That long-term NHS plan? My dad needs it now | Alex Clark

The kindness and humanity we encountered when my 80-year-old father fell ill was amazing – but the system can’t run on it

Dad, 80, who until recently was working shifts in a hotel, doing an elderly friend’s shopping, and volunteering as a companion for the isolated and vulnerable for Age UK, is sick. Really sick. Naturally slender, he is now skeletal; his skin falls off in sheets; he digests little; he can barely walk for the pain. In summer, as he visited my new home in rural Ireland, we cut down a tree together and climbed the side of a waterfall (admittedly, in Withnail fashion, by accident). At Christmas, he asked: “What’s happening to me?” I replied: “We don’t know; we’ll find out; you will get better,” and went outside, shoved my fist in my mouth and bit down.

The big giveaway: he has put on his corduroy trousers, hitherto shunned because “only old people wear them”. But they are warm, and he is freezing, even when the heating in his small flat is cranked up to 11. Used to weathering the odd menopausal personal sauna, I take to turning up in a T-shirt. If I didn’t think he was suffering enough, it would be a bikini.

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Source: The Guardian
That long-term NHS plan? My dad needs it now | Alex Clark