Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 3 May, 2024

Friday

A slow start to the day today. I was getting over the trip to Bristol on Wednesday, Lesley was getting over a day with her Dad yesterday and we were both getting over having to sit with The Dog all night on Wednesday as the huge thunderstorm reduced our pup to a quivering, panting wreck.

We got in a rainy walk with The Dog and had a video call with friends in Worthing but the day got away from us quite easily and inevitably and I was much later than intended getting to The Home.

I did my standard “Hello Mum! It’s Nick!” greeting as I went into Mum’s room. She was awake and the bed was in mild disarray. She seemed to know who I was but she asked me where “The Others” were.

“I haven’t seen anybody else Mum. Looks like it’s just me.”

“Oh.”

“Let’s get your duvet sorted before your arse gets cold.”

As soon as she was properly covered and comfortable, she asked for a drink. She never does that.

She chatted away quite happily for a while. She said she felt alright in herself. Apart from having “sprained” her ankle that is. She certainly looked better and happier than had a for a few days.

I had no energy so I just let her talk. Some of it was clear. Most wasn’t. She did tell me with some satisfaction that we’d done much more than all the others without it being clear what we’d done or who the others were.

A fresh cup of tea was delivered. The first sip is always a small one to make sure it’s not uncomfortably hot. Then I always follow a pattern of three good sips and a few seconds rest before starting the next set. She managed half the cup and seemed really keen to drink.

She carried on chatting. Mostly about her uncles. She said something about one of them that didn’t sound very nice and I was pleased not to have been able to understand what it was.

Then she said “Nobody’s been to see me. Not even Nicholas.”

I knew not to challenge her but didn’t get time to think of anything to say anyway as the night shift arrived to change her and get her ready for the night.

“I’m just going to pop out of the room for a minute Mum while the girls get to work. I’m not going far.”

On my return I did the standard greeting again.

“Ooh! Nick!” and then

“There was someone else here earlier. Where is he?”

“Don’t know Mum. I didn’t see anyone.”

“Oh”

She was much brighter than had been before the break. There was more talk about her uncles. How one of them was always up to something. “Tractors and adverts” was all I could make out. How another was always messing his wife around. She talked as if they had been there earlier in the day but there were no Other People with us while I was there.

Now that she knew it was me there with her, talk turned to the preparations for her leaving. What was going with her and when she was going. D-Day was Sunday.

“Let me check the weather forecast for Sunday… Hmmm, nice in the morning but rainy in the afternoon. We’ll have to make an early start.”

“Yeah. Early start.”

Then Glenys arrived with the evening meds. First one tablet followed by a good mouthful of tea. Then the next pair, the quick dispersal ones, followed by two more mouthfuls of tea.

From the end of the bed I could see the tablets clenched between her teeth.

“NO MUM!! Don’t spit them out!”

Two more mouthfuls of tea.

Glenys administered the eyedrops. We chatted briefly before Glenys left to continue her round. I went back to the armchair by the bed. As I sat down, Mum said

“Here. Take these.”

She put the soggy remains of two tablets in my hand.

“Bloody hell Mum! What am I supposed to do with these!?”

“Don’t want them. Put them over there and don’t tell anyone.”

I sighed, sat back and let her talk herself to sleep.

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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