Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 4 Jan, 2024

Thursday

Mum was on the way down into another hypoactive Sleepy phase today. She barely said anything and only woke up when I told her it was one of her grandson’s birthday.

I never have much to tell her – ‘it’s pissing down with rain again’ isn’t that interesting. She didn’t even react when I told her that the farmland which the Tory council granted planning permission for a housing estate on in one of their last acts before getting their arses kicked at the last local elections was more flooded than I’d ever seen it.

So I offered to read to her and she signalled her assent with a weak nod of the head. I decided to return for another lap of the stories about the Nigerian priest in the Cotswold parish. The chapters only take 5 minutes to read but I hadn’t got half-way through the first one when she was snoring loudly. She didn’t even react when I said I was going.

I wasn’t sure when Mum was last out of bed for anything other than her weekly weigh-in so I asked Juliette. She told me that while she thought it was doing Mum good to sit in the lounge, the staff there reported that mum would point blank refuse to eat or drink anything when she was there so they thought it was counter-productive. I think they’d given up on the idea for the time being.

I realised that I didn’t often get the chance to see how mum engaged with staff. If I was around at pad-change time I would have to leave the room. If I was there at meal-times then they’re only too pleased to leave the process of feeding her to me. If you asked her, when she’s moaning about no-one coming to see her, about all the staff coming and going all day she says they don’t count. I suspect she’s not engaging with them at all now.

The one person I’d actually seen her try to engage with is Shirley. That’s possibly because I do when Shirley visited. The problem is that Shirley would rather talk to me and ignored mum. And in any event, when Shirley is discovered in mum’s room she’s kicked out pronto. Perhaps sitting mum next to Shirley in the lounge would be the answer. The logistics of that could be tricky as that row of chairs all have occupants who would object to an interloper sitting in My Seat.

Youngest Sister picked up on a point in the family chat:

“Nick, you mentioned mums weekly weigh-ins. What does she weigh now compared to what she weighed when she arrived there?”

Just off the top of my head I remembered that she did lose a little weight when she first arrived while she got used to the new diet but they stabilised her at around 50kg. She’d been that for months but I hadn’t seen a record for any date in December and she did seem to have got markedly weaker recently. They couldn’t always get a weight for her. I think she often declined to cooperate and they can’t do much without her consent.

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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