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  • An elderly patient rang me yesterday at work because she needed hospital transport for her outpatient appointment. There were unexpected problems when we tried to sort it. When we did we finally book the transport, the woman laughed wryly and remarked, 'What a way for me to spend my birthday!' Her comment made me realise just how lonely she was.

    I ignored the calls waiting (a mortal sin in my job) so we could chat. Five minutes was all I needed to learn a surprising amount about Eva.

    She turned 83 yesterday.
    She is as sharp as a woman half her age.
    She received one birthday card (from her niece), but didn't get a phone call as her niece is very busy at work.
    She considers herself an optimist.
    She loves playing the piano and composing music. Rachmaninov is her favourite composer, although she finds his music very difficult to play.
    The phone in her lounge room is unreliable - there are times when she can't hear people at the other end.
    The phone in the bedroom is better.
    She still can't believe her dearest friend died two years ago, and often catches herself thinking 'I must remember to tell Jane about that'.
    She can't get going early in the morning due to her arthritis.
    She is patient, gracious and accepts whatever life throws at her with good humour.

    Happy 83rd Birthday Eva, with love and admiration.
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