filthy weather

Douglas has been suffering from chronic fatigue, but no-one’s found anything wrong. His blood pressure tends to the low, which makes him slightly more susceptible to giddy spells when he gets up; his appetite is a little off, and he has to be reminded to eat, but the last blood test was unremarkable, and he has no other concerning symptoms. Physically and mentally he’s in remarkably good shape for someone of ninety-five.
He’s sitting by the window of his fourth floor flat, staring out across the lawns and roads to the sea, his gnarly old hands draped over the handle of his stick. The wind’s been picking up all day. Dark clouds are streaming in from the horizon, and even from this distance, you can feel the waves lumping onto the beach.
A sudden rattle of spray hits the window and makes me jump.
‘It’s coming in now,’ says Douglas. ‘Thirty years I was in the Navy. The war and what have you. I’ve seen some filthy weather.’
‘There’s no way I could have gone to sea,’ I tell him. ‘I get sea-sick. Last time I was in a boat I was this close to jumping overboard and swimming back.’
‘Shooting’s quicker.’
‘Anything rather than stay on a boat.’
‘Yes, well. One gets used to anything in time.’
He turns his attention back to the window. I finish writing my report.
‘So… everything seems fine, Douglas. We’re just left with this unexplained tiredness. What do you think is causing it?’
‘I don’t know,’ he says, raising his eyebrows. ‘I’ve thought about it a good deal, of course. There’s really only one conclusion I can reach.’
‘What’s that?’
He lowers his chin onto his hands.
‘I’m ninety-five,’ he says.

2 thoughts on “filthy weather

  1. I think so, too. It’s easy to forget how old the patients are sometimes. I don’t know how much mojo I’ll have left when I’m ninety-five (if I make it that far…)

    Had Christmas day off and it was great, thanks, Jack. How about you? Hope you had a good one. I’ve been back at work since and I must admit it already feels like an age ago 🙂


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