Cranky Old Person…

This post relates to a previous post of mine: Hospital-wards-A-nurse-sw-010Memorial Hospital & the hell that is geriatrics


I came across it on a is it a hoax website.    There is a   Brief Analysis included after the poem, from the website.  Wherever this poem came from or how it came to be, it is worth reading and remembering that most of us will end up old and feeble one day.  Might be a good poem to add to geriatric hospital training for nurses, doctors, etc…

Cranky Old Man (or woman)

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!eld

Brief Analysis

This is an Australian version of several older stories that have circulated in the United States and the UK for many years. The stories attached to this version of the poem are fictional. The scenario described in the message did not happen and the poem was not found in the belongings of an old man in a nursing home as claimed. The poem itself has a long and somewhat obscure history. The original version featured an old woman rather than an old man and is sometimes attributed to English nurse Phyllis McCormack who reportedly penned it in the 1960’s. The “old man” version of the poem was apparently adapted from the original by David L. Griffith of Texas and can be seen in its original context on the poet’s website.


Fair Isle 1969

FairIsle - 1969

Here I am when I was 17… can you believe that I actually knitted this vest from a vintage boys pattern book!!!   My mum taught me how to knit and crochet when I was a kid, so I can knit, but that intricate pattern!!!   Pat On The Back to teenaged me!!  I edited this photo.. so that my work of art stands out…..

My big assignment…

Student Nurse Toronto 1973


Then there was the cardiac medical ward, where I came in contact with ‘supernurses‘… experienced professionals who obviously knew their stuff inside out!  I swear more than once in my rotation on that ward I would pass a room and notice a nurse and a resident working on a patient who had arrested, without hearing all the bells and whistles on the PA announcing a ‘code’!  My first time witnessing this impressed me like a scene from a movie: …. cprNetworhr

the young attractive seasoned R.N. was straddled over a patient, giving him chest compressions with all her might, while a perhaps, (I cannot really remember) handsome young intern was bagging oxygen on the count of 2 to every 5 compressions ? (as it was in the day) into the patient’s airways …………. I was fascinated by the fact that her cap had fallen off her head, and somehow her long light brown hair had become loosened from hair clips and clasps with the physical effort of CPR, was flowing all over her shoulders – and needless to say over the patient too!  of course the neophyte students (one or two of us) who were witnessing this surreal feat, were soon pushed out of the way as the crash cart team did come thundering through the corridor………….. Wow…….. cool I thought!! could I ever be like that???  Then there were about six ECG monitors at the nursing station that relayed the beats of the more seriously ill cardiac patients … amazing considering it was the early 70’s.  These were monitored by nurses, who obviously knew how to read an ECG (me, never figured it out!!).


My main assignment on this rotation was to follow a newly admitted patient, Mr. Van Der Zam (Dutch roots).  He had had  rheumatic fever when he was a child.  I learned that this condition could affect  the mitral  valve with scarring from the strep infection, causing it to become stiff and occluded through the years, most often unnoticed until the mitral valve stenosis diagnosis would be reached in adult years with the onset of heart arrhythmias and fatigue.  I first had to do a ‘nursing history’ of Mr VDZ, finding out that he was 41 years old (God that seemed so old in those days) married with kids (?), well educated,  moderate smoker and drinker and other than worsening periods of arrhythmia and a consequent cardiac consultation, he had no other health problems ………… and yes he did have rheumatic fever when he was 11 years old, nothing unusual along with all the other childhood diseases that everyone had in days of yore. [Rheumatic Fever is rare in the first world environment now].

I got to follow my patient, who was a really nice guy, to the cardiac catheterization lab, and observe the procedure which confirmed his mitral valve was moderately stenotic with scar tissue.  I had to research thoroughly this condition and then ask my patient, after the cardiac surgeon had explained the necessary op that he would need, if he had any questions about the causative factor, -rheumatic fever, the sequelae of his cardiac disease- mitral valve stenosis… and the surgery that he was about to undergo – mitral valvotomy!!  Awkward! –  it felt that way, a student nurse trying to explain to a learned older man all about the heart problems he had …. the joys of being a student in a medical field…. I do hope it went okay … I have really no idea!!mitral

