Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 27 Jun, 2024

Thursday

I walked into a full-on Sheets & Pillows Everywhere With Legs Over The Bedrail situation that I wasn’t expecting this evening. To have been this physically active without first having had the company of hordes of Other People was out of the ordinary.

Mum was very chatty and would tell everyone who came into her room to put the rest of her things in the front room so she was quite aware that she’s got new digs. One of the guys told me she’d been yelling a lot today. Not for me though. For her mum. He’d come in when I was remaking Mum’s bed for the third time.

Months and months ago, when her hallucinations started getting bad, she told me she had four boys and four girls. Just the once. Never mentioned it again. Out of nowhere, we went there again today. She didn’t offer any names so I prompted her.

“So there’s Nicholas. That’s me.”

“Yeah”

My Actual Brother…

“Yeah”

“And…”

Nothing. She didn’t even look like she was trying to remember.

“And… The Other Two?” I suggested

“Yeah”

“OK. Then you had…”

Actual Eldest Sister…

“Yeah”

Actual Youngest Sister…

“Yeah”

“And…”

“What’s-Her-Name and the Other One”

She slipped in and out of reality. Talking about sorting stuff out when we go home and then talking about the carers.

“Sean!? Were you talking about Sean Mum?”

“Yeah”

“He’s a nice bloke isn’t he?”

“Yeah. He is nice”

I didn’t even know she knew his name.

“I feel sorry for Sean. That Reggie takes the mickey out of him mercilessly.”

“Does he!? Poor little devil”

The ‘Feeling Sorry’ theme seemed to stick. Several times during the visit she’d start off with

“I feel sorry for {insert name here}…”

Then she’d say something indistinct but definitely complimentary about them before finishing with

“Trouble is, she’s a right bitch!”

The only names I could make out clearly were Eileen and, oddly, Lesley. Don’t say anything. I haven’t told her yet.

Mum was briefly interrupted by some stomach pain which I thought was just wind. As it got worse I asked, several times, whether she wanted me to go and tell someone. Each time, she said “No”.

In the end she got tired of me asking, put on her Serious Face, wagged a finger at me and said.

“Just behave yourself, you!”

Mum was still doing the “Who was that?” thing as people walked past her room. She seemed perplexed that I didn’t know who they were. Not yet. That was until two of the girls from The Last Home came along.

“Good evening Nick! Would you like a cup of tea?”

“Yes please!” said Mum

She managed to hold the beaker herself today.

The girls went across the corridor to Bunty’s room.

“Where are you going Bunty?”

“I’m looking for my husband.”

“Bunty! He’s dead!”

“Bloody hell,” I thought, “That’s a bit harsh!”

After an hour, Mum’s Other People started arriving. She didn’t identify any of them. I just knew there were five of them because she counted them.

Other People must be contagious because Bunty had them too now.

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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