NHS Hospital

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 4 Jun, 2023

Sunday

Mum was more responsive today and said she felt much better. She was back on a paracetamol drip though. I was told later that that was just precautionary though. It felt as though they either hadn’t an answer they could believe or understand when they’d asked her if she was in any pain or they thought that if she wasn’t in any pain at that point then she soon would be.

I asked her her what she’d had for breakfast. She couldn’t remember.

“Was it porridge or something Mum?”

“Yeah. Porridge or something.”

Her answer was just to repeat what I said.

I ran through all the people who’d been to see her yesterday but she didn’t respond. She had no recall of me feeding her yesterday evening either.

I left her for a few moments to find a doctor to ask about the scan on Mum’s heart only to find that there are no doctors on that ward at weekends. I did discover that the scan still hadn’t been done because, y’know, it’s the weekend and that. Surely Mum had to be considered high risk until that had been done, no?

On the family chat, Youngest Sister noted that the notice above Mum’s bed in the other ward had been updated with a line saying Mum needed to be reminded to swallow when she was being fed. That information hadn’t travelled with her to the new ward. We were left with the distinct impression that if you’re in hospital and have to be transferred to another ward, make sure it doesn’t happen at a weekend because the handover won’t be good.

When I returned to Mum a nurse came to tell me that Mum had had another visitor that morning and that she thought it was a nun. I guessed that it had been Mum’s vicar. She was a frequent visitor to The Hospital as she lived nearby and there was always someone from her parish in there. Whoever it had been, they’d asked if Mum had had many visitors and the nurse had said “No”. I guessed, or rather hoped, she’d said “No, you’re the first today”. I explained, as Eldest Sister had yesterday, that there’s a visitor rota with a name on it every day and that there had been five of us yesterday.

Some time later I spotted a familiar face. This nurse told me that Mum was more responsive and eating well. My only thought was that I was going to have to be careful as this was the nurse that got me to feed Mum yesterday.

Mum had been completely out for the count but came round long enough for me to explain that I wouldn’t there tomorrow as a cousin was coming over from California for a memorial service for his mum. I ran through the visitor schedule for the next couple of days and she nodded to all of that. Only at this stage was I convinced Mum had known who I was. I didn’t think she’d known when I first got there.

But then the smell from the kitchen told me that supper was on its way and that it was time to make myself scarce.

Author’s Note

My Mum is in a nursing home in a small village in the Thames Valley. The photo is not of the home. I used an AI image generator to give the reader some idea of the home she’s in.

All, some or maybe even none (you’ll never know!) of the names have been changed to protect privacy and hide real identities. If you think you recognise someone then let me know and I’ll edit the post or remove it entirely

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