Old person-a-rama!

One thing about my job is the old people. Here are some observations about old people. (Don't get me wrong, I defected FROM paediatrics to do Emergency Med. I like old people).

1. Some old people can talk a LOT. Especially if you ask them about what they've been eating, or who does their grocery shopping. When I listen to an old person talk I can't help but think of the Simpsons episode where Grampa Simpson tells a really long boring story as an old-person weapon:

We can't bust heads like we used to. But we have our ways. One trick is to tell stories that don't go anywhere. Like the time I caught the ferry to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for m'shoe. So I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt. Which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. Gimme five bees for a quarter, you'd say. Now where was I... oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time. You couldn't get white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...

And then if I'm really tired I'm in danger of laughing really really loudly while the old person is telling me, "...oats aren't what they used to be. Oats these days, they come in a box. You see I'm used to storing my oats in a jar..."

2. Old people would be great in a zombie movie!!
On Black Saturday last year- the day of the Victorian bushfires- I was the general medical resident at the Werribee Hospital. (already a black Saturday, I know). I knew it was going to be hot, but the weather was actually apocalyptic. The skies were black and enormous tumbleweeds tore past the windows. At 3pm it reached 46 degrees and the airconditioning broke. By 4pm the old people ARRIVED! A stream of delirious, dehydrated old people. I was sweating like a runner putting in drip after drip. Meanwhile, the old people roamed the hallways, mumbling, calling out, "Vernon. Vernon?". Some of them just sat at the 'bus stop'- a row of chairs near the nurses' desk.

A solid start to an awesome zombie movie!

3. Old people can fall over
One of the my favourite medical school tutorials of all time- assessing an old person for falls:
-ask the person to stand up, and see if they fall over
-ask them to close their eyes and see if they fall over
-if, perchance, the old person is still standing, give them a little push and see if they fall over.

Oh dear. Next time: children and the middle-aged!


  1. Yesterday I was just thinking that you know when you're getting old because you don't fall over; you 'have a fall'.

    I was thinking this while reading a sad police news story about an old man who went missing in Sorrento and then they found him, dead, having 'had a fall'.


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