Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 11 Jun, 2024

Tuesday

Mum was as good today as I’d seen her in ages. Bright, chatty, comfortable… Even laughing at times. She took her meds without protest and really tucked into a chocolate cake and a cup of tea. She even managed to feed herself and hold the cup.

Terri had delivered the tea and cake. While she was there she did the standard in-depth check on how Mum was. This is to sing “You Are My Sunshine”. If Mum joins in then all is well. Mum sang along enthusiastically and Terri left well satisfied.

Mum mentioned something about moving and I was able to confirm that her transfer date is going to be Monday 24th. I’d spoken to The Manager on my way in and explained that I couldn’t do the 25th due to a diary clash involving a trip to hospital in Oxford with Lesley’s dad.

“OK,” he said, “I’ll change it!”

I had long conversations with both The Manager and Juliette. In fact I had the same conversation with both of them. They both looked absolutely exhausted. Neither of them had thought about what happens next and what they would do when The Home closed. They were both looking forward to a rest. I told them I could well understand as I’d been there too. Long hours of high pressure work and not enough breaks. Back when I was freelancing in IT I had had the usual freelancer’s fear of not having enough work and going straight from contract to contract. When I was at my most burnt out I decided I’d take a month off to get my head straight. That month quickly turned into two and then became six. Eighteen months later I was still waking up feeling better than the day before. When I eventually decided I ought to go back to work I got a call and a contract the next day. It’s going to take them some time too.

Fortunately for Mum, it seems that the door is still open for Juliette to transfer to the new home. She has the strongest bond with any of the staff at The Home

“So Mum, your new room is all organised. It’s a new home. There’s a van to carry all your gear and your taxi is booked. Everything will be done for us and you won’t need to lift a finger. That sounds alright doesn’t it?”

“Blimey! I should say so!”

I explained what the place was like and told her that the address was even posher than the one she has now. She was really keen and even keener when I said she’d be living on a farm. She told me to let everyone know where she was going. There was a long discussion of what she needed to be packed. I lost count of how often I said “Don’t worry Mum. It’s all going with you. All of it.”

I did get an early warning that there was something odd though. Mum asked how Eldest Sister was. I told her that she was well and that she’d visited with her two youngest at the weekend before coming to us for lunch.

“What about the other baby?”

What I should have done is just tell her that he stayed at home. What I actually said was that he was at home with his new wife. She looked puzzled.

“Here. Look. That’s his wedding photo.”

I got a look from her that plainly said “Who on earth is that huge bearded man and what on earth are you talking about!?”

I was more careful after that.

I’d been there about an hour and a half when she said

“I wonder how Nick and Lesley are?”

“They’re alright Mum.”

“The trouble with Nicholas is he only comes in when he feels like it”

Bloody hell.

I got a clue to who she thought I was when her guts started playing up.

“Ooh! Ooh Tony! Don’t go yet! Ooh Tony!!”

When that had passed, I told her I was going home for my tea.

“And you’ll come back later”

Sigh

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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