or not, but we are. I have now seen some film shown on YouTube where elephants greet one another and when another elephant joins them, they are all delighted! So it is with humble thanks that I sit here in this Care Home, where I now interact with others.
Surviving these lockdowns is not easy for any of us, they are putting people on edge over what might have at one time been insignificant things. Even the use of the word ‘jab’ has been scorned by some as apparently it upsets a few folk. We are given the choice as to whether we agree or not to have these latest Covid vaccinations. The last time I looked, the former president of the United States was still in denial over who won the election in November last year. At the moment, holidays have been cancelled or at the very least postponed, families are not visiting their loved ones, it really is a very trying time. So what we must surely do is continue to learn from the past, to live in the present and to look to the future with a smile. Our parents as well as our grandparents survived two World Wars, who knows what will occur in years to come. It is perhaps better that we cannot know. For now, we must be sensible, we must look after ourselves and others as best we can.
This week, a magic number. There are those who can explain this, but for now, this is, to me, amusing. The number is:
If we add the individual numbers together, the answer is 27. Add these two numbers together and the answer is 9.
Multiply 142857 by any number from two to six and the answer will be an anagram of 142857.
Multiply 142857 by seven and the answer is 999999. Keep adding these nines together and you ultimately end up with 9.
Multiply 142857 by eight and the answer is 1142856. Add all these individual numbers together and the answer is 27. Add these together…
Now multiply 142857 by nine… you get 1285713. Adding the numbers gives us the same result and by simply adding the last two digits together (1+3) you get 128574, which is another anagram of 142857…