Thursday 26 August 2021

Too old?

Now I know I'm getting old. 

It's not because of the flabby bat-wing skin on my arms or the way I sometimes doze off in the afternoon. It's because a pharmacist in a large outlet of a well-known chemist refused to sell me a self-testing UTI kit and his reason: "I'm sorry, Madam, but you're too old."

Too old to test my own urine! Does he think that I'll fall and hurt myself when assuming the position or that I'll miss the bottle, wee on the floor and slip on all the vast amounts of liquid? As you can guess, I was incensed. 

The reason for wanting to buy my own testing kit was that the GPs are reluctant to test for UTIs since Covid. However, after much persuasion I was tested, have almost finished the course of antibiotics and am feeling much better, thank you for asking.

This was my first experience of ageism - not so with sexism. I grew up long before the #metoo culture. I hope this movement has improved life for women but sexism was a part of our lives back in the day, especially at work. One incident of many sticks out in my memory. I was a teacher governor and the only woman on the Board of Governors. During one meeting the Head told me to go and make the tea for everyone. I lowered my voice and muttered in his ear, "Go and make it yourself." He did. It was a bit of a risk job-wise but what a cheek!

As I say, I hope society has moved on since those days. I have noticed that recently, when I park a car, men no longer say, "Well done!" I am a driver. It's what drivers do and I have been driving for a scarily long time - 54 years. Which brings me back to ageism. I have not been on public transport since before Covid but I suspect when I start using buses again I will now be offered a seat by some young and sickeningly energetic person. I will, of course, accept the seat offer graciously but that 'young girl' inside me will balk, just momentarily, and then I'll sit down with the obligatory exclamation of, "Ooof" and gratefully take the weight off my poor old aching feet.

We can't fight the ageing process and I am trying to grow old gracefully, I'm not yet wearing purple with hats that don't go, but I am still at a loss to understand why a retail pharmacist refused to sell me a UTI testing kit because of my age.