grocery and vital Easter egg shopping and the next you’re surrounded by ambulances
up the phone. The brother had been rushing me because he was bored of waiting –
but you can’t hurry shopping queues. And from last week’s hurrying of the
cashier I have learned never to rush them either. They stop what they are doing
look you in the eye and lecture you on how your whole life needs to slow down
and while it’s embarrassing to have a horde of people listening to it – my
cashier definitely had a point: I probably did need to slow down a little, and
I think Jeandre’ (the brother) does too.
push one more thing with the brother: “Should we grab some beers on the way
out?” – Jeandre’ was tempted but replied that he just wanted to leave the shops
forever and that it was probably better for us to be healthier anyway so we didn’t.
(a random exit methodology I know, but yes, that is how the Garden centre works),
we walked straight into two screaming woman and an old man in a pool of blood.
“He fell on his face” she cried. “Do you know him?” “No. He was alone.” A
security guard and I asked the man if he was okay to get up, and lifted him to
his feet to try and get him into a more comfortable sit down/ stroke recovery
position while we sent the older woman to find centre management and Jeandre’
ran to find ice.
down and tried to find out how bad the fall was and how aware he was of his
surroundings. “What’s your name sir?” I thought he replied Chad and called him
that for most of our conversings… but it was in fact Ted. Ted was hard at
hearing and softly spoken – the following was yelled and repeated many times
over something?” I asked, wondering still if he had had a stroke.
sidewalk. Jeandre’ returned with a bag of
frozen peas he had just shoplifted from Woolworths (He figured throwing a R50
note at the security guard as he fled the scene would make up for it). Now it
was my turn to run to get toilet paper.
to be slipping out of consciousness. So I carried on talking to him as we
mopped the blood off his face and suit.
The conversation then shifted to actual medical support seeing as nobody with
any official medical experience had shown up yet. We didn’t want to call an
ambulance because we knew he had no medical aid or much money so we found a good
Samaritan with a car and were almost set to go when the centre’s first aider
finally pitched followed by one ambulance after the next. The whole street
shone with bright flashy lights and uniformed people.
nose, Ted also had a broken wrist. He needed a hospital. The paramedics assured
us that he would be well taken care of and that he wouldn’t pay a cent for it.
Jeandre’ left them with his phone number just in case.
Imagine having no family and no friends. Imagine living to be 95 without having
anyone to celebrate it with. Imagine being taken to hospital with nobody to
visit you. Imagine finally reaching the end of your life with nobody to say goodbye
to. I tried to imagine what it felt like to be Ted.
covered groceries. I had sent one of the screaming woman on a mission to find a
new bag for him – but even then he wouldn’t let go and finally only gave way
enough for us to slip his torn bag into a new one. He’d taught himself to trust
nobody. It was as if those groceries were his prized possessions.
after various tests and questions had taken place. The paramedic looked him I
the eye and said a very respectable “Sir, if I were your age and I still had a
heart rate like that and still walked to the shops, I would be very happy
indeed.” A smile cracked across his face for the first time.
(we would have made it home a couple of hours earlier) – but meeting Ted
changed my life in a weird way. If I am lucky enough to make it to 95 in good
health; I want a life filled with people, with trust, with meaning and a life
filled with constant smiles. Without that it doesn’t matter how old you are – you’re
pretty much dead already. I hope Ted finds that before it really is the end.
|The grandmother and the other Ted – she seems to get younger by the day – Teddy on the other hand is starting to look a bit worse for wear.|
|Grey haired and old or uber young – we ALL need people!|
|The oldest pizza I’ve ever met – there’s a reason it is now lonely in a garbage can somewhere.|