I never met one of my favourite clients, at least not face to face. She had been injured when she went into a branch of HSBC Bank and slipped on the floor, which was wet. This sounds like a fairly minor thing, but for a lady in her eighties it was quite significant, as it greatly reduced her ability to get about under her own steam. And this in itself was significant, because she was a confirmed spinster and fiercely independent.
Moreover, she was diabetic, so being unable to move meant that she wasn’t eating enough, or enough of the right things, and one Boxing Day she slipped into a diabetic coma. She was lucky that it was Boxing Day because a family member came to visit her, found her and had her whisked into hospital.
When she came out of hospital she decided that she would be better off living in a sheltered housing unit, where there were people around to keep an eye on her in case the same thing happened again.
We often spoke on the telephone, and she was always full of life and full of plans. She clearly didn’t believe that she was as old as her birth certificate said that she was. On the day that she moved in, she telephoned me, and of course I wasn’t surprised that she rang, even though I hadn’t actually known that she was moving that day. What did surprise me, though, was what she said:
“Mr O’Hagan, I’ve got a complaint about this new place”, she began
“Really?”, I replied
“Yes. There’s a terrible lack of toy boys here. All of the men are so old!”, followed by several seconds of girlish giggling.
We settled her case shortly after that, and not long after she passed away, peacefully in her sleep. Whether any toy boys were present I do not know, but I hope so.