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Thursday, 28 January 2016

A room emptied at the nursing home

I had noticed in recent times up at the nursing home that H was not making as much noise as she used to. Normally H would be in her room and calling out to the nurses: "Nurse! Nursey! Please help me." this would go on and on for half and hour or so, and then she would start asking for mum. "Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude!" she would cry from her chair at the back of her room. Mum would sometimes get up from the recliner chair in her nearby room and go to see what was required of her but in recent times she had stopped going.

Then I noticed that H had stopped these constant requests for attention. I always make a point of asking mum about H and how she (mum) is getting on with her. Yesterday she gave me a standard response. "I don't sit with her any more [at meal times]," she said. "I don't have compatibility with her. Which is odd for me, not to be compatible with people." Which is true. Mostly mum gets along with everyone. "I don't need her," she finished up. Then today I noticed they had taken H's nameplate out of the holder by the door to her room

"So what do you think about the fact they've moved H?" I asked today. "I think that the staff were sorry for me," she answered with a little laugh. "Is that the reason they've moved her?" I asked. "Yes, only don't tell her," said mum.

"They told me that they put her into the dementia unit," I said to mum. "Did they?" she answered. "I didn't even know they had a dementia unit," I said. "Oh yes. It's waiting for me," said mum with a giggle. "So you're sad to see H go? I asked. "I'm glad to see her go," she said. "She wasn't a particularly positive person," she said. "I'm glad to see her go, yes."

As I was taking mum back inside I noticed the assistant manager in the front reception area, and she said hello to me. I told her I saw that H had vacated her room. "We moved her down to the dementia unit this morning," she said. "Was it because of mum?" I asked. "No. She was bothering everyone in that hallway where your mum's room is. And there are more staff where she's going now and she can get the level of care she needs." I said goodbye to her and took mum back upstairs, and thought back, as I often do, to the days when H and mum were almost inseparable. I certainly wouldn't be arriving at the nursing home any more to find, as had happened in the past, that mum was sitting companionably in H's room having a doze.

There was a middle-aged pair - a man and a woman - walking the hallways this morning in company with the staffer who had welcomed me when I had first gone to the nursing home to see about finding a room for mum. It's often her job, greeting newcomers and explaining conditions of residence to them. She also sits on the downstairs front desk answering phones and letting people in and out of the building. Soon there would be a new occupant of H's room. Maybe they would become mum's friend.

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