Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 5 Jun, 2024

Wednesday

It was a badly disjointed day today. A supermarket run was needed and there was Lesley’s surgery in the afternoon to be accommodated. And we all overslept.

So while Lesley headed out to do the shopping, I did the morning walk with The Dog.

That walk was truncated slightly by another YouTube Rabbit Hole that I got sucked down but at least it wasn’t as bad as yesterday’s. We got home in time to help Lesley unload the car before she sprinted back out of the door to catch the train to the hospital.

I didn’t know how long she’d be and didn’t want to commit to a long walk in case we had to go and collect her. I was worried that she’d feel too fragile to risk getting the train back.

As it turned out, all that was needed was for The Dog and I to walk down to the station to meet her off the train. The surgery was a lot more involved than Lesley had expected and it did sound like an awful lot of stitches. The biopsy will take a few days. We’ll either get a message saying “It’s fine. Nothing to worry about.” or “You need to come back for a chat”. And there’ll be no bending over to feed The Dog or pick up her poop for a couple of weeks either.

When I got to The Home there was a distinct “End of Term” feeling about the place. It was oddly quiet too. When I mentioned that to Mum she told me that everyone was asleep.

Mum was awake enough to know I was there but, judging by a row of four barely touched drinks on her table, not awake enough to drink.

“Do you want a drink Mum? Just a sip to wet your whistle?”

“No. They’re yours if you want them”

And then..

“Don’t go home tonight”

I told her about my day, about Lesley’s surgery and about having to dismantle the washing machine because it was leaking again.

“The outlet filter was blocked again. We have to wash The Dog’s harness and the long lead every day because she comes back covered in muck and mud.”

“Oh Blimey”

She still wasn’t awake enough to want to talk much. She did seem to be in a good mood though. She’s normally pretty miserable when she’s coming out of a Sleepy phase. Perhaps she wasn’t awake enough to be miserable yet. As soon as she’s awake enough to be aware of how weak and frail she’s become, then she’ll be miserable.

I told her that Eldest Sister was coming at the weekend with her two youngest.

“Good. It’ll be good to see them”

And that was me done. I’d run out of things to talk about.

“Shall I read to you then Mum?”

“Yes please”

We finished three chapters before I said I’d have to go back and help Lesley.

As I was walking out, Audrey beckoned me over and invited me to sit next to her.

“I need you to help me with all this loot” she whispered conspiratorially.

The ‘loot’ was a handful of junk-mail flyers, some of which she had dropped on the floor, and a box of tissues.

Audrey is very well-spoken and clearly had a huge vocabulary at one time. Sadly, a lot of it has gone so when she wants a fancy word but can’t find it she just makes one up. She spent a long time explaining where her treasures needed to go. So long, in fact, that the staff in the lounge started to laugh at me for getting myself stuck. When it got to the point where I was being instructed to help her up I said

“I don’t think I can. Not on my own.”

“Of course you can!”

“You do know I don’t work here don’t you?”

“Yes I know. But you’re cheeky”

And then..

“Does The Boss see you coming and going?”

“Yes. Every day.”

“Oh damn. We’ll just have to be quiet about it then.”

Then Lily joined us. She too had a box of tissues. Hers had a piece of paper tucked in it.

“I’ve got a list of things I need to do today here but I don’t know where to go so it’s not happening!” she said before wandering off to try her luck elsewhere.

“I’m going to ask that chap over there to help us Audrey. He’s very nice. He’ll know what to do”

I walked over to Hakim and pleaded for help.

“Audrey wants me to help her get up but I know I shouldn’t. Can you help me out please?”

As we returned to Audrey he said

“Today is my last day here. I’m going to work in a home in London.”

I told him that that made me sad and thanked him for looking after my Mum.

“She’s a lovely lady. She reminds me of my Grandmother.”

I shook his hand and thanked him again.

“Audrey? This young man here is going to help you”

“Is he? Good. Well, thank-you for all your help anyway”

“Audrey, it’s been my absolute pleasure. Take care and I’ll see you tomorrow”

“Ha! Yes, see you tomorrow then!”

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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