Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 2 Jun, 2024

Sunday

When I signed in at The Home I saw that there was only one other entry between mine today and mine yesterday afternoon. It’s Sunday. What the bloody hell is wrong with people?

Audrey seemed pleased to see me. “Have you met?” she said, “Have you met?”

“I haven’t, Audrey”

Her face fell.

“But I am really looking forward to doing so”

“Haha! Wonderful! Take care Darling and keep smiling!”

No, I’ve got no idea either.

When I got to Mum she was in the middle of her dessert. Hakim was assisting.

“Hello Mum! It’s Nicholas. I’ll just sit quietly over here while you finish your dinner.”

“No, no. It’s fine, it’s fine,” he said, “you can help her if you like?”

And with that he was gone.

I did a quick survey of the carnage of her meal. She had at least finished the smoothie. All 200ml of it. Being generous I’d say she’d had 50ml of soup, one or two forkfuls of the roast and three or four spoonfuls of the dessert. I think it had been a struggle.

I sat down on the folding visitors’ chair and the noise it made as I did so made Mum laugh.

“Come on Mum. Have some more of your pudding”

“No! Don’t want it. You have it”

“I can’t Mum”

“Why not! Who said!?”

“This chair said. It said Get off! You’re too bloody fat!!”

More laughter.

I did manage to get another couple of mouthfuls of arctic roll down her before she started to refuse totally in spite of the chocolate sauce and extra cream.

She complained of being too full up and started to fidget so add Uncomfortable to Uncooperative.

“Ooh, me appendix!” she said.

“Do you mean Appendix or Coccyx Mum?”

“Yeah, one of them”

I adjusted her pillows and the mattress

“That’s much better”

“I’m getting the hang of this now”

She continued chatting away and she was unusually clear. There were lots of things that I needed to do. There was a lot of “Go on! Do it!! Quick, before I box your ears!!”

It was all pretty surreal and I struggled to keep up. She needed to get her teeth done but there was no need to hurry so long as they got done before she went “back to school”. She talked about Una again and asked where Phyllis was. Went went round the Moving To A New Place loop again too.

About half an hour into the visit her Other People started arriving. Indistinct and fleeting to start with.

“Who was that?”

“Don’t know Mum. I can’t see from here. Who did it look like?”

“Was it Jean? JEAN!! JEAN!! Go and tell Harry to shift himself and get over here!!”

And then

“Oh. Where did she go?”

“I don’t think she’s gone far Mum. She’ll be back in a minute I reckon”

Whoever Jean was, she didn’t come back. Several others did though. Mum was talking away about something but kept getting distracted by things moving above her. She would squint at them to try and work out what they were. Then she stopped talking abruptly, turned to the wall and started saying “Hello… Hello…” with a huge smile on her face as if she was talking to a child. Moments later, there was another one. And another.

By this stage her sheet and blankets were in a ball by her side but she seemed a fair bit away from saying “Here. Take this. We’re Off!”

That will come later.

And that was that. She barely said a word to me after the Other People arrived. Well, except when it was time for me to go.

“OK Mum, I’ve got to go. Lesley’s sent me a message about some bits I’ve got to pick up from the shops before they close”

“Oh, have you asked His Nibs?”

“Who?”

“His Nibs! Have you asked him!?”

“No Mum, I haven’t. I’ll do that on my way out”

“Just make sure you do or I’ll box your ears”

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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