My husband didn’t notice that I wasn’t in bed when he got up one morning.
Chris gets up at 5.30am as he works away in Birmingham and starts at 8am. I’d been wrestling with a tickly cough all evening and inevitably, every time I tried to go to sleep a nagging tickle would make me cough and cough. After 3 bouts of this, I felt so sorry for Chris trying to get to sleep beside me, that at midnight I grabbed my phone (my alarm clock) and put on my dressing gown and went downstairs to sleep on the sofa.
I was on holiday from work so it didn’t really matter to me whether I slept or not, along as wasn’t disturbing Christopher…
I must’ve tired myself out with all the coughing, as I slept quite well in bursts – the porch light kept on coming on because it was windy and it illuminated the whole of downstairs as we have clear glass panes in our doors downstairs, but all was quiet. (Of course ALL nights are quiet when you’re deaf – your hearing aids abandoned on the bedside table!)
A different light woke me at about 5.30 – the kitchen light – and a gentle waft of toast floated around my makeshift bed on the sofa. After finishing his breakfast, Chris went back upstairs to get dressed and then he left, around ten past 6. He doesn’t usually wake me to say goodbye as it’s so early, so I wasn’t surprised that he didn’t pop his head round the door to say bye.
So when he didn’t mention the fact that he hadn’t seen me in bed that morning, or he saw that I was asleep on the sofa I thought it was a little odd.
Later that day…
“I slept on the sofa last night because I didn’t want to disturb you with my coughing.” I announced when we were having dinner that night, giving him the chance to remember that he’d seen me there and maybe reply: “Of course! Thank you, is your cough better now?” or something along those lines.
No, his reply was – “Did you?”
“Didn’t you notice I wasn’t in bed when you got up this morning?” I asked, dumbfounded.
“Didn’t you see me asleep on the sofa?”
“I thought I was disturbing you with my coughing,” I told him, slightly hurt.
“Really? No, didn’t hear you. I was fast asleep.”
“Oh my God!” I exclaimed, “Am I invisible?”
“Who said that…?!”
I’ve heard it said that the older you get, the more invisible you become. Not in a Harry Potter invisibility cloak kind of way, but the way the world notices you, or rather doesn’t notice you. Why is that? Are older people to be overlooked or ignored or not listened to? Are we not as important as the younger generations?
Of course it’s not true. We are valued in society in numerous ways. We have Help the Aged, Fall Clinic, Old People’s Homes and Michael Parkinson trying to sell us Funeral Plans. Not to mention chairs that tip us out at the flick of a switch, Silver Star Holidays and Grecian 2000!
Now, I know I’m making light of quite a serious subject, but I believe it all comes down to whether you let yourself be ignored or overlooked. I’ll speak up if I feel I need to. I’ll stand up for myself. I’ll volunteer information. And if I’m being treated disrespectfully I’ll complain about it.