Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 2 May, 2024

Thursday

So yesterday, Mum had been uncomfortable, unhappy and uncommunicative. Today, she was less uncomfortable, much more unhappy and had swapped uncommunicative for unintelligible.

I did manage to understand her when she asked why she’d been left there. I told her that she wasn’t so poorly that she needed to be in hospital, that the people at The Home could look after her far better than any of us could and that The Home was close enough for me to see her every day. I also said that she was now well enough to start getting out of bed and if she could just spend some time in the garden that would be a good first step in the right direction to getting her home.

That picked her up a bit and she started talking about the stuff in the room that needed sorting out. No Other People yet but the Dead Uncle counter rose to 2.

As she was a bit more awake today, I went through my day yesterday again. She remembered Tim being my Best Man and I told her about the whole of family without mentioning the word ‘funeral’. She seemed to, well, ‘enjoy’ is probably too strong a word but she did listen intently.

I only mentioned Lesley’s Dad briefly. Lesley had been assisting with a meeting with a palliative care nurse today. It was to plan out what he wants when the end is getting close. I didn’t tell Mum any of that obviously. I just said that he’s lost a lot of weight really quickly, that he’s got very weak and wobbly, that he’s still as daft as a brush and that he’s still as deaf as arseholes.

There had been a row of unfinished drinks on her table and I managed to get her to have some milkshake and then some squash.

The only enthusiasm she showed for anything was when I offered to read. That’s the only thing she ever shows any enthusiasm for. She started drifting off again after a couple of chapters so we just sat in silence and I held her hand.

Someone had their telly on really loud and it was a different channel from every other telly we could hear but we listened anyway. And we listened to the lady next door telling her Other People they were already dead or that they soon would be. We watched the staff do a series of trips out to the laundry with a ton of washing.

“Who’s that?”

“It’s Hakim again.”

“You know everybody here.”

Mum started pulling her duvet up but denied being cold. I lowered bed so she could go to sleep, pulled the duvet up under her chin, told her I’d leave her to get a decent night’s kip and that I would be back tomorrow.

“You won’t! You’re coming back tonight!!”

Bloody hell.

Bibliography

Tales from the Parish: 31 humorous short stories about community, family and village life, set in the English countryside

Kindle Edition

by Stefania Hartley

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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