23 Aug The troublesome joys of ageing
Getting old doesn’t bother me and it sure beats the alternative which has no appeal at all. This isn’t true of my beloved wife who loathes the ageing process with a passion and (successfully in my opinion) tries to stall it with various oils, pastes and a vigorous exercise regime that would put Spartacus to shame.
Meanwhile, I’ve happily completed my transition to lewd but harmless middle-aged man (see Leslie Phillips and Bill Nighy) and I’m currently on track for a distinction in the dirty old man diploma offered by The Wilfrid Brambell institute of political incorrectness.
Storing up trouble
My only problem with getting old is that bits of me no longer work, even their previous low-level of efficiency. Let’s start with the right leg.
My right leg has deteriorated over the last decade and fairly rapidly in the last twelve months to the point where I now walk like a Space Invader. The pain is mainly in the shin and repeated investigations over the years have failed to identify the problem, until recently. I have an arthritic hip ladies and gents. I’m ninety and not fifty, apparently.
The damage to my shin was caused when I ran my beloved Kawasaki into the rear of a Triumph Vitesse (don’t ask; it was a combination of excess speed and inattention). The damage to the hip… well, who knows? I spent my twenties falling off motorbikes and my thirties and forties falling off bicycles and when you fall off a two-wheeled contrivance you will land on your hip dear reader.
So bit by bit I’ve been storing up trouble for myself over the years. Likewise, my hearing is a bit shot these days. I said IT’S A BIT SHOT. Was this caused by a combination of wind noise in the crash helmet and a free-flowing illegal exhaust? Or possibly my gig attendances: Jam (seven times), Clash (three times), Adverts, Banshees, Buzzcocks and capped off by Motorhead who are noted for the subtle nuances of their delivery (Coldplay they are not). My father (ex-plumber) was deaf in the right ear because he used the hammer in his right hand.
A charming friend of mine is small in stature (but perfectly formed) and she used to be a target for being lifted high in the air by her ankles in the night spots of a popular Lancashire seaside retreat. Inevitably one such reveller caused my charming friend to fall onto her back. Years later this incident has led to spinal damage in the neck; resulting in pain, limited ability to carry loads and even problems with wearing heavy jewellery.
Invest in the future
I once spoke to a HGV driver at a food factory in Carlisle. He’d dismounted from the cab in textbook fashion, backwards and with three points of contact. I complimented him on this and asked why he did it when many others don’t.
Had he injured himself before by jumping from the cab? Far from it. He said most people who jump down don’t get injuries, they just progressively damage their hip joint until in later life they need a replacement. He sagely pointed out that a correct dismount was an investment for the future.
Try digging a bit deeper
When you carry out Safe and Unsafe Acts engagements with people to what extent do you really enable them to visualise their lives after an injury? Do you help them realise how they might be compromised later on in life?
A victim may be able to cope with an injury when they’re young but think about the long-term. Cumulative damage catches up with everyone, eventually.