Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 3 Feb, 2024

Saturday

We were approaching Peak Active Mum today. Restless, awkward, impatient.

The fire-door releases are battery operated and when the battery runs low the default is to let the door close, Mum’s door was closed when I got there so I couldn’t tell whether a ‘procedure’ iwas progress or not. There was no response to a knock on the door so I opened the door gingerly.

There was no warm welcome. Just…

“Here. Get rid of this. Hurry up! Do it!”

One of her pillows had been placed to stop her rolling against the bed rails but she’d rolled against them anyway. The bed-clothes were rolled in a ball by her side. She said she wasn’t cold so I didn’t bother remaking the bed.

“What are you doing?”

“I’ve got you a new box of Maltesers and I’m tipping the last ones from your old box into it”

“What are you doing now?”

“I’m taking the old box away with me to recycle it so I’m tearing it up so it goes in my pocket. And if I don’t tear it up, The Dog will nick it out of the recycling bag ‘cos she loves a cardboard box”

“Little bitch”

“Do you want a Malteser?”

“Yeah. Aren’t you going to offer him one?” she said, gesturing to the other side of the bed.

“He knows where they are. He can help himself”

“Did you hear what he said? Bloomin’ cheek!”

I’d say at best, 50% of what she said during the visit was directed at me.

“Where’s Andrew?”

“At home having his tea” which is my standard answer whenever she asks

“What about Catharine?”

“She’ll be here in the morning”

“Has she had her tea?”

“I should think so”

“Oh”

The conversation then moved on. Some I could understand but there was plenty I couldn’t.

“Who went to America?”

“Neal”

“Who?”

“Neal. Harry’s boy”

“Oh yeah”

Fortunately, Neal shares plenty of photos on Facebook so I could spend a good while showing them to her which she enjoyed. I was encouraged to show them to her companion too.

Her companion seemed to be more entertaining than me as there was a good deal of laughter.

But then she said

“Oh dear! I’m sorry to hear that”

“What did he say Mum? What’s happened?”

“Mind your own bloomin’ business! Flippin’ cheek!”

She carried on talking to him for a while but, all the same, she was pretty pissed off when I said it was time for me to go.

Bloody hell.

 

Oh, one more thing. While the chocolate mini rolls were a hit to start with, she’s rejected every opportunity to eat the last one. And the cake slices are also untouched. Time for a rethink on what to bring her. <This message was edited>

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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