The fact that almost daily young men and women in our Armed Forces are being killed or maimed in wars that have nothing whatsoever to do with us, and for reasons which could be thought spurious, brought this plea to the fore. If the world requires policing then the world should supply the policeman, not have it fall on our plate in the way it seems to.
I have been injured, housebound, and in considerable discomfort for the last five months. I’m not complaining because compared with many, rightly or wrongly I think I shall get better, and I’m lucky to have a comfortable home, a reasonable standard of living, and a number of interests to stimulate my day. I have to admit that in the past I might have occasionally thought about the plight of those people who are permanently in hospital, in care homes, or as I am, having limited range, companionship, and opportunities to do all the things that one used to do, but I didn’t give it the level of thought that my own experience would generate. I remember being told by a friend who was incarcerated in a ‘home’, of the tremendous joy of the inmates, purely by the visit of a woman with a dog. Life in a home is rather like life on a working ship. You have a circle of friends, if you’re lucky, you have your work, and the accommodation and the boundaries are very limiting. The one thing about being at sea is that the journey will end and you can go and enter a new existence for a short time. It is an activity that you have chosen fully knowing the limitations and accepting them without rancour. In the case of the injured, the handicapped, the geriatric and the hospitalised, in most cases they had no choice, there is no shore leave, and companionship is comparable or worse. Those with wider interests, who enjoy reading, the radio, even if they don’t get visitors, can stimulate themselves to some extent.
My concern therefore, is that those who through their education, the type of life they have a led in the past which might have been limited, find themselves totally bored out of their minds, after a few weeks, when the routine becomes heavily repetitive, and unrelieved. I feel that this is particularly sad for the young and the middle-aged, who through either war, sport, misadventure or ill-health are trapped in a sterile environment. I feel that there should be some mechanism, which enables them to find a new outlet for their imagination, and what little skills they might have retained, to stimulate them. There is no shadow of doubt that the social services are highly organised, certainly in my case gave valuable information, and sufficient help to make life bearable, if not stimulated. Inevitably, when you are first taken ill, you will have visits from all and sundry, but today life is no longer casual, it is urgent and with copious demands on time, and so the companionship must dwindle to those who are helping you, living with you, and have the time to visit. For the young and not so young this condition is a terrible change in lifestyle, and I am sure, hard to accommodate. Is there a remedy?