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The Nursing Home - The End of the Line

Updated on January 4, 2015
The ladies sat in the hallway just to enjoy each other's company.
The ladies sat in the hallway just to enjoy each other's company. | Source

"Nursing home." The words rang in Eva's ears like a death knoll. How did it come to this? Why did it come to this? Her mother had strokes before and recovered, but, this one was different. Her mother was 88 now and this stroke took away the ability to use her hands and arms. The doctor went on to explain that her mother would never leave the nursing home, it was just a matter of time. How do you deal with this? This isn't a diagnosis it's a verdict and not something you can readily share. She had always wanted to keep her mother at home but with a full time job there was no one there to care for her mother.

Eva had no choice, she had to say yes and consent to her mother being sent to the nursing home. Her first visit to the nursing home was a shock to her senses. The lobby was lovely and the receptionist helpful but there was that smell. Not really a bad smell but a smell of age and illness and maybe death. It pervaded the senses and followed you where you went. As Eva walked down the hallway to her mother's room she passed the elderly in the hallways. Men and women walking the halls, an elderly lady holding onto the railing on the wall as she shuffled her feet to get down the hallway, an elderly gentleman was sitting in a wheelchair smiling. Folks all about getting their exercise or socialization where they could. Slowly she approached her mother's room. There was another lady in the bed closest to the door. She was 89 and had been a resident at the nursing home for the past three years. She was very informative and gave Eva all the details of her mother's arrival and how she had settled in. After exchanging a few pleasantries the short haired lady got herself into a motorized wheelchair and left the room. At least her mother's roommate was a nice person.

Eva walked to her mother's bed and her mother began to cry. "I want to go home. I want to be in my own bed." This wasn't a good start Eva thought. More important, Eva wanted to take her home. The last thing Eva ever wanted to do was put her mother in a nursing home but she couldn't let her mother know that now! She couldn't let her mother see the pain and sorrow she was feeling. They talked for a while and Eva explained this was only rehab while her mother recovered from the stroke and could use her arms again. Eva stayed and fed her mother lunch then tearfully left. It was difficult to leave her mother there but Eva had to go back to work. After work Eva returned to feed her mother dinner. She repeated this pattern for several days until one day she arrived in her mother's room and her mother wasn't there. Her heart skipped a beat. She tried to walk slowly to the nurses station to find out where her mother was without attracting attention to herself, but fear was beginning to grow in her stomach. On the way, she noticed her mother sitting in a wheelchair in an atrium-like area, relief washed over her. Her mother seemed in better spirits though she still wanted to go home. They chatted for a short time then Eva tried to find out where to go for lunch as there were several lunch rooms in the building.

There was a lunch room in each 'section' of the nursing home and people were assigned to the lunchroom in their section. When they got to the lunch room there were several long tables lined with ladies and gentlemen. Some were sitting in chairs, some sitting in wheelchairs, and others tied into wheelchairs. Eva soon learned that there was a protocol here. Once you chose a place to sit that was where you always sat. The red haired lady tied in the wheelchair was Amy. She seemed to be in charge. She made sure everyone got the right meal and sat in the right places. She told Eva where to place her mother's wheelchair and that became her mother's spot. She watched over everyone at her table like a mother hen.

As the days went by Eva and her mother made friends with her mother's table mates. Often when Eva arrived her mother was sitting with her new found friends in the hallway. Though they didn't talk much they formed a bond and looked forward to each other's company. They chit chatted a bit about this and that, sometimes about their past sometimes about something new they had. Whenever an event was going on in the nursing home that involved music Eva's mother and her friends attended. They knew the words to all the old songs and truly enjoyed the entertainment. They would sing and tap their feet with smiles as wide as their faces! It brought back fond memories for them and they were happy to share now with their new friends. They were sometimes critical of those outside of their circle, mostly those who made noise or disrupted their entertainment.

While her mother's spirits were improving her health was not. One day at lunch time Eva was a little late arriving and an aide was trying to feed her mother. The aide said her mother had spit her food at the aide. Eva was shocked. This was not like her mother at all. Her mother was very mild mannered and gentle and above all considerate of everyone. She asked her mother why she had done that and her mother replied, "A person shouldn't have to do what a person doesn't want to do." Eva called the doctor that evening and explained it wasn't necessary to try to feed her mother if her mother didn't want to eat. The doctor agreed and said he would leave orders the next day. Both knew things were not looking good. This little lady, Eva's mother, was fading before their eyes and there was nothing anyone could do about it. The ravages of time were taking their toll. Eva's mother had had many surgeries throughout her life and her body was tired. This latest stroke added insult to injury and her body didn't have the strength to fight what it had done.

Eva's mother was in the nursing home 4-1/2 months when the telephone call came one midnight. The nurse said, "I am so sorry to inform you but your mother passed in her sleep between 11:00 p.m. and midnight."

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved


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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Oh TT that 8 years must've seemed an eternity for all of you! As you said, you were fortunate it was a good nursing home. All we can do is treasure each day. God bless.

      Brandy I think I need to tell my kids where you live and where that nursing home is! How amazing, what a concept, treat the elderly like real people! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • BrandyMD profile image

      BrandyMD 2 years ago

      This story and all the comments make me grateful to know of one specific nursing home in my area. They allow pets to live with the elderly at their establishment, have a group dining area that acts as a restaurant and they even hold events, such as dances and trips for the able bodied. This allows the elderly to get to know one another and build friendships and community. It's truly amazing.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 2 years ago from USA

      Eva got lucky. My own mother languished in nursing homes for more than 8 years. When "the call" came, I was grateful for it. Nobody should ever have to live like that, and to this day I worry that I will be next. Alzheimer's runs in my family, unfortunately.

      The good news was that every home she was in treated her well. Guess I got lucky.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Moonlake, I don't know what happened to my original reply to your comment so I'll have to re-write it here. I am so sorry for your heartache...I know it was heartache. Time doesn't heal all wounds, it just makes them more bearable. God bless and have a healthy and Happy New Year.

      Oh Jackie the stories I could tell but I wonder what the telling would prove? We can only hope our mothers understood and knew of our love for them. God bless you and have a Happy New Year.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Shyron, this was my mother. It broke our hearts but there was nothing we could do. Being there every day, some days twice a day, and still I wasn't there when she passed. The only consulation was she died in her sleep. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Mary, this is so much like my mother, it is scary. My mother signed herself into a nursing home when she was in the hospital and they transferred her and she called me from the nursing home. She did not realize it was what she signed up for and it was suppose to be rehab.

      I wrote a "Poem For Mom" she read hers to me then I read mine to her.

      and we both cried.

      One day I will write the story of the day the angel came.

      It is sad for the families and their love one when someone is in a nursing/rehab facility.

      And the cost to murder you loved one legally is astronomical.

      Voted up and interesting

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I was with my mom every day in rehab and nursing homes and still she was treated horribly and every nursing home she was in tried to make it her last even when she was just suppose to be there for rehab like for knee replacement. I had to bring her home finally and do it myself because they literally hurt her and had her afraid to talk! Finally though she was out of my hands and location to watch over often and that was her death sentence.

      The government doesn't care and knows the sooner they are dead the less they will be out so what can you do? Maybe there are some good ones but like Paul; having many of my own horror stories I hope to never see inside one again! They finally killed my mom, the sweetest soul you could want to know and it was all perfectly legal.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 2 years ago from America

      My husband was in a brand new beautiful nursing home. Everyday I went there it was like walking into hell. I had to keep constant watch on how he was treated and if they kept him clean. When Hospice came in things got better for him as far as his care. One day I will write a hub on what we went through, right now I just can't do it.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Thanks Paul. My experience taught me if you have all your faculties or a family to look out for you you get better treatment. I totally feel for the old people who are all alone in this world. Thanks for the vote and share.

      Thanks Writer Fox. It is definitely a tough decision even when it is the only one! If a day car facility is available it is certainly a good alternative! Glad you enjoyed my story.

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 2 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      Placing a parent in a nursing home can be a difficult decision, but I think the key is in finding the right nursing home. Costs for long-term care have sky-rocketed and often the best care is not affordable. I do think that it is better for the elderly to be around others their age and with similar conditions and to have activities planned for their special needs. Sometimes a day-care facility is a good alternative choice.

      Enjoyed your article!

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      This is a very interesting and useful hub for anyone who hasn't visited a nursing home. My ex-wife worked as a dietary aide in a nursing home and I remember hearing a lot of horror stories from her about how the residents were treated. I think I would sooner die first before being sent to a nursing home. Voted up and sharing with followers.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      It was tough when it happened and tough to write but I wanted to share for those who've gone through it. I hope she knew how much we loved her. Thanks for your comments Deb.

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 5 years ago from Greece

      A sad story, but hopefully your Mum felt loved and cherished in her final days, even if she wasn't where she wanted to be.

      A touching hub that couldn't have been easy to write.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Phyllis. As you can see from the pictures it was a bit personal for me too, in another way.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Wonderful hub. I worked in a nursing home when I was 18 - 22 and your writing took me back there to that time. I could clearly envision the home, the rooms, the hallways, and lunch rooms. Very well written.

      UP and Interesting

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      This reminds me of my grandmother's last days....well written story...voted up