Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 27 Apr, 2024

Saturday

Steve was in the hot seat in the nurses’ office today. I popped my head round the door to tell him that Reggie had told me about Pat and Shirley. It was Shirley’s death that seemed to shock him the most.

“There was no warning… She was so active…”

He wasn’t the only one affected by Shirley’s death. All the staff seemed subdued.

On my way up the corridor I was spotted by Lily.

“Ah! Hello! How are you?” she said.

I told her I was well and asked her how she was. Her reply wasn’t what I expected.

“Mary, Mary,
Quite contrary.
What do I do with this?”

She held up a velvet jacket on a coat-hanger.

“That looks very nice Lily. Are you looking for somewhere to hang it up?”

“No, I need to wrap it in something to keep it dry when I go to get the bus.”

“OK, well that might take a while. Let’s find somewhere to hang it up first. We don’t want it getting all creased while you get ready. If we go this way we might find a wardrobe or something.”

“Good idea!”

As we headed through the lounge we were greeted by Audrey

“Well, hello!” she said.

“Good afternoon Audrey! Are you well?”

She said she was.

“I hope you’re keeping warm in here. It’s absolutely miserable out there today.”

“Oh don’t tell me that!”

“Of course it’s miserable. It’s the weekend. It’s the law!”

The staff made an attempt to relieve me of Lily’s company. 

“Do you want some orange juice Lily?”

“Not just at the moment thank-you. I’ll be back in a minute.”

We carried on up the corridor.

“This room looks promising! Let’s have a look in here.” I suggested.

Lily seemed unaware that it was her room. Even when she checked everywhere she didn’t recognise that any of the belongings in it were hers. Thinking about it later it dawned on me why she always wears the same clothes. She simply doesn’t think any of the other stuff belongs to her.

“Right, shall we go and get the bus then?” she said after hanging up her jacket.

“Ah, now here’s the thing Lily. The timetables have changed and you’re going to have quite a wait. What I suggest you do is go back down there to the lounge. Stay in the warm, get them to make you a cup of coffee and I’ll come and get you when the bus is due.”

 “YOUR FACE!! You looked like you were going to tell me off! What about you though? What are you doing? ? Are you staying here tonight?” she asked.

I know from experience that there’s a sub-text to this question. If I was to say that I wasn’t staying, that I was, in fact, going home, she would be impossible to shake off and would try and slip-stream her way out of the front door behind me.

“I haven’t decided yet Lily. I’m just going down here to see my Mum and I’ll worry about that later.”

“That’s nice. Anyway, just remember to behave yourself!”

“Lily, you and I both know that the chances of that are very slim.”

She laughed, I left to go to Mum and I assumed she would just go and hunt for another accomplice, with or without their knowledge, to help her escape.

Mum seemed to be reasonably lucid so that was a good omen for her visitors tomorrow. There were no Other People or Dead Uncles with us. She was bloody miserable though. We were in “Make sure you take me with you!” and “Don’t leave me on me own” territory.

Brother had messaged me on another family matter so I guessed he might be up for a quick video call. Seeing and hearing him, his wife and their dog really cheered her up. She loved it. Really loved it. She was killing herself laughing at times.

She apologised for not being able to speak very clearly at one point. Well, I think she did. It wasn’t very clear. Her Weetabix arrived half way through the call so I stepped outside while she ate it. It took no time at all for her to finish the bowl. When we resumed she flagged quite quickly. The speed at which she’d eaten her Weetabix was reflected by the size of the burp she did during the call. Brother said that it was the only thing he’d been able to hear clearly. That really made her laugh.

Mum soon said she was sleepy. And soon after that she was asleep.

She reverted back to Miserable Mum straight after the call because she woke up when I said I was going.

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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