The taxi ride – S/W Hampshire 30/1/2019

I had an interesting discussion with the taxi driver this evening. I wouldn’t really call it a discussion. Let’s say that he spoke and I listened. So I arrived in Southampton safely as planned. Went to the taxi rank outside the station and waited patiently for a taxi. Along came a taxi, a very big one at that. You never get a large taxi when you need one. Anyway this stretch salon came along and in I went.

I sat in front as usual. I like to see where I am going from the front. I am quite nosy like that. I try to have a general idea which direction the car should be travelling in, wherever I go. I am after all not familiar with this town. This actually may be my 3rd or 4th visit. But one thing for sure is that the hotel is 12mins away. I always look on google maps for directions and timings. At my age it would be very annoying to be taken on an unauthorised sight seeing tour, for a place that’s literally round the corner.

All I can say is that a lot can happen in 12 minutes. I literally got the past, present and future health history of the taxi driver. Pleasant man, he had a lot to say. And I am a great listener after all. Anyway, I had nowhere else to go. I just sat and listened and of course gave some short responses, “oh really…. “that’s interesting”… “what happened”…. sorry to hear that…. etc etc….

I think he needed an ear to listen to. And here I was.

What I found out

So he has a hospital appointment to attend in a few weeks. He is going to have a gastric band procedure. He understands fully that he is overweight and has decided on having a gastric band to continue with the weight loss. He has lost 2 stones so far. He choose the gastric band because he feels that it carries the least complications. I didn’t want to frighten him by say… anything surgical carries a risk… sometimes a very high risk… nothing is least. I am not the bearer of bad news.

Two years ago he had a hip operation. That went very well. But unfortunately he is experiencing constant and increasing knee pain because he is over weight. He was previously a heavy drinker, consuming 1.5 litres of vodka a week. So the majority of his weight is around his stomach region. He has managed to reduce his drinking considerably and will be tea total by 1st March when he goes into hospital for his procedure.

He is married and has one child, a daughter of 34, who still lives at home. His wife had a stoke 6yrs ago. As a result of the stroke, she lost her ability to walk and talk. She has a live-in career who assists her 9 hours a day. The rest of the time, he looks after her when he is not working. His intentions is to outlive his wife, so he can take care of her. To do that, he would need to reduce his associated risk , in his case, obesity. As we know obesity is linked to many health issues…..

Generally, he sounded like he has thought this through and had a great plan. He was so convinced by his plan. He had a lot of insight into his problem and a practical solution. And was making effort towards his goal. Such as making his own meals. I’m not sure anyone can talk him out of it. Not that I wanted to though. I am glad I had the opportunity to listen to him and I didn’t need to do any sort of health promotion talk, which is usually the norm. And I didn’t need to sit there listening to someone convince themselves that they are happy with their bad habits, that’s even worse.

Like I said, I am a good listener. That’s just my package