Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 16 Apr, 2024

Tuesday

This was a bit of a mixed bag of a visit.

“Just made it in the door Mum. The heavens are about to open… Blimey! Can you hear that!!??”

A colossal hailstorm with gale-force wind, thunder and everything had started outside.

“Yeah. Just about. You’d better stay here then.”

I told her that I’d had a sort out of my worn-out walking-boot socks and that the ones I’d been left with were the black ones she knitted. They’ve got my initials in so must’ve been made when I was at school. She said they were complicated and she’d had to keep undoing them.

“I made some for Andrew and some for Nicholas”

There was a fair bit of her talking about me as if it wasn’t me who was there during the visit. I didn’t ask her who she thought I was.

I asked if she wanted a drink and she said she wouldn’t mind. She had half a cup of tea. Then a couple of Maltesers. Then Sean arrived with her Weetabix and milkshake.

“Would you like something to eat too Nick?”

“Oh, go on then”

Mum ended up eating all of her own food and half of one of my sandwiches. Half an hour later, the stomach cramps started and various Uncles and Aunties got called for. Most of them in fact so I asked about the obvious omissions.

“Does Uncle Eric ever come over to see you?”

“Yeah” in very much an “Of course he does! Are you totally daft?” tone

Reggie stopped by and asked her how she was

“Much better thank-you”

“But you didn’t want to speak to me this morning, did you Iris?”

“He has that effect on me sometimes Mum”

She smiled

“Hey, Iris. Are you going to tell him to sort out that beard? He looks like Father Christmas!”

She didn’t understand

“He says I need a shave Mum. I’ve got more hair on me chin than I have on me head!”

That made her laugh

“Hang on a minute. There’s a photo here from when I did have hair”

Brother’s wedding photo. I told Reggie who we all were.

“When was this Mum? When did he get married?”

“Not long after you. You were married in the 80s and he was married in the 90s”

Not bad! Reggie was pleased. He congratulated Mum on remembering and she was delighted. I asked Reggie if there was something special going on today. The car park was full, the front lounge was heaving, most staff weren’t in uniform…

“It’s Juliette’s birthday. She’s been feeling down recently so we thought we’d do something for her”

There was more chat with Reggie. More laughing. I don’t know how much Mum understood but she clearly enjoyed listening to it. She also loved Reggie telling her how much he enjoyed seeing her smiling again.

When he went the conversation turned to sorting and packing. The next time Nicholas was in I was to go upstairs with him and move the stuff she wanted. He knows what she wants apparently.

She got a bit teary towards the end. Didn’t want me to leave her on her own and then wanted her Mum.

I still had no idea where she was in her cycle. She was very chatty but I reckon a good three-quarters of it was too indistinct to understand and I had a struggle to keep up with most of the rest. She wasn’t very happy except when Reggie was there. She wasn’t very comfortable either and moaned about her back being stiff and sore when I sat her up to eat. Although she had talked a lot about Dead Uncles, there was no-one in the room with us. 

But the strangest thing was her talking to me about Nicholas as much as she did.

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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