Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 22 Dec, 2023

Friday

We got Double Duffered today. Lesley’s dad’s GP phoned this morning at 9 to say that she’s seen his chest x-ray and the infection hasn’t gone so she’s prescribing a different antibiotic.

Lesley’s is the contact number for everybody and everything to do with her dad because he can’t hear what’s being said on the phone and on the odd occasions when he can hear he can’t understand or can’t remember what he heard. It’s an enormous burden on her.

There’s added urgency today because the village pharmacy will be shutting early. So Lesley tore off to collect the meds and fill his dosset box for him. He’s really struggling but seems unaware that he is. Lesley phones him every day and when asked how his cough is he says it’s “fine”. But as soon as she walks in the door it’s clear he’s still got a hacking cough.

“I thought you said your cough was better?”

“It is!”

“But you’ve still got it and it sounds awful”

“Have I?”

He’s also fallen on the toilet and broken the booster seat which was handy to discover at the start of the long weekend. The food deliveries he gets from his day centre are all going off in the fridge. He’d cancelled his day centre trip to the pub for lunch and had tried to cancel his delivery of fish & chips. He’s handed his repeat prescription form in late and to the wrong person so he’s going to miss a week. So he’s not eating, not drinking enough and is cocking up his meds. But he’s convinced he’s fine.

Obviously I got to mum later than intended. Not that I had a plan. There seems no point.

According to the schedule, mum should have been past the peak of her hyperactive phase and should be groggy and sleepy.

She isn’t.

The bed’s a wreck but she isn’t cold. I remake it as best I can but it’s tricky with someone who doesn’t have the strength to roll over onto their side. She didn’t protest though and there was no talk about going home either. Her only instruction was to mind the little bird sitting on the end of the bed. She carried on nattering away but I could make very little of it out. Not all of it was directed at me anyway and whoever she’s talking to is a lot more entertaining than I appear to be. In fact she seemed quite cheerful and even laughed occasionally. In amongst the bits I could understand she wondered when Nicholas is coming in.

“I’m here mum. It’s me”

She chuckled.

“Aaah, you don’t mean me do you? You mean the other one.”

“Yeah”

She gave me a look that said “I don’t know. What are you like?”

The nattering faded away and she fell asleep. I realised I’d just witnessed her transition from hyperactivity to hypoactive delirium. According to the schedule, she’ll be sleepy tomorrow and Christmas Eve with a chance that she’ll be coming up out of it by Christmas Day. Or not.

I forgot to mention the Christmas cards yesterday. While I was showing her the cards that had come via us there were a couple that had gone directly to The Home.

There was a card from Youngest Sister and her partner. I told Mum who it was from.

“Eh?” she said.

I told her again but I wasn’t convinced she knew who I meant.

“Oh. We should write and thank them”

So this is me doing that.

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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