Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The slow death...

Modern times leaves us with more solutions than our forefathers could´ve dreamed of. From the earliest inventions of something as important and usefull as the wheel. Science and evolution has drastically improved the quality of man´s life. The speed at which we grow is unpredictable and I´m reminded of that almost everyday when I tell another client that when mobile phones were invented I thought I would never own one in my lifetime and yet... nowadays not only do I own one, so does almost every Tom, Dick and Harry! What started off as a luxury is now an important working tool in most people´s lives.

But no matter how much science evolves... no one has managed to stop the ageing process.

I once knew a man whose presence would silence a whole room. Some would hold their breath when spoken to by him, other´s literally wet their pants. This man demanded respect and if you didn´t give it to him, he would force it from you. Be it respect or fear that mobilized you, there were few people who challenged his strong character. Those who did, even if they were right, would be brutally crushed to his reason.

This man is my grandfather and the person that my mother, aunts and uncle´s knew.

Being the independent rebel that I am, I earned this man´s respect by not allowing him to control my decisions. Our clashes were few and when we did disagree on a subject, we would end it by respecting each other´s view points. You might say he softened with old age but I´d like to think that he matured into a better understanding. My secret was simply to insist with a hug and kiss even when he grumbles and shoo´s you away.

An atom replicates itself in the human body. A replicate means that it makes a perfect double. It´s twin isn´t supposed to be superior or inferior to the original, just a copy. Keeping this in mind, no one can understand why Science hasn´t been able to stop the deteriorating of cells, why people get old and why poeple die.

I saw in the news a piece about a portuguese doctor that managed to prolong a worm´s life from 20 to 128 days and thought with sadness that this news came too late to contribute to my grandfather´s health.

This week, I went to see him at the hospital. Besides the low blood pressure, the osteoporosis and the partial paralysis that he suffers from his previous stroke... you can only conclude that he´s dying from old age. His spirit once unchallengable is now broken. The once stubborn man I knew, now subdues to instructions from nurses. And the eyes that once could make your every nerve freeze, now water each time they recognise the face walking through the door.

As I helped the glass of water to his lips and touched his face, I could only imagine the person he was at my age. I could only imagine the person I will be at his! Suddenly my life seemed so trivial and my heart wept at the thought that we all await this destiny.

Maybe I just don´t like hospitals, I know that I would make a really crappy nurse considering I´d probably have a nervous breakdown each time I lost one of my patients. Yet there´s something about the illness and old age that leaves me desperately frustrated. Nothing I can do will snap the vegetable laying next to my grandfather out of his deep coma. Nothing I can give my grandfather will renew his youth or slow his aging process. I feel helpless and worthless in the face of old age. This makes me realise that I really haven´t got as much control as I would like myself to believe.

As my grandfather fell asleep, I lightly passed my fingers through what little left he has of his hair and prayed for the health of his memory. Even though he lays there, I hope he remembers a time when he was healthy and strong . I hope he hangs onto the memories he constructed through his lifetime and that tomorrow I´d have another chance to remind him of another great time I´d spent with him in his healthier days. I also reminded myself to make more of my moments... one day, they will be the memory I will hang on to when it´s my turn to lay in that bed and wait for my journey to end.

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