So then I get to prep Mr. VDZ  preoperatively.  Preop prep was not too difficult to remember, but of course certain surgeries have specific elements related to body parts!!!  I prepped my patient and then we got the call to go to the OR suite.  So, along with a porter, I wheel my patient to the OR department into the waiting area hall where other scared, hopefully pre-operatively medicated souls are lying in their stretchers .. waiting their turn.  I go through the important ID and chart information with the OR nurse, then I will get to go to the nurses’ change room and get into ……… what’s that you say?? ….SCRUBS!!  Cool…………. but first a surgical resident is talking with Mr. VDZ, reassuring him, checking his hospital ID bracelet………. and then…………..”why hasn’t his chest been shaved”???  The resident is talking to me and not in a ‘reassuring’ tone any longer.  Somehow, someway I had NOT SHAVED OFF HIS CHEST HAIR and he was having open heart surgery!!!  To this day, I cannot recall how or why this had not been done, but it seemed to me and to everyone within ear shot that it was my fault!!!  So one of the OR nurses hands me a disposable razor, swabs and a can of shave cream (I guess they are always prepared in the OR suite)!  I apologize profusely to poor Mr. VDZ, who as far as I can recall is floating in a sea of euphoria from the demerol/atropine im pre-op I gave him, as ordered, an hour or so earlier.  So in the waiting hall of the OR, with doctors, nurses, technicians, porters constantly passing by, I put the foam on my patient’s hairy chest and proceed to shave him with so much embarrassment, because, hell, this was a really stupid oversight, and everyone knew it.  27_shave_chest

You know, come to think of it, that would be the first, if not only time, I have shaved a man’s chest!!  The deed done, Mr VDZ is wheeled into the OR, and I am directed to the change room.

So I am standing there scrubbed, paper over-shoed, masked and gowned, watching the surgeon cut into this man’s chest.  Stupidly, my mind says: ‘are you going to faint now???’.  No! no more embarrassing moments for me thank you very much.  All I have to do is o.b.s.e.r.v.e!!! which I do and thankfully the surgery goes without a hitch.  I next follow my patient into the patient recovery area and watch as he stabilizes and then I accompany him back to the ward and do post-op observations, add antibiotics to IV bags and give him im demerol for his pain…………. whew!!  For some reason, I heard myself telling Mr. VDZ that he would be happy to know that his lungs both look nice and pink………. well, remember he was a smoker, and I did get a look at his lungs during the op…

Now I get to finish my assignment essay and p.r.e.s.e.n.t. the whole shabamm to my group……………. now that is worse than all I went through in the OR suite ………… Mr Van Der Zam soon was discharged with a cleared heart valve and I got a very decent mark…!

maryliytwigSpotted this pic of Marilyn on Pinterest today! Beautiful, but definitely not a MM look………. looks more like the Twig!  Pinterest search for Twiggy and I find this iconic shot of her…


look familiar!!  Put these 2 photos side-by-side and this is what you get:

martwigThis is no great earthshattering import to anyone of course, but it was a fun ride…  In my opinion who ever did the photoshop editing did a great job!!  As far as I can see only Marylin’s actual face is replacing that of Twiggy to depict a totally new look for  MM… the neck and shoulders, the ears, the hair (of Twiggy) and even the photo border are identical in both photos….

a blast from the past in 2013….


Yes, I watch the British soaps here in my home in Toronto… have done for decades now.

EastEnders is a couple of years behind for us, so I have no idea if the character Eddie Moon is still part and parcel of the show in 2013!

eddie moonI just have to say that when his character appeared on Eastenders a while ago, I thought wow, it’s amazing when I see a man with a full head of fully grey hair, I don’t look too closely at first (yes in my early 60’s now, I am still a blonde). However, when I did get a real look at old Eddie, I thought wow, he must have been a real charming looker way back when, um .. hell, he is a looker now!!! I rattled my brain wondering if I could figure out if this actor was big when he was young. Having limited knowledge of the UK TV scene, I thought to myself, he was probably some famous dashing character on 70’s or 80’s British TV series… ! I thought that I had already looked at his name on the program closing credits … I guess I didn’t!! Imagine my surprise when last night I happened to glance at the name Eddie Moon, only to glimpse the name David Essex!! a blast from the past that I do remember…


Now I actually don’t know anything about Mr. Essex except that he was a fairly big name, a touch on the glam-rock type singer and had some hits back in the 70’s including the above, and when I lived in London for a while the  ‘We’re Gonna Make You A Star’ … I loved that number, and I remember seeing his face on the telly and in some mags and  thinking how gorgeous he looked.  Now, of course, I can totally see him as an actor, especially as the cockney father of an assortment of young men in Albert Square..

This is an excerpt from a previous post that I wrote about first visit to Biba back in 1976 (London~ magical visit ~ BiBa) :

Armchairs and couches! With live people sitting in them (in the display windows)! Turns out that the BIBA shoppers were the display, and they were truly fabulous trendoids! What an incredible idea I thought, trust BIBA to think of such a cutting edge concept so far removed from traditional stores. I approached the glass doors with total rapture. I walked in and immediately was immersed in loud heavenly (to me) music. It was one of my absolute favourite tracks: David Essex and ‘I Want To Make You A Star”! Somehow, it fit my enchantment so perfectly.essexa There were many counters, fabulous Art Deco décor, heavenly scents, artfully arranged racks of beautiful clothes, totally hip salesgirls and of course the vibrant beautiful people who were the customers. There was even a tea place with light fare. I eventually became part of the window display as I sat in a plush comfy armchair drinking my pop and smoking a ciggy taking a break from the ‘hell’ of shopping. BIBA more than lived up to my expectations.

