Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 15 Mar, 2024

Friday

Twenty-seven weeks Mum’s been at The Home. I knew because her borough council had just sent me the bill all in one go. But in all that time, I don’t think I witnessed Mum transition into Sleepy Time once. Until tonight.

She seemed relatively with-it when I got there. The bed wasn’t in total disarray but she had thrown one of her side support pillows and was listing heavily to starboard. I adjusted all her pillows and got her comfortable. She couldn’t move on her own. I had to lift her up straight.

“So Sue came to see you yesterday”

“Yeah. It was nice”

“And Curtis came too”

“Yeah”

She smiled at the thought.

“Did Den come too?”

“No, but he was picking her up after”

“Good job she came. I was stuck with Lesley’s dad at the hospital all day. They’ve taken some samples from his chest. He said the needles they used were so long he thought they were going to come out the other side!”

“Oh Blimey!”

“But he seems cheerful enough and says he feels alright at the moment. You can’t say fairer than that can you?”

“No. You can’t”

Quite how long he’s going to stay feeling alright is debateable. His consultant showed Lesley his chest x-rays they took during the visit. She pointed out how different they are from the ones taken in January. Lesley asked the obvious question. The answer was “Months”. When Lesley told me later I said “Well, at least she said ‘Months” in the plural. So it’s not that bad.”

Mum mumbled something unintelligible and then said

“I shall be glad when I get out of here”

“Do you need a drink Mum?”

She was able to hold the cup herself and almost downed her squash in one go.

“Have a breather Mum. You can have another drink in a minute”

“Read me some of those stories. The ones where… {unintelligible}”

I read a chapter and offered her another drink. I had to hold the cup this time.

“Keep reading! Come on! Hurry up!”

Another chapter went by.

“Mum? Do you want another drink? MUM!! Do you want another drink?”

She came to and nodded. Two sips.

I read another chapter.

“Mum? Are you still with me? MUM!!”

Nothing.

And I think that was it. No response when I stood up to go either. It did feel like a crash but this had been such a low-key peak it’s hard to tell. There were no hordes of Other People tonight and no other signs of Active Mum either. Not like yesterday.

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

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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