Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 17 Mar, 2024

Sunday

 

All kicking off at The Home this afternoon. Only just managed to squeeze into the car park because there was an ambulance and a paramedics car parked at the front door.

I heard footsteps coming down the stairs as I was signing in.

“HEEEYYY!!! NICKY!!”

“Alright Reggie, everything OK?”

“Pauline. Again. She had a fall at 6am and we did our rounds at 8:30 after the handover meeting and she was on the floor again. I think she’s dislocated her shoulder. We called emergency services and they’ve just arrived.”

Hmm. I’m on my way home from the gym and it’s 5:30pm. This bloody government has got to go. Speaking of which, at my last gym session my trainer told me about an incident at his apartment block where he had a knife held to his throat. The police did attend relatively promptly and I asked what action they took for what was clearly a racially aggravated knife crime. Nothing. The guy was, in fact, arrested for a different incident. Presumably one that doesn’t make their figures look so bad. Seriously. This government has broken the entire country.

Anyway, The Home was a haven of peace and Mum was pretty much the same as yesterday. I did the routine pillow rearrangement but she still wasn’t especially comfortable or happy or chatty. Or awake. She was drifting in and out.

“It was nice to be able to speak to Andrew and Lorraine yesterday wasn’t it Mum?”

“No”

“Oh!”

Don’t worry. She must’ve misheard me because I asked her again later and she said it had been nice.

She accepted a drink of squash. They’d already had some success with it because it was half empty when I started. She gave me the OK to read to her too.

Between chapters she started saying something. I couldn’t catch the start of it but she said

“It would nice if she came more often”

“Who’s that Mum?”

“Little Emma”

“Oh, OK. Well, she’ll know you said that now. I come every day and every day I send a message to Andrew, Cath and Emma telling them how you are and what you’re getting up to. I send a copy to Sue and Lesley reads it too. But Emma will see it.”

“Good”

There was more reading and a little more chat that either I couldn’t hear or couldn’t understand. In spite of being only half awake I think she sensed that I was gearing myself up to leave.

“Don’t leave me on me own”

“OK Mum. Lesley’s sent a message saying she’s having a bath so I can stay a bit longer”

I put my hand on her forehead and blimey she was hot. And clammy. It was hot in there though so I opened a window and she said she felt better.

There was a bit more reading and then we heard raised voices in the lounge. Sounded like quite a shemozzle.

It was still going on when I left. I entered the lounge to see Eleanor ramming her frame into Sean, Audrey laying down the law telling people what to do and where to go and Shirley chipped in too. Although I’d heard her shouting earlier, Lily was sitting quietly but looking a bit sheepish. The latest escalation had been caused by Sean sitting in a chair without realising it was occupied already by Eleanor’s little dog. We’ve all been there. I did my best to settle Shirley because if Audrey had been able to get out of her chair, Shirley’s contributions would’ve earned her a punch in the mouth.

Sean looked mortified. When he couldn’t take it anymore I walked down the corridor with him.

“I don’t know how you do this. After an hour, I’ve had enough. 90 minutes tops. But you’re stuck here for 12 hours”

“It’s not easy sometimes but we rotate duties. I’m in the front lounge tomorrow. It will be quieter.”

Not easy he says. Bloody hell.

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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