Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 29 Jan, 2024

Monday

Mum was slightly more awake than she’d been yesterday. That’s not saying much though. That was a very, very low bar and she didn’t beat it by much. She did try and speak a bit. I couldn’t make out any of it. I was convinced she knew it was me though.

I talked about my day – mostly moaning about Lesley’s dad. His kitchen floor has dried out so I re-laid the vinyl. Having got no thanks for that he started disparaging the work done by the plumbers who sorted his drains out last week. The first one made his mind up too quickly and had also said the cupboard was rotten.

“I’ve looked under the sink and it’s totally dry”

“You’re looking in the wrong place Dad. Not there, here!”

Lesley put her finger right through the rotten skirting board.

“That’s easy to fix. I can do that”

“Dad! You can barely stand up! How are you going to get down there and fix it?”

“Well…”

“Well what!? You can’t even put your socks on and you think you can do this?”

In spite of several attempts, he cannot grasp what the problem is or what was done to fix it. He just thinks if there’s a problem with drains then you have to dig them up. He doesn’t get that there’s a difference between a blockage and a collapse. Has no concept of what drain jetting is (but then he hasn’t spent the hours watching Drain Addict on YouTube that I have).

“Anyway Dad, the new washing machine that I ordered is being delivered tomorrow. Have you got that? When is it being delivered?”

“Thursday”

Christ on a fucking bike.

We’ve pondered long and hard for some time now, why it is that his stupidity is so exhausting. We both feel drained.

The Dog barked at everything that moved on the way home. She is acutely aware of our stress, is exhausted from being in a house that must be close to 30C and hates people shouting. We have to bellow into his face to make ourselves heard.

Mum had stopped responding to all this ages ago but nods when I suggest that I read. She got a chapter and I asked if she was still awake.

No response.

I got up to close the curtains and she opened her eyes. I read another chapter and asked if she’s awake again.

Again, no response.

I said I was going home to leave her to sleep and still there was no response. But the second I stood up to go she was awake and protesting.

It does make me wonder what this apparent sleepiness is and just how optional it is. I get that she wants company and is content for someone to just sit and talk at her but I just can’t.

Not today.

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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