Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 21 Jun, 2024

Friday

All a bit of an End of Term feel at The Home today. The front of the home is empty now and all the salvageable bits like wall-mounted sanitiser dispensers etc are being taken down and boxed up. Had a good long chat with Gina. I wasn’t expecting her back from holiday until Monday. I think she came in because The Manager wasn’t there and also to print off some useful document templates to take wherever she goes next.

Gina said to expect a few difficult days after Mum’s transfer. I said that Mum had got through the two moves she’s had within the home with no problem. When she gets to the other end it’ll be all the same faces, same furniture, same everything. I didn’t say that on Mum’s current trajectory she’ll either be hallucinating strongly or sound asleep and won’t know anything about it.

Eleanor was transferred today and screamed “I JUST WANT TO GO HOME!!!” and “WHERE ARE MY BABIES!!” all the way.

The only ones left are Mum, Audrey, Bernard and Lily.

Lily would be collected by her son on Monday. Gina had no idea where she’ll end up.

Our conversation was interrupted by Steve.

“Have either of you seen Lily?”

I carried on to the lounge.

“Hey! You! Sit down here!” said Audrey

“Audrey! What ARE you like!?” said Terri.

Audrey was quite relaxed today and didn’t have an awful lot to say. I did get a long account of how she was able to get her shoes on though.

“Right. Well then Audrey. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll go and see how my Mum is”

“How is she? You never tell me how she is. Do give her my regards…”

I’d already stood up when Terri said “They’re up there changing Iris now.”

I sat down again and we watched the garden furniture get packed up.

The carers were leaving Mum’s room as I got there

“Hello Nick! Your mum’s calling for you. You and Uncle Tom”

“OK. Thanks.”

“Can you get her to drink something?”

“I do every time I’m here.”

Mum was a bit more awake, a bit more mobile and a lot more miserable. There were tears so she was lucid enough to know the state she’s in. There was some “I don’t know why I’m like this” and “I don’t know where I’d be without you” moments.

“Nobody came to see me yesterday.”

“I did Mum. I was here.”

“Were you!? I must’ve been asleep.”

I got her to drink an entire milkshake before a cup of coffee and a couple of mini pain au chocolats got delivered.

“These look good Mum!”

“Would you like some too Nick?”

“Oh go on then”

“What are they?” Mum asked.

“Little French pastries with chocolate in Mum”

“One each is it?”

“No, mine are on the way. These are both yours”

I tore off a corner and popped it her mouth. She was still chewing when my coffee and pastries arrived.

“They’re good aren’t they Mum?”

“Mmmhmm”

Her carer looked at her face, then looked at the empty milkshake cup and smiled.

I’d love to tell you his name but I don’t know it. You know that thing where you’ve seen a lot of someone but didn’t catch their name early on and then feel embarrassed to ask again because you’ve let it go too long? That.

There are still a few whose name I don’t know. Mostly the younger female carers. I’m wary of being the Dirty Old Man who asks “Well hello… And what’s YOUR name?”

Mum finished one of the pastries and had a good go at the coffee. Surprisingly, she was able to hold the cup herself. To start with anyway.

What else….? Turned out she wasn’t as lucid as I’d thought at first. I don’t know which uncle it was but one of them had been there this morning. He only popped his head round the door and didn’t stop. She wasn’t surprised. “That’s just like him” she told me.

Oh, and she called me ‘Uncle Nick’ a few times too.

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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