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It’s Dad’s first time in West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds aged 80.

PUBLISHED: 17:35 26 September 2017

first parking ticket in 63 years

first parking ticket in 63 years


Liz Nice’s dad has his first hospital stay in 80 years: is that a record?

My dad was in hospital last week. At least he won’t be getting any parking tickets in there, said everyone who read my recent columns about Dad’s parking battles. But I digress. Poor dad had cellulitis, a horrible condition that makes his leg swell up.

He cut rather a forlorn figure in his pyjamas at the West Suffolk hospital, but how beautifully the nurses looked after him. He only had to mention a slight bit of discomfort to me in passing and one of the nurses, who was dealing with another patient at the time, overheard and immediately came to check him for sores. The loving care he received, despite (or was it because of?) the double entendres he can’t resist throwing into pretty much every conversation, was touching. He’s 80. He’s not going to change now, is he?

Anyhow, there comes a moment in any child’s life when you finally see you parent as a bit on the vulnerable side and that may have been the first time for me. Incredibly, Dad has never been to hospital before – quite an achievement for a man his age – and he remains so active, still working for the family business, Yet he is, I finally had to admit last week, not entirely invincible. It seemed to be the theme of the evening because I then went to see the film Victoria and Abdul with my mother-in-law which is as fine a take on older age as you will ever see. This is Judi Dench’s stock in trade, see also Ladies in Lavender and her previous appearance as Victoria in Mrs Brown; a moving reminder that reaching the age when people stop paying us attention, doesn’t stop us longing for it; perhaps more than ever.

There was something extra special about Victoria and Abdul and the gentle way Abdul ushers Victoria towards the ‘banquet hall of eternity’ that was really touching. We intend to keep dad out of that banquet hall for a good while yet but when the time eventually comes, I am sure he, a cream tea aficionado, would far rather imagine an eternity not of death or ‘the other side’ but of sticky buns and cream cakes.

Has anyone got a better record than dad? 80 years without a hospital stay? Let me know at liz.nice@archant.co.uk

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