Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 8 Jan, 2024


Thought I’d visit mum a bit earlier today as it was snowing so hard. The road beyond The Home was still closed due to the Thames bursting its banks too. I saw Reggie’s car in the car park so some banter was expected. I managed to get as far as the rear lounge before I heard it.


“Hello Reggie. Alright?”

“Yeah, I’m good. I’m good. Iris is on good form today.”

“What’s she done now?”

“She told me she wants some new meds because she’s fed up with these ones.”

“Oh Gawd”

“And she’s had her toenails cut. She made so much noise we thought the chiropodist was cutting the whole toe off”

“Yeah, she does have sensitive feet. She even yells if I’m not careful enough putting her socks on”

“And Mother Theresa here has had some fun with her too today”

Terri, polite as ever, just said that mum had complained that her afternoon cake wasn’t very nice even though she ate all of it. We agreed that mum was generally a lot calmer now and that the yelling for me had (almost) completely stopped. She hadn’t tried to get out of bed recently either.

Reggie was on his way to mum to give her her chewable calcium tablet so we walked up the corridor together.

“Patricia wants to speak to you.” he said


“Yeah. It all kicked off in the lounge yesterday and she said she wanted to speak to that nice young man again. She says she’s got some more stories to go in that book you’re writing.”

“Wow. That was ages ago. I’m surprised she remembered. She had come out into the corridor because there was a strange woman in her room.”


“Yeah, Shirley. I waited with Pat until help arrived. She told me there were some really odd people here and that I should write a book.”

“Oh! Yeah, Patricia’s all there. Sadly she’s got terminal cancer but she’s still got it all up there.”

They were right. Mum was on good form. Nattering away about her aunties and her dad as if they’d been there this morning. I talked about the weather and the roads still being closed. I thought I’d get in early that I wasn’t going to be hanging around today. Her reply?

“Don’t leave me on me own.”

We talked about her having her feet done. Apparently, her feet are the only thing that’s preventing her from going home. She says she wants to go home but reluctantly agrees that she isn’t strong enough yet.

“How’s your arm today Mum? Sue said your arm was sore yesterday”

“Still sore”

Under interrogation she revealed that it’s her shoulder that’s giving her gyp, the one that she broke. She hasn’t told anyone about it but assures me that it doesn’t hurt when the staff dress or undress her.

Al arrived.

“Hello Mum (he always calls her Mum, at least when I’m there), what would you like for supper? Some sandwiches or a yoghurt?” he asked.

“I’d like a yoghurt please” and then…

“Don’t leave me on me own”

“What? You want me to leave you alone?”

“No, she’s telling me not to leave her on her own”

“Oh, OK”

“He’s nice isn’t he mum?” I said when Al had left.

“Yes. He is. He’s very nice”

He came back with her supper. As per usual, she pulled a face like she was being poisoned like she does with the first mouthful of anything she’s been given to eat. But, eventually, she finished a cup of tea, the yoghurt and the smoothie. I read for a bit as she dropped off to sleep. My phone pinged with some random social media alert. Without picking it up to see what it was I say..

“That’ll be Lesley sending me a message to come home and start cooking dinner”

“You’d better go then”

On my way out I see Reggie was with Audrey. She waved at me so I went over. She was holding a towel to her forehead.

“Hello Audrey. Are you alright? Is this man bothering you? I can tell him to go away if you like.”

He laughed.

“Well, you see, I’ve had a bump on the head and it’s above my hairline and they’re going to cut it off. It’s all a bit eewww”

I ignore the obvious joke.

“Audrey, you’re perfectly safe. You’re in good hands here and everything will be fine I’m certain.”

“Well, of course. They are very good here.”

I could see that Reggie had Audrey’s records up on his tablet and was looking at the photos of her stitches. I didn’t look too closely or ask whether it’s the stitches that were coming out. If it was that then they’d been in ages.

Anyway, Mum was dozing off and didn’t mention me not being there yesterday, Audrey was no longer fretting, Reggie was laughing so it was job done.

And it seemed to have stopped snowing too.

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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