Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 5 May, 2024

Sunday

Mum was nattering away to one of her Other People when I walked into her room. She didn’t acknowledge me at all at first. Even when she did I wasn’t convinced she knew it was me. It was just somebody ‘real’ talking to her but then, from Mum’s perspective, her Other People are just as real as ‘real’ people.

She had a really thick cough today.

“Sounds like you’ve got a bit of a cough Mum”

“Had it all week”

She hadn’t. It was new today. She denied having a headache or feeling hot. She didn’t feel feverish. I decided it wasn’t urgent and if it was serious then the staff who are constantly in and out of her room would see it and deal with it. I had no worries about that.

She declined the offer of a drink but I tried anyway. She reacted like I’d given her poison.

She also declined my offer to read to her. I gave it a minute and started anyway but she just talked through it and I gave up after a couple of paragraphs.

I listened as she carried on talking but I couldn’t understand much. I think she was telling the Other People about her son at one point but I couldn’t be sure.

The more she talked the less distinct she got and she was almost totally indistinct to begin with. She was also getting sleepier and less responsive. It seemed like the only voices she could hear were the ones in her head.

She seemed happy enough though. Whoever it was she was talking to was making her laugh.

I gave up and left them to it.

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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