Saturday, 5 May 2007

How old is old?

Today, I admitted a 97 year old woman to hospital with dehydration due to diarrhoea.

Ninety-seven.

This woman is seriously old.

When I was eight years old, I couldn’t even conceive of being so old that my age had double figures. When I started high school, to me, the fourth years were grown ups weren’t they? When I started medical school, aged 18, I though 60 was old because, you’re nearly retired.

Since starting work as a doctor, my perception of age has changed yet again. If I see a 55 year old patient, I describe him as “young.” A 66 year old retired woman is still “quite young.”

I don’t start thinking of people as being “old” until they’re about 75 to 80.

It’s funny how your perceptions change as you go through life. I think when I was eight years old, I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me that there were people who were still alive at 80.

Still, to have lived 97 years makes you bloody old.

3 comments:

Ruairidh said...

That's what happens as medicine progresses!

Considering that hundreds of years ago, reaching 35 was quite a feat and it still is in some 3rd world countries!

I'm really enjoying your blog by the way!

:)

The Junior Doctor said...

Thank you Ruairidh and welcome. Today's oldest patient was a spritely 95!

luna said...

in the bible they're all hundred of years old,and apparently we are genetically able to live at least until 120...
My grandmother started calling herself old at 85.