Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 23 Apr, 2024

Tuesday

Another long day today. And not an easy one. For anybody.

Juliette and Reggie were in the nurses’ office when I arrived at The Home so I stopped for a chat. Reggie told me that Mum had been yelling for me during the afternoon. That was the first time she’d done that for a very long time. She’d been yelling a lot. And very loudly.

The next thing he said was to ask about Lesley’s dad and how Lesley was coping. So I told them. They asked me to send Lesley their love.

“He’s still living at home on his own. Whenever I tell Mum about him she says he’d be better off here!” I said.

They liked that.

I told them how Mum had been yesterday and asked if she was still on Sertraline. She was.

When I got to Mum she was much happier than she’d been yesterday. Presumably because her Mum was with her. Mum lost the thread of what she was saying a number of times. She would turn to her Mum, ask a question, get frustrated that there was no answer and turn to me to ask if her Mum had gone to sleep.

The more she talked, the more Other People there were in the room with us. And she talked non-stop. I barely said anything all evening.

Mum talked about all sorts of people. I had no idea whether any of them were real or not. If they were real they were certainly from the distant past. From the bits and pieces I could make out it seemed she was talking about the area of town she lived in when she was very young.

“I saw Mr {Indistinct} but he was talking to… a person.”

Then, later…

“Ooh! You’ll never guess who I saw today!”

“Who was it Mum?”

“HIS NIBS!!”

“Blimey! That’s a turn-up! What did he say?”

“Nothing.”

I had no idea who she was talking about.

Then she remembered another encounter.

“I saw Mrs {Indistinct} and she said… (long pause for dramatic effect)… Good Afternoon!”

Then she talked about having to go to the Crown and Crooked Billet pub to get the bus to Ponders End.

There was another anecdote about somebody else that I couldn’t make out but it amused her.

“He’s just like Nicholas!” she said.

“But I’m Nicholas Mum!”

“ARE YOU!!??”

I could’ve sworn she knew who I was when I first arrived.

The more she talked, the more active she got. She’d started by fidgeting and fussing with her duvet. After she said that it must be time for us to make a move, the duvet came off. It was obvious where this was heading so I got in first by tucking her back in and telling her that she needed to hang on where she was until she’d had her evening meds. She wasn’t happy.

I was struggling to understand this new sleepy/active cycle of Mum’s. This time around she’d stayed in the sleepy phase more than twice as long as normal. After starting to wake up it would normally take four or five days to get to the “Help me up! We’re leaving!!” phase. This time around she’d gone from Sleepy & Weepy to Peak Active in 24 hours.

Bloody hell.

All this had been after another night of poor sleep. Lesley had a meeting with someone at her dad’s to fill in some benefits and compensation claim forms. We agreed that it would be better for her to get the train as she was so tired and stressed. That would give her some thinking time as well as being safer. Two minutes before her train was due to leave she phoned.

“I’ve picked up the wrong file! I haven’t got the details I need!!”

While she got a refund on her ticket and walked back from the station, I packed up what I was intending to do, prepared a packed lunch for The Dog and got together all the gear necessary for a long muddy walk. On her return, Lesley discovered that she’d got the correct file after all. The next train was going to be too late. I was going to have to drive her.

Lesley had her meeting. The Dog and I had our long muddy walk and returned to Father-in-Law’s house.

It had only been a few days since I’d last seen him. I was shocked at how much thinner, weaker and wobblier he looked.

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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