Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fairwell, fair Penelope

I was just re-reading my earlier entries, and I saw the story about Penelope and Bingo, and realised I'd never updated about her. You will recall that I mentioned her age of 101 years old, with all her mental faculties intact.

Every morning after the tea and coffee are served (10am), Alison takes a cup of tea up to Penelope's room. Penelope made her own way down the stairs for lunch every day, and could still carry a conversation perfectly. For some reason Alison was about half an hour late in taking the tea one day. She found Penelope on the floor, having fallen and (unbeknownst at the time) broken her hip. The poor lady must have been in excruciating pain, but was apparently lucid and able to tell Alison that she'd barely been there five minutes. Alison buzzed for the personal carer and stayed with Penelope, knowing that she couldn't leave her and couldn't move her in case there was a broken bone. Minutes passed. The carers only receive a room number on the pager, and have no idea if there's an emergency or if someone has lost their reading glasses. Alison eventually had to yell out to the lady next door to run for my aunt down in the office, who called the ambulance.

I believe things happen for a reason. There's a reason that Alison was late that day. Had she not been, Penelope may have lain there for hours undiscovered.

So the hospital confirmed she'd broken her hip, and there was reason to believe her recovery would be long, but the more devastating news was that Penelope was now frail enough to be considered unsuitable for a self-care retirement village. When Penelope was told she'd have to go into a nursing home, she said, "Well this is it then. My time is over."

She died in her sleep three nights later. It's as if she gave in and chose when it was time to go. I was sad when I heard she wasn't returning, but really, really glad that she chose her way out of this world. I suspect most of us won't have the option or the courage to do the same when it's our time.

No comments:

Post a Comment