Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 27 Mar, 2024

Wednesday

The Home was quiet and peaceful this afternoon. The residents seemed to all be sleeping after their tea.

Mum was asleep when I got to her but did come to the second time I said I was there. She was sitting more upright than I’d expected. Evidence that someone has tried to get her to eat or drink something. And not without some success as there were half-finished cups of squash and smoothie on her table.

I did the routine pillow rearrangement. I flip the large pillow under her head so she gets a cool, fresh side and plump the small pillows on either side of her that stop her falling over.

I suggest she has a drink and she nods weakly. I try the smoothie. It’s a fortified milkshake and it’s probably her only source of protein. She manages three sips. I have to remind her to swallow the last one. I’ve been told by the staff, and have seen it myself too, that the sweetness and texture in the smoothie thickens the saliva and it doesn’t need much of a problem with swallowing for this to cause a coughing fit. I follow up the smoothie with some of the weak squash. Two sips of that before she turned away. I gave her a couple of minutes and asked if she wanted another drink.

“Not at the moment” she says. At least I think that’s what she said as it was barely audible. They were the only words she said the entire time I was there.

I suggest she might be more be more comfortable if I adjust the bed so she’s less upright. She nods weakly again.

“Is that better Mum?”

No response.

I got no response at all when I told her about my day either. How although the wind was cold, the weather had been clear and bright all day except for the hour we were out doing The Dog’s morning walk when we got absolutely soaked.

I got no response again when I offered to read so I just sat in silence holding her hand until she was sound asleep again.

Mum has a new neighbour who has been moved from one of the rooms upstairs. I’m told she’s over 100 and when the staff talk to her she sounds quite lucid. But when she’s alone she talks almost non-stop. It sounds like there are Other People in that room too. When she does stop talking she bangs on the wall that separates her room from Mum’s. Not that Mum knew anything about it. I hope that doesn’t become a problem when Mum wakes up properly.

Bloody hell. 

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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