Duration: 5:06 minutes
Accession No: TWCMS : 2009.418
This story has been viewed 2179 times
Ali tells us about a time when he broke the rules.
By Ali Finlayson
You need Adobe Flash installed to watch this movie.
Get Adobe Flash
My name is Ali Finlayson and my story is called Grandad’s Tablets’ Rules. It’s a tale of danger and courage, risk and reward and very differently and about the learning of a lesson.
Its starts when I was diagnosed with Parkinsons in May 2005. My reaction was twofold – shock and relief. Shock, yes, just what you’d expect. But relief, yes, strange though that may sound it is a fairly common response to the diagnostic news. At least now I could put a name to what was happening to my body. That little piece of previously un-held knowledge made my circumstances just that little bit less terrifying.
Now let me introduce you to the central character in my tale. My five year old granddaughter is everything a granddaughter should be - gorgeous, intelligent and loving, curious, exhausting and cheeky. My wife and I have been lucky enough to have her stay overnight with us most Saturdays since she was a few months old. We love having her stay, she enjoys being with nan and granddad and it gives her mum and dad a wee break.
She knows I have something wrong with me called Parkinson’s. Although naturally she does not understand what that really means, she knows, for example, that my medication is a regular and essential daily feature of my life. One of her enthusiasms is a keenness to help around the house and so we give her little jobs to do which allow her to earn her some pocket money. One of those jobs she knows as ‘doing grandad’s tablets’. The task consists of her helping me to fill my pill tray with a week’s supply of Mirapex and Sinemet together with Oxytetracycline which I take for rosacea. I take each tablet out of its bubble pack and hand it to her. She very carefully puts it in the appropriate daily compartment in the tray. As you can imaging she is very proud of the fact she is doing an important job for me and she does it well, very well. Over time she had become familiar with the number, colour and correct name for each pill that I take. As a result she probably knows more about the detail of my prescription than anyone in the rest of the family.
I have to stress here that we take all the normal medicine safety precautions which you would expect when a young child is concerned. We regularly stress to her that they are good for granddad but bad for other, especially little, people. She should never pick one up if she sees one on the floor and above all she must never put one in her mouth. She knows to tell a grown up if she finds one. Those are the rules. But of course, with the best will in the world there are no guarantees and as I mentioned above my granddaughter is a naturally curious wee girl and rules are there to be broken.
One day we had the family round, my son and his fiancée, my granddaughter’s parents, were there and our daughter was home with us as well. My granddaughter was there of course being her usual self playing with her toys, reading books, drawing and doing what she was put on this earth to do, plying grown ups with questions. There came a point when she had been pestering me in particular for some time. I was trying to listen to my son I think who was also talking to me. My granddaughter kept on insistently trying to get my attention and I gradually got more and more irritated with her as her behaviour to my mind became more than enthusiastic questioning. She was now being naughty. Finally, having told her to hold on several times, I turned to her and abruptly told her to be quiet and stop being so rude. At the sound of my voice she stopped talking instantly. I continued my conversation with my son. A few moments later she started again, this time tapping me on the knee and just saying ‘Granddad, Granddad’ quietly but over and over again. Whilst still paying attention to my son this time I chose to pointedly ignore her. Just as pointedly she kept on trying to regain my attention.
Finally, I gave up and turned to her, obviously angry. I was on the point of giving her a proper telling off when my daughter stopped me in my tracks ‘Dad, she needs to talk to you’. By the tone of her voice I knew something was up, I needed to pay attention. I looked at my granddaughter, her wee face was serious, almost scared. My daughter pointed down. There on the floor, nearly hidden by the front of the sofa I was sitting on was the tablet. She had done exactly what she had hallways been told to do, tell a grown up if she found a tablet, or rather had tried her best to, and I had not been the most receptive of grown ups to say the least. It will be a long time before I forget the look on her face, scared but brave. How badly I felt at having treated her so harshly and unfairly when she was simply doing what she’d been told to do, obey the rules, many times.
I’m glad to say the situation was soon mended thanks to a big cuddle and an apology from granddad and loads of praise. On that occasion my granddaughter may have been the one who was still growing up but it was the grown up who had broken the rules. Different but equally important ones and learned a lesson. And so to the cuddle, the apology, the praise I owe her my thanks.