An undiscovered country

I have been visiting Jz, a very old friend whom I first met in West Pymble (which Jz calls “WP”) on my younger sister’s first birthday. I was three and a quarter at the time, so my memory of the day may be one of those memories distilled by photographic reminders rather than a true memory, but it is nevertheless quite distinct.

Jz is no longer in WP and unlikely now to return there. The nursing home where Jz now is offers “Lifestyle activities” including “sensory stimulation for clients with dementia.” Apparently these are an extra – not everyone gets these under Government-funded aged care.

Jz sent me off to make a cup of tea. Jz is a bit confused – I couldn’t say how much of it is symptoms and how much is the medication – and I wasn’t entirely sure that this would be possible in the way Jz said it would be, but I set off as instructed.

There was a bunch of elderly people sitting together round a table in a common area with cups of tea in front of them and listening to some cheerful music together who may have been receiving that “lifestyle activity.” I walked past them and pushed open another door.

Here there was no cheerful music. The room was dotted with individuals seated by themselves, obviously in their own worlds. At first I thought that the woman closest to me spoke to me, but after a moment I surmised she was talking to someone else, invisible to me. Others in the room were similarly engaged, if engaged at all. Just in time, I realised that the door I had come through, once closed, could not be opened from the side I was now on. I stepped back to the room with the happy music and let the door close itself.

I never did work out how to make a cup of tea there.

One Response to “An undiscovered country”

  1. Old joke « Stumbling on melons Says:

    […] Stumbling on melons « An undiscovered country […]

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