I agree with Edith Piaf when I hear a recording of her singing ‘Je ne regrette rien’, but it sounds so much more elegant than ‘I regret nothing’!
I’m used to feeling a bit sorry for myself – coming from a poor family, being brought up in London’s East End in a cold-water tenement infested with bed bugs and mice, probably a bit malnourished, dragged away from my family to be evacuated far from home, childhood illnesses, a string of adult accidents and illnesses etc etc.
But I am now re-reading David Eagleman’s fascinating book ‘The Brain.’ According to him, all these experiences helped my brain to develop, forged new neural connections and put off the time I might finally lose my marbles.
I seemed to be doing fine after my heart attack. I’d had a couple of stents inserted to reopen my blocked coronary arteries, but then I deteriorated and needed to have an intra-aortic heart pump and be put on a ventilator. When I came all off those and the heavy sedation, not only did I have a series of weird hallucinations and delusions, but often I couldn’t think of the word for something (nominal aphasia). That’s gradually improved, though I think ‘It’s on the tip of my tongue’ more often than before my coronary occlusion. It makes me feel better when someone much younger than me says they can’t think of the exact word they’re after.
At 88, I no longer have the photographic memory that helped me through my exams, but I am attending classes in Music and Art History, I have piano lessons and I am about to join a beginners’ class in Classical Greek (PG).
I love being the oldest person in the class even though I may now be a penny short of a pound!!
I thank all those lovely people who read and commented on stories like this in my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’.