Fancy that!!  Mr. Essex grew up real good…

For the benefit of fellow Brook student nurse, Florence, I am showing this class photo of the student nurses that enrolled at the Brook General School of Nursing in September, 1972.  I am Carol the blond in back row.  A few first names I remember were Diane, Marion, Anne ( a lovely Welsh gal), Naomi, Jasmin, Sue, Jean, Wilma, David, Andrew, Pete and ‘Sprog’brook….  I met a wonderful lot of fellow-student nurses in my one year at the Brook..

Big Biba opens, September 10th 1973.

Reblogged from Kasia Charko … the opening of the Big Biba from someone, a very talented artist, who created some classic BiBa graphics and was there before and on the big day …

I just had to add a comment about one of Kasia’s work mates, *Dave, pictured near the end of the above reblog.  I was immediately struck by how another David is (currently) the spitting image of *Dave…

David Walliams looking very similar to Dave from the 70's

David Walliams looking very similar to Dave from the 70’s

Kasia Charko

The Whitmore Thomas design team had to move out of the roof Garden a few weeks before the opening day. We moved to the studio in St Albans Grove around the corner, there was still Biba advertising work to be done and Steve and Tim wanted to move on to other projects too. The cafeteria which had been our drawing office and the Roof Gardens were to be completely renovated and prepared for the opening in the spring of 1974. The cafeteria was to become the Roof Garden restaurant furnished with big peacock chairs and wicker furniture, serving lunches, diners , and cream teas.

The morning Biba opened Iwent to the store by myself before going round to the office. It was a normal working day for the guys and I could not persuade them to join the crowd. These are my impressions of that morning from what I can…

View original post 1,410 more words


just a snapshot …on my own ….

Taggs Island & Glasgow

I hated moving to Canada at 15… I did not want to leave my home in Glasgow where we had lived for 10 years.  Unfortunately my dad lost his job at Scottish Television.  Uncle Peter, his brother had already emigrated to Canada and found work in television at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He suggested that Dad try his luck there.  In 1967, Canada was welcoming a huge influx of immigrants.  So off we sailed in August 1967.

High school ………. yuch ….. .keep to myself ………. difficult because of extreme self-consciousness due to my dark passenger (my gammy leg)… and also undiagnosed chronic depression (as it was more often than not in those days – ‘snap out of it’!!) come by so honestly from my Irish side.  I just wanted to disappear into the ground…

Fast forward to January, 1971, I had graduated from high school and decided to take a year to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I got a part-time job, and saved up my money to make a trip back home (my parents kindly let me keep my money to do with what I wanted).  They say never go back in the first couple of years after emigrating.… As circumstances would have it, I went back, on my own, 4 years afterward.

Yes, I planned to visit my former home, Glasgow, but I first wanted to check out London.  Luckily for me my Nanny had a flat in Muswell Hill, and my aunty Bee lived on a houseboat on the River Thames with her boyfriend Ken and her daughter, Sh.  So my plan was to find a charter flight to London and stay with my Nanny, and somehow at some point, take a train or something to Glasgow.

I loved my first taste of London as a teenager.  I had spent my first 5 years of life living in Hackney, but that’s different.

My aunty Bee and Sh and Ken soon came to drive me to the houseboat, named the Vernette which was moored on Taggs Island.

What an adventure! It was January, so everywhere was so cold and damp!  I can’t remember the logistics of my staying on a houseboat for a few days.  I do remember there was a paraffin oil heater in the kitchen to warm up the interior, and Aunty Bee had sprinkled some dried rosemary on it, perhaps to hide the smell of the paraffin.

Aunty Bee and Sh, my cousin and I went exploring.  On the shore, close to the Vernette, were the amazing ruins of an old hotel.  Bee told me that they filmed some scenes of a movie there.  Actually the movie was A Clockwork Orange with Malcolm McDowell………. wow, exciting!  Apparently Bee and Sh were watching filming from a distance and poor Sh was asking her mum ‘what are they doing with that lady’?  I am not sure, but Bee said it was a nasty rape scene that they were watching.  I had tried to read the book, but could not get into it.  I did see the movie and hated all the wanton violence, rape, and psycho-pathological acts of these yobo’s or whatever they called themselves?…’droogs’??

