Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 2 Nov, 2023

Thursday

Mum seemed to be getting back on the right track. She wasn’t entirely comfortable but she was awake, responsive and lucid. I couldn’t make out everything she said but at least she wasn’t talking to anybody else. There were a few mentions of things above the curtains again but they didn’t worry me. When the main light is out the little side-light makes odd shadows above the pelmet and her AMD does her no favours in low light. There was some chat about my day – getting soaked walking the dog (again), getting home filthier than the dog (as per) – and what a colossal pain in the backside Lesley’s dad had been today (also as per).

Lesley’s been trying for weeks to get Social Services out to her dad to get some new kit in his home to help with being able to hear the phone and TV. The poor social worker was there for two hours and came up with a number of suggestions. He turned them all down. Rather than talk about his impaired hearing, he wanted to talk about any old rubbish. Lesley was not pleased.

“But dad, we talked the other day about this. You’ve been asking for these things for ages and this appointment has been on your calendar for weeks”

“Was that the appointment? I thought she’d just come round for a chat”

Then, later…

“Right, get your coat on. I’m taking you to the doctor.”

“Why? There’s nothing on the calendar.”

“That’s because I only made the appointment this morning”

“What’s it for?”

If I’d been there myself I’d have been sorely tempted to say “Because you’re a flaming idiot” but it was because the suspicion was that the fall and the confusion were down to a UTI and they will only process a urine sample if requested by a clinician. The talking rubbish isn’t entirely a symptom of the UTI. He always does it. Lesley says I owe her mum an apology. For decades I said that she was the stupidest person I’d ever met. Lesley’s right. That’s not true anymore.

I finished another lap of Tales From The Parish and asked mum what she’d like me to read next.

“Just read the next one”

So round we go again.

There was a minor kerfuffle when the night shift arrived. Lily was missing again. Not for long though. One of the nurses thought the unthinkable and looked in what’s probably the last place anyone would look.

“It’s OK! She’s asleep in her room!” which prompted expressions of disbelief all round.

On my way out I stopped to talk to Glenys as she popped in and out of the meds store. While we chatted, I heard a request for help behind me. It’s Shirley. She’s new and has been caught out by something I’ve only just realised. The jacket I wear when I go to visit mum is almost the same colour as the tunics senior nurses wear there.

“Can you help me please?”

“Sorry Sheila, I’m just on my way home. One of these ladies will be able to help”

“Oh. When are you coming back?”

Glenys, her colleagues and every other resident in the lounge replied in unison

“He’ll be back in tomorrow!”

Bibliography

Tales from the Parish: 31 humorous short stories about community, family and village life, set in the English countryside

Kindle Edition

by Stefania Hartley

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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