A Doctor Writes:
Announcing an intention to retire from public life in 2029 aged 94 is a not uncommon disease (aka syndrome) amongst 82 year olds and need not necessarily be a cause for worry. Retirement from Public Life is, by and large, something the average male will die with rather than from.
Cases of Retirement from Public Life (RfPL) are believed to have increased significantly since the 1970s when the disease first came into the spotlight following the high profile case of singer, actor and multiple-marriage pioneer Frank Sinatra. The singer suffered Recurrent-RfPL (R-RfPL) for more than a decade, retiring from public life on at least six occasions. Only the last proved fatal.
Since then researchers have sought better to understand the causes and treatment of this little-understood disease. Ageing is now believed to be a common underlying symptom.
So what can I do if I am a sufferer?
RfPL - which is often accompanied by tell-tale signs such as tiredness, boredom, listlessness, forgetfulness, trapped wind and ennui - can be treated in a variety of ways including regular doses of Phyllosan, the administration of prescribed day-time television (Countdown is particularly effective in some cases) and (when accompanied by bed wetting) the liberal use of incontinence pads. Patients are advised to consider purchase of a Stannah Stairlift and a particularly cumbersome and ugly Weston Dual Motor Riser Recliner Chair. A commode may be advisable in advanced cases as well as a mop and air-freshener.
Are all cases the same?
No. RfPL comes in many forms and has many root causes, though doctors believe most conform to one of two types:
Type A: Benign RfPL: in cases of BRfPL most patients will lead a normal, if rather quiet, life and will be almost unaffected in their ability to perform routine tasks unassisted. Over time the patient’s condition may deteriorate and they may need assistance with shopping, lighting fires, reaching for infrequently used items and (non-asymptomatically) toilet hygiene. Such patients often respond to "a good talking to".
Type B: Non-benign RfPL: in cases of N-BRfPL extreme caution should be exercised since the patient is likely to end in a proto-amoebic state with someone (usually YOU!) left carrying the can (literally). Symptoms include an inability to sit, stand, lie down, think, remember, move and/or wake-up.
As leading authority Dr Art Terry has noted: Some cases of N-BRfPL take the form of a hideous and agonising life-limiting disease which reduces patients to a disgusting malodorous doubly-incontinent mindless pox-ridden suppurating vegetable best kept in a disposable bucket.
In such cases professional help should be sought immediately and advice taken on sourcing both a suitable bucket and a one-way ticket to a foreign destination.
My relatives are worried. What should they do?
In most cases RfPL is a progressive longterm disease and, though not infectious, relatives and loved-ones are advised to take early self-protective steps including maintaining a safe distance (cordon insensitive) lest the patient become demanding and their constant neediness inconvenient and inimical to a carer's social life. Early (fleeting) contact with the sufferer to ensure the security of one's place in the patient’s will is advisable but thereafter face-to-face meetings should be kept to a minimum and institutionalisation and/or euthanasia consent forms investigated at the earliest opportunity.
Is there life after RfPL?
Yes and no. Yes, patients often continue to exist, sometimes living with RfPL for many decades, but as far as the public is concerned the patient might as well be dead. In this respect, RfPL is a cruel disease which many sufferers seek to escape and even reverse. The attempt to do this is called Re-emergence into Public Life Syndrome (RiPLS) - a far more dangerous and insidious affliction with which the public have, hitherto, shown little sympathy (see for example Ima Trick-Cyclist's Batman Returns: Why?, The Theadbone Press (2016).
Retirement from Public Life (RfPL) is a disease which, according to medical opinion, we should all try better to understand. TOP: Artist's impression of a doctor, not necessarily identical to the one who writes above (other doctors are available); BOTTOM LEFT: Weston Dual Motor Riser Recliner Chair, several patients report excellent ergonomic results but note very unpleasant aesthetic side-effects; TOP RIGHT: A recent advertisement for Phyllosan said to "fortify the over forties", though over 80s need not be deterred. Depression during RfPL is optional and not generally recommended after 6pm.