The last place I thought I would find inspiration for my geriatric rotation reflection was my Twitter feed. The irony being that the majority of adults over the age of 65 are in all probability still foreign to social media. But, that’s exactly where I found my motivation. During my daily surfing/procrastination I came across a wedding announcement, of all things, that wholly underlined the words of one attending, “age is not a number”. Over this month I’ve gotten to see up close and visit with patients in the clinic, skilled nursing facilities, and other clinical settings that resemble Ms. Bryant (97) and Mr. Haire (87) [see hyperlink to article above]. From the 92 year old gentleman who still smoked his daily cigar and drank his daily beer and slyly requested his bath aide be female to the truculent 85 year old retired nurse who pointedly required that all of her medications be laid out and explained.
It’s a poignant and heartwarming story that truly shows many things do not change as we age. Nowhere is this clearer than in Mr. Haire’s unabashed honesty when it comes to bearing his true feelings. Best expressed as, “I can attest that it doesn’t get easier even in advanced age.” I also truly appreciate the fierce loyalty and independence that comes across with the line, "The bride, 97, is keeping her name." And together the bridge and groom being initially reluctant to be cast as a “couple” in their retirement community, as the article points out, a “couple” being a widow and widower who have dinner together. The whole scene tepidly brings to mind first loves and high school gossip. A reminiscence that at 90 is just as real and at times painful as it is at 16. The lesson of age not being a number will be the life lesson I take away from my month on geriatrics.