Blog 52: And so it goes on…..

There was one nursing home that we all liked.  It had always been my preferred choice for Bill.  Every month for the past year, its manager had phoned me and informed me that there was a place for Bill if we wanted it.  But every time I had said: “We’re not quite ready yet.  Keep phoning.  Thank you.”

When our sons and I went to inspect it, we found that the place was bright and clean, that each room had a view on to gardens, that staff members were pleasant and caring and best of all, that the bond requirement was only $300,000.00, far less than that other place.  What’s more, I had known all along about that bond requirement.  Hearing that amount came as no surprise to me.

As we went along with our inspection, we passed three elderly ladies, all on walkers. They were on their way to lunch.  One looked at our eldest son, David, and said: “I’d like to be walking with you. We don’t get to see many men your age around here.”

We all laughed.  We were happy for Bill to come to this place.

But, though Bill’s name went to the top of the waiting list, there was no place available for him at that time.  The place that he would have taken had been filled only three hours earlier.

So, Bill stayed on in the hospital, waiting.

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“Bill might have to be transferred to a different hospital,” the social worker said. “One with a palliative care ward.”

She named the hospital.  I baulked.  That hospital was four suburbs away.

“That would be very difficult for me,” I told her.

“You don’t drive,” she nodded.

“No,” I rejoined. “Silly, isn’t it?”

And, though the threat continued to hang over our heads, that transfer never eventuated and Bill, very conveniently, stayed on in our local hospital.

“If Bill’s hospitalisation here is longer than thirty days,” the social worker informed me, “the hospital will start charging Bill thirty-five dollars a day for care.”  I smiled.  Bill was receiving excellent care at the hospital and I was more than happy to pay for it.

Meanwhile, family and friends came to visit.  As we sat together by Bill’s bedside chatting, Bill would often be asleep.  At other times, he would be in the midst of one of his rants, swearing at the nurses when they tried to change his wet underwear, and yelling at his brother.

“You’re nothing!  You know nothing!  Where are they? Where’s he?”

But at other times, he would be awake and politely engaged.  This always happened when our nine-month-old granddaughter paid him a visit.  Though he wasn’t too happy when she tried to pull his blankets off him, yanking them back sharply out of her grasp and frowning, he was mostly happy to see that baby.

So was everybody else in the wing. She’s a smiley little granddaughter, that one, and when she visited, nurses and patients who were mobile would pop in to say “Hello” and see that smile.

Babies can bring such joy wherever they go.  They can light up a room, even those filled with the aged, the frail, the infirm and the dying.

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