Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 25 Feb, 2024

Sunday

What a day. Lesley had to go over to see her dad but didn’t feel confident driving there while she was so tired and the Sunday service on the trains didn’t look promising either. So, we all went to see Captain Chaos.

I don’t know how he does it. Taking no notice of your obvious concentration while sorting out the week’s meds or dealing with his post while he spews out a continuous stream of drivel means that every task takes twice as long as it should. In no time your brain has gone to mush.

Shouting at him so he can hear is exhausting for us, frustrating for him and distressing for the dog. There’s always laundry to be done as he’s not steady enough or strong enough to lift wet towels out of the washing machine. And his new washing machine is sooooo sloooow. And then it wouldn’t spin because the towels were so heavy.

Lesley asked him whether he would be happy for her to tell the people that he relies on about his diagnosis. He didn’t know what she could tell them. It turns out that he’s still either unsure about, unable to understand or unwilling to accept the cancer diagnosis. He says he feels fine but is out of breath just sitting still.

A visit that should’ve taken an hour tops takes 5.

After a quick bite to eat it’s time to get a dose of peace and sanity at The Home.

As I pass through the rear lounge, Audrey bids me good evening as usual, Shirley’s still fretting about something and Pauline looks completely spaced out. And then I spot Eleanor who is usually in the front lounge.

“Hello? What are you doing back here with all these troublemakers!?”

She laughs, Audrey gives me a look and Callum sits back smirking.

“It’s making me wonder what you’ve done”

“But I haven’t done anything!”

“Yeah. I believe you. But thousands wouldn’t”

She giggles like a little girl and I get an even more severe look from Audrey.

Mum had evidently been a bit fidgety today. She’s got an extra pillow now. One under her head and one under each shoulder to stop her falling over. She still lying skewed across the bed though. At least she hasn’t got to the kicking all the bedclothes off stage yet. Perhaps she would have done if she had the strength.

I think the best word to describe her mood is Strident. She was telling me what to sort out and where and when it had to go. The peak came when she was pointing round the room saying

“You can sort out that and that and that. You can sort out just what I want and sod everybody else.”

“I’ll tell Sue you said that. It’ll make her laugh”

But she was mostly cheerful apart from a short spell of stomach ache. That was when she summoned Aunt Lil, Uncle Derrick and Uncle Arch. And then John. Twice. It’s unusual for Dad to get a mention at all, let alone twice in one sentence.

But, she did accept a drink and managed to hold the cup herself this time. Even asked for another drink unprompted.

We watched the night shift start getting people put to bed and waited for someone to come and change her. And waited. When it got to 9pm she said I could go home if I wanted.

I didn’t need asking twice.

.

 

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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