Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 15 Jun, 2024

Saturday

Mum was awake this afternoon but she wasn’t speaking clearly enough to tell how lucid she was. I’m guessing she had only just come out of her Sleepy phase because she was still stiff and uncomfortable. She started off quite miserable and at one point I thought she was going to cry. She pleaded not to be left on her own a few times and there was something I needed to tell Nicholas about. I couldn’t tell you what though. She declined a drink when I suggested it but didn’t turn her head away when I put the cup to her lips anyway.

She seemed not to have noticed (or perhaps not remembered) that she didn’t get a visit on Friday. She didn’t even twig when I told her we’d taken The Dog to the beach. Seeing the photos and watching the video I took of the crashing waves really cheered her up though. Surprisingly so. She loved hearing how a dog that didn’t like walking in puddles when we first got her now plunges head first into the crashing surf after a stick; how she doesn’t seem to care that the waves can knock her over; how instead of going out of her depth when I overthrow she works out where the waves will bring the stick in and waits. We’ve taken her to see our friends in Worthing before. She knew where the beach was and we knew we had to take our own sticks.

“The Dog went absolutely potty Mum! She loved it!”

“I bet she did!”

And that was me done with my news.

“Shall I read to you for a bit Mum?”

She nodded her approval. I couldn’t face going back to Father Okoli’s parish in the Cotswolds so returned to another book I’d tried before. The author used to be a TV screenwriter and the writing and content is at a whole different level. Much more enjoyable for me to read but as the story arcs are a lot longer and deeper it’s probably harder for Mum to follow. But it’s still about a country parish and it’s just a few miles west of where we were.

“It’s good, isn’t it Mum? The pictures he paints are really vivid.”

She nodded again.

With her mood lifted, Mum started asking about “what’s happening”. Guessing that she was asking about the move I went through the timetable again. She asked for reassurance that I’d be there when it happens. She asked that a few times.

Juliette had explained before that the staff aren’t saying anything about it and that it will be left to the families to tell residents about transfers. It’s leaving them all a bit discombobulated though.

The worst affected seems to be Audrey. She rarely gets visitors and has no clue what’s going on. Nobody is telling her anything. She had, she said, got “a bit panicky”.

Her gang has almost entirely gone. Quiet Callum – the one who never says anything apart from calling for the police when they get him out of his chair – is confined to his bed now. Audrey is left with Bernard who, when he isn’t asleep, is permanently focussed on either putting on or taking off his cardigan. She is desperately short of company as well as information.

I haven’t been allowed to walk past Audrey for a few days now. The jolly banter as I walk through the lounge isn’t enough. I am invited/instructed to sit next to her and talk properly. She’s clearly stressed and her ability to express herself properly has dipped markedly. She’s moving on the 25th and I’ve assumed the process will be same as it is for Mum so that’s what I’ve told her. Only I told her it’s me that’s hiring the van and booking the taxi so she’ll have to wait a few days while arrangements are put in place.

“That’s so kind of you! You know I can’t help trusting you even though I know you’re wicked”

“That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me in ages Audrey”

“But you will come and visit me after the breakout won’t you?”

“I’ll be there every day Audrey”

Bibliography

Tales of a Country Parish: From the vicar of Savernake Forest

Kindle Edition

by Colin Heber-Percy

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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