Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 24 Feb, 2024

Saturday

Mum was more awake, more cheerful, more talkative and more mobile than yesterday.

Here’s a thought: When Andrew says Mum didn’t have the strength to move her arm against the weight of the bedclothes last weekend, she was at the same stage in her active/inactive cycle that she was in yesterday – just on the point of moving up out of a Sleepy phase. At this stage she probably won’t have been eating or drinking properly for 48 hours or so. So understandably weak.

I don’t know what she’d had today but she wasn’t as bad as yesterday. She was gasping for a drink though. Getting her to drink is often a bit of a battle but she got through the last half a milkshake and half a cup of squash without protest. And almost without coughing too.

She enjoyed the tale of our walks with Margo, the little Border Terrier from next door and the only dog Our Hound will tolerate anywhere near her. Mum knows Margo. Lesley took her in to The Home a few weeks back and Mum remembered that. It’s nice to be able to tell her about the reaction of people we meet on dog walks who know our dog from when she first arrived here and now see her walking alongside another dog. Mum also enjoyed being told about how our dog flushed a cat out of the undergrowth and the look on the cat’s face when it was suddenly nose to nose with another dog.

Mum chatted about her dad for a bit and then asked for some music so I fired up Alexa. Al has been playing Smooth Radio for her so I tried that. It’s inoffensive enough and she seemed to like it. A little bit of The Carpenters and some Simply Red. By this stage my hands had warmed up enough for her to hold one while she listened without saying “Cor Blimey! You’re cold!”

When she’d tired of that she asked if I had any stories. Proactive twice in one visit was a nice change. We had a couple of chapters about Father Okoli before the night shift came round to change her.

While they were doing their thing I went down to the lounge for a chat. Audrey was sound asleep, Shirley was fretting about getting her meds and was asking me to help her to bed. Callum just smiled and waved. Pauline wanted to tell me about having got into a bit of a state and how Steve had given her a pill to calm her down. Whatever it was, it hadn’t kicked in yet. But she wanted to know how Mum was and how long she’d been there. She also told me she wanted to phone her husband. I’m guessing that’s who was with her the day they first tried giving Mum her lunch in the lounge. That was months ago and I haven’t seen anyone visit her since.

At that point the staff came back from Mum’s room so I made my excuses and left. I could’ve cut the air in Mum’s room with a knife and if hadn’t been so bitterly cold out tonight I would’ve opened a window. But Mum was calm and comfortable and when asked whether she wanted the music back on or Brother Cadfael she went for Brother Cadfael. She seemed content when I told her it was time for me to go and take the dog out for her last wee.

The “Days Without Other People In The Room” counter now stands at 2.

Bibliography

Tales from the Parish: 31 humorous short stories about community, family and village life, set in the English countryside

Kindle Edition

by Stefania Hartley

 

Brother Cadfael: A BBC Radio Collection of Three Full-Cast Dramatisations

Audible Audiobook – Original recording

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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