Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 21 Mar, 2024

Thursday

Visited Mum on the way home from the gym today. There was a bit of an odd atmosphere at The Home. One thing struck me as I was signing in. There had been a lot of visitors today and they had been to see residents who very rarely had visitors. And I’ve noticed before how infectious ‘moods’ are. It’s never just one resident who is upset. If one is then lots of them are.

The first person I met was Sean. I asked him if he was having a better day as he was working in the front lounge. He thanked me and said he was.

Next was Lily. She was concerned about whether I knew where I was going to stay tonight or not. I think she used to think I was a member of staff. When the weather was bad I wore a jacket that was the same colour as the senior nurses’ uniform. Now she treats me like another resident. I told her I was going to see my Mum first and that I’d worry about where I was staying  later. She thought that was a good plan.

I’ve probably said it before and I’ll almost certainly say it again, Lily is a formidable woman. She never knows where she is, she never knows where she is going to sleep and yet for the most part she is the sweetest, happiest person you could wish to meet. Any other person would be terrified to be in that situation. Sure, she spends half her time working out how to escape but the other half is spent wandering around asking people if they’re alright and if they need anything.

 Heading up to the rear lounge I see the doors are shut. They’re never shut. They’re always so open that I hadn’t even realised that there were doors there. I opened them gingerly and the noise hit me. 

Eleanor is holding one of her dolls – she calls them her kids – and is screaming and crying. She yells at me to go away. Audrey tells me that the place has gone “crazy”.

“Oh,” I say, “but I’ve come here for a bit of peace and quiet.”

“Oh no,” she replies, “that’s next week. Or the week after”

The shouting continues for quite a while. From what I can make out the staff are trying to get Eleanor to go back to the other lounge but she’s refusing to leave as she’s waiting for her son to meet her.

When I do get to Mum if find that she’s on her way back out of her Sleepy phase. She’s not really awake yet but she isn’t really asleep either. From experience I know that she’ll be unresponsive to everything until you make an attempt to leave. That will wake her up.

Judging by the drinks on her table she has at least drunk something today. Yesterday there were two untouched cups of squash and her smoothie. Also untouched. Today there was only half a cup of squash left. She declined a drink when I offered.

She didn’t try and talk much and the only things I could understand were when she said she wanted her Dad and when she said she wanted to live nearer me.

I did read to her for a bit but she wasn’t really interested so I just sat quietly and held her hand.

 In short, unresponsive, uncomfortable and unhappy

Bibliography

The Enchanted Village of Johnshaven

Kindle Edition

by Bill Dring

 

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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