David Wolfe post in memory of my father
Ten years ago, nearly to the day, my father’s life was ended in an NHS hospital. The hospital in question used to exist to terminate elderly and terminally ill patients, so that the statistics were all at the same location. Whilst it was a superficially nice place, it was the equivalent of taking your pet to the vet for the last time.
My father had vascular dementia, which I knew very little about at the time. Nevertheless, I made sure that he was able to stay at home for as long as possible. My mother, not the most proficient of carers, would not have lasted as long as she did had she not had someone there. She still lied about the help I was providing until she was not listened to by the rest of the family anyway.
A lifelong socialist and pacifist, my father rebelled by marrying my mother, whom he met on the shores of Lake Geneva, despite both being from Glasgow. His family were very well known communist/extreme trade unionists in Glasgow. My great grandfather was behind the revolution that had tanks in George Square.
A large proportion of my father’s family rejected him when he bought this house and married a militarist Conservative, although my mother was not the most thoughtful of political thinkers. He never told her, she was quite shocked when I broke it to her a couple of years ago.
During WW2, he and his friends were conscientious objectors. One was jailed for it, but later had a very respectable life and did quite well. This would not happen now, of course. My father was sent to work in the forests as he had defended himself in court and it was established that he had rather obscure religious reasons for his communitarian beliefs and seven single widowed aunts from WW1 to support.
His interest in natural health was so obsessive that it cost quite an astonishing amount even when I was growing up in the 70s. We had a dehydrator going and sprouts along the window sills.
He was a very quiet, humorous individual, who you did not get to know unless you showed some interest. Therefore I was told the family secrets even my mother did not get to hear. I have to say, since his death I have become more and more like him. My attitude to Wolfe has been much like my father’s love affair with this house. When he failed to secure it on the first attempt, he shuffled around muttering “that was my house” until the person who had bought it changed his mind and sold it to him.
If anyone deserved to be saved by my persistent interest in natural health, it was my father. I did try to extract him from the clutches of the NHS, but to no avail as my mother had just had a stroke and was considered ‘a handful,’ although there was no question of my having any support at the time. I was just expected to manage, regardless of anything going on in my life.
What really gets me annoyed is the fact that within two days of being in that hellhole he was drugged because he was considered difficult. When I challenged this, I was flatly told that he was suddenly in pain. He was still capable of speech and eating normally prior to this. Within three months he was less than half the weight and we were told that he must not even drink anything.
The figures for Alzheimer’s deaths in Scotland indicate that this is deliberate policy. I can see that the NHS regard aging as an unacceptable burden, and that they are trying to take quality of life into account, what I do not understand is why the alternatives are so frightening to them. I am still suffering from an invasion of nurses who appear to think I should be burnt as a witch because my mother is still alive, despite their best efforts.
I am, rather helpfully, very angry about what happened to my father, and about the continuous bitching and battling I have to do to protect my mother. Anger is a useful energy. I daresay it is considered negative in some circles. Personally I think it is the best fuel ever.