Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 31 Mar, 2024

Sunday

A day of reflection and recovery today.

A year ago today, my mate Bill got married. I was supposed to be at the wedding. I never made it.

The plan had been that I’d leave my car at Mum’s and travel into Deepest, Darkest ULEZ by train. But Mum was on her own and was distinctly not right so I stayed with her instead. Thinking about it now I can’t help but feel that if I’d taken her condition a bit more seriously back then we wouldn’t be where we are now. Those I’ve spoken to about it say I couldn’t possibly have known, that I’m not a doctor, that no ordinary person would’ve known what the signs meant, that I mustn’t blame myself and that I’m doing far more than most would now.

Doesn’t stop it gnawing away at me when I’m feeling a bit low though.

We’re all feeling sluggish today and not just because the clocks have gone forward. For some reason I’m always surprised at the toll, both mental and physical, that spending a few hours with Father-in-Law takes on me. To be fair, I can understand the mental effects of that level of exposure to weapons-grade fuckwittery. But it’s the physical side that’s harder to comprehend.

Thursday’s session at the gym had been reasonably heavy. My deadlift is only at 75% of maximum but I got a PB on the bench press before taking my biceps and triceps to failure with a few nasty supersets. “That’s good shit from you,” my trainer said, “Good beans.”

The DOMS was kicking in on Friday evening and I was still pretty sore when we got to Father-in-Law’s yesterday. The weird thing is that the DOMS lasts a lot longer if I visit him compared to when I don’t. And the effects last for days. By the time I get to my next gym session I can still feel the reduced mobility in my shoulders and there are weird knots in my quads, glutes and adductors. But not if I haven’t been to see him.

So after a leisurely start to the day and a long, restorative and seriously muddy walk with The Dog I headed off to see Mum. Given her level of activity yesterday it was entirely predictable that she would be as sound asleep and unresponsive as she was when I got to her. A cup of squash, her lunchtime fortified smoothie and a cup of tea all sat untouched on her table. It did give me the chance to have a proper long chat with the staff and Reggie in particular.

He tells me that Mum had still been pretty lively this morning so her having completely flaked out must be quite recent. He says that when she’s awake she’s very chatty with him and tells him all sorts of things. He said how surprised she was when he told her he was my friend the other day, how she said I visited her “sometimes” and how she wasn’t always that impressed.

“I bet I know what that’s about. When she’s at Peak Active and she tells me to help her out of bed because we’re leaving immediately and I tell her she’s got to stay because she isn’t strong enough yet. That really pisses her off.”

“Ah. OK.”

Back up in the rear lounge, the Easter Sunday festivities had been in full swing. Shirley had been very demanding and had been getting on Audrey’s nerves but otherwise there had been a lot of laughter. The day’s Activities Coordinator encouraged me to take some easter eggs home as they had loads left over. They clearly hadn’t had as many visitors in today as they’d expected.

Sadly, that’s pretty typical. The car park isn’t huge but I’ve never seen it full. Not even at Christmas. No wonder the residents are all so keen to talk to me and I never ignore anybody.

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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