Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 7 Jun, 2024

Friday

“Hello Mum! It’s Nick. How are you?”

“Alright I suppose”

“Are you feeling a bit off colour?

“No, not really”

“Just fed up then?”

“Yeah. Fed up.”

That set the tone for the whole visit.

I had expected either Full-on, “Here. Take this. We’re off!!” Peak Active Mum or Sleepy Unresponsive Mum. She was neither of those. There was no fidgeting, she didn’t decline drinks, there weren’t hordes of Other People, she wasn’t talking nineteen to the dozen. It was all very subdued and calm. Resigned. That’s probably the best word to describe how she was.

It could be that the place was very quiet. The constant talking from next door has stopped. The lady who tells her Other People that they’re all dead was transferred today. The buzz of activity around getting Mum’s neighbour and all her belongings packed up and shipped out could have been unsettling for Mum too.

There weren’t many residents left now and there are fewer staff too. I didn’t want to be critical but I’d say they were at least one short. It did mean there were fewer people walking past her room and perhaps she was getting fewer checks. The thing with Mum is that you can’t always rely on just asking if she’s alright because she’ll say she is even when she isn’t. She’d said she was warm enough but her hands and feet were freezing. I put an extra cover on her bed.

She was incredibly indistinct today. I could barely understand a word she said. She was uncomfortable too. I had no idea now where she was in her Sleepy/Active cycle or even if she’s still actually in one. It’s all very odd.

Another odd thing happened today. A bed-bound resident at the other end of the corridor was having a strange episode much like Mum did a couple of months back. I last spoke to her on Tuesday or Wednesday and she was bright, funny and had all her marbles and everything. Today she was hallucinating really badly, clearly confused and distressed, couldn’t cope with a cup, bedclothes everywhere. It all looks like a UTI or something similar but they can’t find anything wrong with her. Just like Mum. A marked change in ability and behaviour but no sign of a cause. Most peculiar.

On my way in to The Home I had a very long chat with Gina. She gives such great insights into caring for and understanding dementia. She recommended changing the music that I have playing on an Alexa routine for Mum. I’m really going to miss her. She’s going to avoid the worst of the closure of The Home by taking some leave.

“When things get difficult, I’m like POOF! Gone!”

Perfectly understandable.

She’s still convinced that Mum will be transferred on the 25th.

I don’t know what to think about anything anymore.

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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