Recently I Googled Tagg’s Island and Clockwork Orange movie information and finally found information about a very grand old hotel.  I found this wonderful photograph of the Karsino Hotel, Hampton Court.  I was so excited when I saw that the stairway and pillars matched my photo of the hotel ruins…

I took the pic at the bottom of the Vernette by the old hotel ruins

I took the pic at the bottom of the Vernette by the old hotel ruins

I felt pretty growed up, especially when Bee and Ken took me around to visit their London friends.  Ken  had access to, or owned a motor bike with a side car.  It was so much glorious fun when Sh and I squeezed into that sidecar and Ken took us for a ride along the island roads……….Halfway through my 3 week visit Ken very kindly drove me all the way up to Glasgow.  We travelled all night and arrived in Glasgow at about 8am on a Sunday morning.  I was lucky enough to have a place to stay in Glasgow.  The family who bought our house in 1967, still lived there and welcomed me with open arms.

I must say that seeing Glasgow again was a disappointment.  Maybe because it was winter, but as Ken drove me into that big city, all I could really see then was big, grey, grimy and gloomy…  I visited my 2 school friends, June and Frances and we even went to the Kelvin Hall annual fun fair, where I had enjoyed all the midway rides, rollercoasters and handsome lads who operated the rides, as well as the loud pulsating beats of Brit Sixties pop.  Keep On Running by the Spencer Davis Group always comes to my mind when I think back on my blossoming teens spent on an annual outing every winter after Christmas at Kelvin Hall.  However, speaking with my school friends, in my mind, I felt that I still had the world at my feet and the possibilities were many… I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to be?  My pals had both finished school, but June was quitting her job as she was getting married soon and Frances worked as a secretary in an office.  So I think that moving to Canada really changed my way of thinking……….. not settling for any old job, or getting married when you leave school … which seemed like the common thing to do in the old City of Glasgow back in the late 60s….  To be perfectly honest, I could not wait to catch my train a few days later and go back to London.  No disrespect intended to my old home of Glasgow, which a few years later, demolished a lot of the slum areas and had a renaissance of reconstruction and won some European awards for design and architecture… My heart now belonged to London!

my cousin Sh & I waiting for the bus to Gatwick Airport, just down the road from Taggs Island. Look at all the stuff I brought back with me........ mainly lovely London clothes!

my cousin Sh & I waiting for the bus to Gatwick Airport, just down the road from Taggs Island.  Aunty Bee took the photo.   Look at all the stuff I brought back with me…….. mainly lovely London clothes!

That trip, on my own, to London, was a pivotal point in planning my future…

friends in the workplace…



Can you believe how exquisite Sue’s handwriting is!!!

Funny thing, I didn’t think that I had any friends when I lived with Ty, as I was so absorbed in him.  I found these old letters from 2 people I do remember from JJ.  We continued to correspond after I left London and went back with my tail between my legs, to Toronto.  The letter above was from Sue B.  She had worked at JJ longer than most.  She was one of 2 head cashiers, younger than me and when I started at JJ, she showed me the ropes.  I thought she was really cool, but she also seemed somewhat cool (read dipped temperature interaction) toward sensitive old me.  She was so pretty, had long blonde hair parted in the middle and was always sweeping one side of her growing-out fringe out of her eyes.  I envied her swaggering walk. I loved her London (not sure which part of London) accent and thought she was so self-assured.  Turns out in reality, she was not so confident (like most of us I suppose), but she always managed to project a ‘what the hell, I don’t give a fuck what you think about, don’t mess me!!’ personna.

As I gradually got to know Sue at work and after work at the pub… sometimes the Argyle (close to the London Palladium) and other times the Phoenix, which seemed to be the JJ local… I realized that she was a really nice young woman with self-confidence issues (What!! her too??) and anxiety about her future.  She had completed school, but did not want to work in a shop for the rest of her life!  She had spent a year in Greece, learning the language as she worked in touristy pubs or clubs.  I told her she was amazingly brave to have been able to work in a foreign speaking country like she did!  Unfortunately we did not keep up our correspondences… (probably my fault, but who knows?)


This letter was from Bill… a (younger than me … it seemed they all were as I reached my 25th birthday working at JJ) young man of about 23, who had hailed originally from Lebanon.  He had been brought up in London, but would occasionally pay a visit to relatives still living in Lebanon.  One day, after returning from a flying visit to Lebanon, which at that time was always in the news for death, bombs, destruction, shelling, smashed buildings…  (I dont remember the cause of the strife back then other than it degenerating into a civil war), Bill handed me a cassette tape and asked me to put it in the tape deck.  Thinking it was music, I did, only to be assaulted by the sound of loud machine guns, explosions and general mayhem!  Of course, Dennis (I think) the manager rushed over and exclaimed ‘what the hell is that??’  Billy, dark and swarthy, was full of male bravado, but once I got to know him, he was really a pussycat!!   Again, I don’t know whose fault is was that our correspondence ended.

You may  notice the self-fulfilling prophecy noted in both letters…………… that no-one from the old JJ days, writes back!

Of course if we had had smartphones back then…..   who knows.