Tuesday, 10th October, 2023

[Day 1303]

Today being a Tuesday, it was time to look forward to the first of our twice weekly get togethers and I arrived in plenty of time to await the arrival of the normal crowd. Even though you think you know people well, new things emerge. This morning, Meg and I arrived in plenty of time having collected our newspaper and news of the health of our newsagent. Then we arrived in plenty of time and started off by pushing tables together (they know us in Waitrose so the staff are not unhappy with us doing this) Then our friends turned up one by one and it transpired that it was the wedding anniversaries off two of our friends i.e. exactly the same date although separated by a few years. We gave congratulations to both of our friends but to be truthful as the husbands of both concerned have Alzheimer’s, then it was not clear if their respective partners had much idea of the significance of today’s date.

The most important thing for us today was a visit that we were due to have made by a nurse who specialises in Meg’s health condition. She was due to see us at 1.00pm and indeed, when we met, she thought she had probably seen Meg at least five years earlier or certainly well before the pandemic burst upon us. We had a very productive meeting and one of the outcomes is that Meg will be prescribed some new medication which may be helpful to her in controlling or moderating some of the symptoms. Time will tell, though, and we shall just have to wait and see what medication. works and what does not. There always seems to be a massive empiricism in the way that the medical profession works these days, very much on the theory ‘Lets try this and if it fails to work, lets try that’ Nonetheless, despite the fact that we had a very successful meeting with the calming words ‘do get in touch with us at any time you need to’ I realised that, although I had a generic telehone number, I did not have an email address to utilise. So I searched the leaflet that I had been given but no email address was evident. I searched the web for the units involved, but again no email address was evident. So I phoned the unit and asked if I could be given the email address of our contact only to be told that individual email addresses were never given out. So to contact the nurse who had been seen us this afternoon, I had to sent off a generic email to the team of which she is a part with a request that it could be forwarded to her. I can sort of see the reason for this caution but it does not help communication from me to them in the short term and I wonder whether they could be somewhat more transparent in their policies – particularly when the ‘How to contact us’ page does not indicate how contact by email is at all possible. We had lunch very late in the day after our extended lunchtime visit and the afternoon was thus somewhat truncated. Nonetheless, we enjoyed aother excruciatingly funny episode of ‘Outnumbered’ in which the harassed mother/wife was trying to to take three hyperactive children, as well as a parent with Alzheimers, to a fun day out to the zoo but all wanted to visit the loo, whilst in the middle of a massive traffic jam. At the same time, the husband was being ‘disciplined’ for racism at the school in which he was a history teacher by making a jocular remark to a Muslim child whose father just happened to be on the Board of Governers – and so on.

So far, I have avoided comment on what the BBC is labelling the Israel-Gaza conflict but after a couple of days, some terrible things are starting to emerge. The first thing that strikes me is the way in which side is completely dehumanisng the other, almost regarding the other side as vermin to be exterminated. So the Hamas fighters who made incursion into the townships in Israel just beyond the Gaza border got to the venue of a youth pop festival and seemed to slaughter everybody on sight – I think up to a total of nearly 300. Those who were not killed in some of the other villages were abducted as hostages including babes in arms. Meanwhile the Israelis are cutting off all water, food and power to the residents of Gaza which must amount to a war crime. This is warfare as we have never seen it before – the rules of war were generally observed with enemy combatants regarded as fair game to ‘kill or be killed’ and whilst tanks and armed soldiers battled it out, civilians were not deliberately targeted. But in the present conflict, it is as though the rules of war had never been promulgated and even describing it as a war is a bit of a misnomer where one side has tanks and armoured vehicles but the other side has none. The rest of the world is watching with a kind of fascinated horror but I have seen no attempt by any side to the conflict to even begin a peace or mediation process of any kind. One can only hope that things do not get worse beore they get better but I am not holding my breath.