Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 30 Jan, 2024

Tuesday

Mum was awake today. Awake and miserable. 

Sean was just finishing giving her her tea when I arrived. Weetabix and a smoothie as per.

 “Are you growing a beard Nick?” he said as he left the room.

 “No, I just can’t be arsed to shave. Lesley will get fed up with it soon. She’ll make sure I get rid of it”

 “And how are you Mum?

 “Fed up”

She moaned for a bit but I couldn’t make any of it out. Then Reggie passed by and there was some bantz. I didn’t think Mum knew too much about what was being said but she seemed to enjoy all the laughing. He asked me whether I thought Mum would be better of staying where she was or going back to her old room when the repairs are done. Definitely her old room I reckon. There’ was no passing traffic at this end of the corridor. Plus, I got to see all my friends downstairs.

“Nothing to stop you coming down for a cup of tea with us…”

He was right of course.

We talked about finding the remote for the telly in the room. The controls on it are not obvious at all and the last time I left it on the night shift switched it off at the wall. Then I realised it’s a Samsung and it dawned on me that the remote for her own telly should work.

“I’m just going to pop downstairs for a minute Mum. Back in a bit!”

On my way through, Hakim told me I was going the wrong way, I got a wonderful greeting from Audrey and I met Lily who was standing in the doorway of her room trying to figure out the buttons on her cardigan. She too was pleased to see me which was really nice as it has been a few days since I’d last seen her and she normally can’t remember what happened 5 minutes ago.

Mum’s room was a mess. There was mould right across the ceiling of her bathroom now. I learned later that the roofer who was due to come on Monday and do a quote didn’t show up and The Manager can’t get one to come for love nor money. Eldest Sister pointed out in the Family chat that her kids had seen mould in the corner of Mum’s bathroom before and wondered if the storm had just made existing damage worse. I’d seen there was a bit and I’d put it down to condensation. I’ve often been in and heard water running. The hot tap in the bathroom is easily nudged and the water is scalding. Her bathroom was often full of steam. But I thought she was right. We’d had, what, 10 named storms already this winter? The damage must’ve started during one of the early ones and just got worse and worse.

As I got back to Mum, Reggie emerged from the room opposite.

“By the way Nick, your friend Pat has moved to a new room too. You know, the lady who wants you to write a book”

“Yeah, I know who you mean”

“And how are you Iris? Are you OK?”

“No. I’m fed up”

Any further conversation is interrupted by Mum’s stomach ache. This is standard half an hour after she’s eaten something.

“I’ll leave you to it”

“Thanks Reggie”

Mum invoked a couple of uncles and said she misses her dad. The pain soon subsided. I told her about my day. How it was just me and the dog on the walk today as Lesley was meeting her friends Denise and Julie for lunch. How we were surprised that Lesley got home before us as she normally drops in on her dad on her way home from them. How she just couldn’t face seeing him again today.

“I don’t know what’s happened to me”

“You got pneumonia and because it wasn’t caught early enough it turned into blood poisoning and you had to go into hospital. While you were getting over that you had a couple of strokes. That and all the weight you lost in hospital has left you very weak. They couldn’t do much more for you in hospital but you still needed care 24 hours a day and that’s why you’re here. And you’ll be here until you’re strong enough to get out of bed on your own and get to the toilet.”

“Oh”

That’s a regular post-Sleepy phase question. It always gets the same straightforward answer.

I was greeted by another nurse going into the room opposite.

“Who’s that?”

“That’s Eve. She’s lovely”

“Yeah, she is”

“And Reggie is too. He makes me laugh”

“Yeah, I like him”

“And that young man who was helping you with your tea? He’s Sean. He’s very nice too”

“Yeah, he’s nice”

Then she asked if I’ve got any tricks.

“You want me to read to you?”

“Yeah”

She got a couple of Tales From The Parish but she wasn’t responding so I switched the telly on. I’d never watched Downton Abbey before and I hope I never do again. Hugh Bonneville, what on earth were you thinking? “I’ll be fucking minted after this!” probably. There was no conversation now. She just wanted to hold my hand.

I thought Mum was enjoying it until she said she was fed up again. Then there was some notification or other making my phone ping.

“It’s Lesley. She says my tea is ready” I said, without looking at my phone.

“You’d better go then. You can come back later if you like?”

“We’ll see Mum. But I’ll definitely be back tomorrow”.

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

You may also like…

Wednesday

Wednesday

Wednesday Mum had been sufficiently sleepy yesterday for me to feel confident that she'd be sound and unresponsive...

read more
Tuesday

Tuesday

Tuesday Starting the family update with "Another long day for Lesley visiting her dad" seems to happening more often....

read more
Monday

Monday

Monday A slow start to the week today. Normally, I'm wide awake and up and about before my alarm goes off. Today, I...

read more
Sunday

Sunday

Sunday Eldest Sister was on the hook for today's visit. Over the past few days the list of people she was bringing...

read more
Saturday

Saturday

Saturday The visit today was much earlier and briefer than usual. We were trying to cram in a quick visit to Mum...

read more
Friday

Friday

Friday Mum had all the hallmarks of having just woken up today. She was still stiff and sore from a couple of immobile...

read more
Thursday

Thursday

Thursday When Mum moved to The Home I promised myself I'd be stricter with myself and to allow myself a break when I...

read more
Wednesday

Wednesday

Wednesday I got another heads-up from Reggie on my way in to The Home. "It's Sleepy Mum today. She's been that way all...

read more
Tuesday

Tuesday

Tuesday Cousin Sue and her husband came to see Mum today. They did the journey by train so I picked them up at the...

read more

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *