Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 14 May, 2024

Tuesday

We started the day with Lesley making yet another dash over to her Dad’s. His hearing aids weren’t working. Again. It turned out not to be another case of him having put the battery in the wrong way round this time. At least one of them is properly broken. Again. It wasn’t clear what he’d done. Last time they stopped working the internal indicators showed they had been wet at some point.

That left me and The Dog to do a longer, wetter and muddier walk. We returned very much wetter and muddier. Mission accomplished.

When I got to Mum I found her more awake than she’d been for the past few days. She was also unhappier and more uncomfortable. She was more talkative too. Not that I could understand very much.

“You’ve had a postcard Mum.”

Eldest Sister has been down to Cornwall for a long weekend with her daughter. Mum was pleased they’d had a nice time.

Mum’s discomfort seemed to be getting worse so I adjusted her pillows, the angle of the bed and all the bedclothes.

“Much better” she said.

“I’m getting the hang of this now.”

I tried to turn the conversation to my day; how Lesley had had to go to her Dad’s again, how I’d taken The Dog down by the river and how filthy we’d got. Her conversation turned towards getting her belongings sorted before going home.

“I’ve got lots of boxes ready and they’re all labelled with your name on so they end up in the right place. No need for you to worry about anything Mum.”

“Good”

She seemed well satisfied with that so she switched to not being left on her own.

“You’ve got to stay here all weekend.” she said.

I just held her hand.

“Have you got any stories?”

“Of course I have Mum”

Another lap round Father Okoli’s Cotswold parish started but she seemed a bit disengaged and I was saved by the arrival of Mum’s smoothie and the news that the carers would be bringing her Weetabix. Mum was quite keen on the smoothie and it was half gone in no time. When she said she needed a rest I took the opportunity to have a quick word with The Manager.

I was gone longer than I intended because Reggie was in the lounge and I never walk past him without some banter. His concern was almost entirely how Lesley is coping with her dad. He thinks Dad needs residential care and I have to admit that Reggie’s view is heavily skewed by what I tell him. Dad is adamant, and has been since long before his dementia was evident, that he doesn’t want that. Dad’s view is taken from other people he meets at his day centre and says that they die soon after going into a home. He doesn’t see that the reason they’ve gone into a home in the first place is that they are close to the end. It’s a lose-lose situation for us, Reggie said, because either we leave him at home and he has a fall that finishes him off and we blame ourselves for it or we move him to a home and he spends what remains of his time hating us for it.

By the time I got back to Mum, Al was half-way through Mum’s Weetabix. He asked her if she knew who I was and she replied correctly without hesitation. She continued eating but was getting increasingly distressed. She told Al to find me a bed so that I could stay with her. Then she said that she didn’t want me to leave and then she completely broke down in tears. She was really sobbing.

Al got called to another resident so I took over feeding Mum and, to her credit, she finished the bowl. I didn’t manage to get her to drink much of her tea though.

I sat holding her hand and returned to reading the book for a while but got interrupted by the lady next door. Jean is over 100 years old and has a constant conversation going with the Other People that are in her room. These conversations usually consist of her telling her Other People that they are either dead already or that they soon will be. But when I heard her say “Is anybody there? Can somebody come and help me?” it sounded genuine. It wasn’t the tone she usually uses to her Other People so I went in.

“Hello Jean. My name’s Nick. I was in the room next door with my Mum and I heard you calling for help. Are you alright?”

I didn’t understand her reply.

“Shall I go and get help?”

Another reply that I didn’t understand. I pressed her call button.

“It’s OK Jean. I’m going to stay here with you until help arrives.”

“Are you!!?? Oh bugger.”

I understood that alright.

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

You may also like…

Friday

Friday

Friday Today's visit left me with absolutely no clue where Mum was in her Sleepy/Active cycle. I had expected her to...

read more
Thursday

Thursday

Thursday Given how she had been yesterday, I fully expected Mum to be sound asleep this afternoon. But she wasn't. She...

read more
Wednesday

Wednesday

Wednesday "Hello Mum! It's Nicholas." She did respond but not in any way that gave me confidence she knew who I was. I...

read more
Tuesday

Tuesday

Tuesday "Hello Mum! It's Nicholas." "Oh good. I'm glad you've come to see me. Here! What are you sitting down for?"...

read more
Monday

Monday

Monday Mum was an awful lot more awake this evening than I expected. Chatty, calm, comfortable and a lot more mobile...

read more
Sunday

Sunday

Sunday A day off visiting today. Eldest Sister was on duty and had come with her youngest two kids plus Youngest Son's...

read more
Saturday

Saturday

Saturday Started the day with a trip to Lesley's dad. The traffic was terrible everywhere. There were roadworks on the...

read more
Friday

Friday

Friday We tried to have a quiet day after the rigours endured during the extended trip to hospital with Lesley's dad...

read more
Thursday

Thursday

Thursday What a bloody dreadful day. Lesley's Dad had an appointment for a head CT scan at the hospital in Oxford. His...

read more

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *