I’ve realised that since I’ve been writing I have often disparaged the fact that I now live in a nursing home. For twenty years my husband was my main carer at home; when my district nurse and a social worker said he had done more than most people who are married to someone with MS, he realised that he was, in fact, at the end of his tether and that was when I came into this home. It was a great relief to him that I was able to come here.
I have been encouraged to decorate my room how I want and I have a group of friends who visit me every week. My husband, Adrian, comes twice a week and one session he will take me out to a garden or wherever is appropriate depending on the weather. We often go home for lunch and maybe one of our sons and his partner will be there. When I’m dozing or when I haven’t got anyone here I often listen to my radio.
I sometimes hear about how people’s parents do not want to go into a home. After being the only ill person in our house I have found being one of twenty-four or so residents at this nursing home quite difficult. I am the youngest resident, the others all being in their eighties or more.
On the whole I have found the staff are very nice; the carers care, and they appreciate my writings which help them understand how it feels to be me. Inevitably the home must be run as an institution – meals are earlier than I used to have them; the food is cooked on the premises and for each meal we are given a choice. Again, because it is an institution, the same meal or choice is served every Monday and so on.
The real reason that I speak against being in a nursing home is that I hate hearing other people’s televisions, and if my door is open and someone is helping me to eat, another carer will ask my helper various questions about what’s to be done, and so they have a conversation that I have no part in. They know they shouldn’t talk over me but sometimes they want to make use of this meeting.
I feel that the staff enjoy my sarcastic moments and my sense of humour. I may be the youngest but I do feel they appreciate me and my wish to communicate with them.