Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 13 Apr, 2024

Saturday

Lesley needed to go to her Dad’s in the morning so that gave The Dog and I a chance to go on a longer, muddier and more strenuous walk. Favourite Walk One. Down the bridleway to the riverbank, all the way to the country park, across Rabbit Field and then home down the lane.

This dog’s mental map of the area is phenomenal. She realised that by taking a turn off the lane we could tack on the last two-thirds of Favourite Walk Two. She stopped, looked over her shoulder with the expression that says “Can we go this way?” and headed off. I let her get away with it because that way would take us past the village pond and she could get a drink. It was ridiculously hot for mid-April and she would need one. Needless to say, she didn’t have a drink. She saved the request for a drink until we’d got to the branching point for Favourite Walk Three. I let her get away with going as far as the first point where she could get down to the brook before attempting to convince her we should turn round and go home.

Two hours and 10 Kilometres of sunshine, birdsong, bluebells, brimstone butterflies and mud with an impeccably behaved dog. Perfect. The high point: witnessing the dog see and hear a swan taking off from the river for the first time. The low point: never having seen so many dead and dying bumblebees before.

The immediate task on getting home is always to feed the dog and make sure she had a good drink. That’s not easy. This area is served by Thames Water and the dog won’t touch it straight from the tap. She’d rather drink from a stinky puddle than touch our tap-water. I don’t blame her. It’s awful.

The next task was to start cleaning the house. Eldest Sister is coming to visit Mum with her kids  tomorrow and we didn’t want them feeling as if they needed to wipe their feet on their way out after lunch.

My phone rings. The dog recognises the ringtone and we both assume that’s Lesley saying she’s ten minutes away and that it’s time to get the kettle on. It is Lesley, but it isn’t time. Her Dad’s been having more accidents and there are a few more washing machine loads to go before she can leave.

I had been hoping to get to The Home in time to see Reggie before he went home to get an update on whether they’d managed to do a urine test on Mum. I could’ve phoned him. But I didn’t.

I know from past experience that one of the early signs of depression for me is a reluctance to make phone-calls. Answering calls doesn’t become a problem until later and I’m not there yet. But today, I didn’t make the call.

When Lesley did get home, we were both knackered and starving so we gobbled down a meal and Lesley got ready for an online dog training class. Then The Dog asked to go out. She won’t toilet in the garden except in the middle of the night under cover of darkness when she’s desperate. It was a collar and lead job. That’s a sign to The Dog that she’s only going Out for a wee. The harness and long line is a sign that she’s going Out Out for a proper long walk.

When I did get to The Home, Reggie was long gone and I had seen the senior nurses all donning plastic aprons and surgical gloves before heading to a room at the back of the building. There was a fair bit of commotion going on in Shirley’s room.

 Mum didn’t look great. She did almost open one eye when I told her I was there and nodded weakly when I said I’d leave her to sleep. I’m pretty sure she didn’t know who I was. She wasn’t totally immobile. I couldn’t call her movements fidgeting. They were too slow for that. It was more like struggling. Terri told me that Mum hadn’t been yelling or crying today. I didn’t think this was regulation hypoactive Sleepy Mum. I didn’t think she was well at all.

Then Madeline had popped her head into mum’s room.

“Just to warn you, there’s going to be a fair bit of noise. A resident has pulled out her catheter and they’re trying to refit it.”

So that’s all the people I needed to speak to tied up for goodness knows how long. 

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

You may also like…

Friday

Friday

Friday Today's visit left me with absolutely no clue where Mum was in her Sleepy/Active cycle. I had expected her to...

read more
Thursday

Thursday

Thursday Given how she had been yesterday, I fully expected Mum to be sound asleep this afternoon. But she wasn't. She...

read more
Wednesday

Wednesday

Wednesday "Hello Mum! It's Nicholas." She did respond but not in any way that gave me confidence she knew who I was. I...

read more
Tuesday

Tuesday

Tuesday "Hello Mum! It's Nicholas." "Oh good. I'm glad you've come to see me. Here! What are you sitting down for?"...

read more
Monday

Monday

Monday Mum was an awful lot more awake this evening than I expected. Chatty, calm, comfortable and a lot more mobile...

read more
Sunday

Sunday

Sunday A day off visiting today. Eldest Sister was on duty and had come with her youngest two kids plus Youngest Son's...

read more
Saturday

Saturday

Saturday Started the day with a trip to Lesley's dad. The traffic was terrible everywhere. There were roadworks on the...

read more
Friday

Friday

Friday We tried to have a quiet day after the rigours endured during the extended trip to hospital with Lesley's dad...

read more
Thursday

Thursday

Thursday What a bloody dreadful day. Lesley's Dad had an appointment for a head CT scan at the hospital in Oxford. His...

read more

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *