Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 20 Dec, 2023

Wednesday

Mum was on pretty good form this afternoon. She says she’s fed up. That’s much more like her old self.

She said she didn’t understand what had happened to her so I went through it again. No sugar-coating. She doesn’t remember being in The Hospital but she did remember the home in Epping Forest. Possibly.

She was a bit taken aback by how long ago that was. It’s been a couple of weeks since she last asked this but this time I felt more confident that she understood what I was saying. She’ll sometimes say that she doesn’t know what to do which I take to be shorthand for “I hate the state I’m in but don’t know what to do about it”. I pre-empted the follow-up by telling her that she lost a lot of weight in hospital and it’s left her very weak so she needs to allow the nurses to get her out of bed, get more mobile and eat more. All I get is an expression that says “But there has to be another way”.

Then she complained that her shoulders and elbows were stiff. She still doesn’t like the “move more, eat more” response. I decided to speak to Juliette about some physiotherapy. It was actually part of her care package when she was in the home in Epping Forest but she always refused it. She’s highly likely to refuse again if offered.

I was there long enough to have the honour of feeding Mum her tea. They’ve clearly given up with sandwiches and a bowl of Weetabix mashed up in cream and sugar arrived with a smoothie and a cup of tea.

“She likes it” said Hakim. Nevertheless he was pleasantly surprised that I’ve got her to finish both the cereal and the smoothie in double-quick time.

As per normal, eating causes her some gastric ‘turbulence’. I think that that contributes a lot to her reluctance to eat. No point saying that it would be easier if she moved more and ate more though. But the pain brings on another round of Dead Uncles although it soon subsided and I left her to sleep.

A note about the ‘Uncles’. The prefix Uncle can be applied to her actual uncles but also to her brother, her cousins and even me sometimes. I don’t know why she does it but I’ve seen something similar before.

When Mum was the stroke rehab ward at The Hospital a lady was admitted into the bed diagonally opposite. She may not have been 40 but she’d had a catastrophic stroke. She kept asking for an appointment. On day one the staff spent ages explaining to her that the doctors were always there and that she didn’t need one. By my next visit though the conversation had changed.

“Nurse! I need an appointment!”

“You need the commode?”

“Yeah”

The poor woman had, apparently, been a dentist’s receptionist and the stroke had impaired her language skills. So when she needed something and couldn’t find the right word she substituted a word she was extremely familiar with. Quite how the nurses worked that out so quickly blew me away. Nothing short of witchcraft to understand unfailingly what she actually meant when she said what she said.

 

So maybe that’s the situation mum’s in. Quite what Tony (or whoever) would think of being a pseudonym for a ‘Tricky Stool’ I can’t imagine. I doubt it’ll make the next edition of Roget’s Thesaurus to be honest.

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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