Today began like any other. I woke at 7.30, sniffed the cold air, considered what the day might hold for me (being 83 and retired, frankly not a lot), decided to get out of bed, and proceeded to undertake the usual ablutions while musing over Shakespeare’s immortal lines from ‘Macbeth’:
“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow Creeps in this petty pace from day to day”
and wondered if the effort required to carry on was really worth it.
Part of that effort includes the daily ritual of ‘taking your pills’. As those in my age category will know already these pills form part of the ceaseless battle waged by doctors, etc., to prolong life in the recipients of their science. In this respect I have already been genetically altered with the insertion of two stents and a pacemaker. Not that I am complaining mind you, but one does wonder at times what one is being preserved for (answers on a postcard).
But I digress. Back to the pills. Thanks to the benevolence of the NHS I have been given a total of 8 of these wonders of medical science to take on a daily basis (5 in the morning and 3 at night) They are quite fascinating. They come in a variety of sizes and colours, although white (with its connection to the concept of innocence and purity) predominate. One is a pretty little yellow one, reminiscent of early primroses, while the other is alarmingly bright red and menacing. I have been blessed in that I have never suffered from what I believe they describe as ‘side effects’, which sometimes makes me question their actual efficiency. Am I being prescribed placebos? However, on the other hand, I lack the courage to chuck them all in the dustbin and see if anything untoward happens.
All this medication has fallen under the supervision of a Doctor currently working in Shrewsbury Hospital, 15 miles from where I live. I do have a local GP who I believe is located at my Surgery just down the road, but confess I have not seen him in a long time now (seemingly not unusual in today’s world!) Instead I receive phone calls approx every 4 months from this Doctor in Shrewsbury. He is a charming individual whose name – no names, no pack drill – suggests an origin in the Indian sub-continent. In his very first letter to me (copied to my GP)he made reference to “this 80 year old gentleman”. Unused to such respect we became lifelong friends from that moment.
This esteemed Doctor monitors me through blood tests and blood pressure readings and occasionally ‘tweaks’ my medication and/or dosage. And I am grateful. But, don’t get me wrong, I still find myself questioning the thinking behind it all. Is it all for the sake of another 2, 5 or 10 years? I would love to see how my grandchildren (currently 27 and 25) cope with their careers and life, but I’m not so confident about the future of my country and the world. Its a conundrum.
However, there is no need to panic. A solution to the dilemma has arrived, and as is so often the case, it has been around for ages and has been staring us in the face. A recent recourse to Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Dr Faustus’ has reminded me to the following famous lines:
“Was this the face that launched a thousand ships, And burnt the topless towers of Ilium – Sweet Helen make me immortal with a kiss”.
There we have it. The answer to our potion of pills. The solution to eternal life encapsulated in a single word – SEX. For myself finding a maiden with the name of Helen should pose no difficulty. The application of the odd glass or two of Babycham should promote an amorous atmosphere conducive to the give and take of the necessary kiss. That only leaves me with one minor physical difficulty to be overcome and requiring medical assistance ……………..