Home / Healthcare & Medicine / Care / Care Home Nursing: Changing Perceptions / Episode One
Meet Irene and Heather
IRENE (VOICEOVER): Sometimes I feel like I may just vanish.
Sometimes the hands in front of me tremor. But they’re not my hands I don’t think. They’re the hands of someone a lot older. It’s not me. I don’t always see myself in the mirror. That’s not me either. It can’t be. I try to remember everything all at once, but it’s too much and instead nothing comes. I can recognise that tired tone in their voices. It makes me afraid that they’re fed up and angry with me. I’m terrified that they’ll leave me, and when they do–
IRENE (VOICEOVER): –I’ll vanish completely.
ELAINE: Mum. Mum. Mum. Mum. Mum. She’s fallen
TIMOTHY: Irene. Irene, I need in there.
ELAINE: Don’t bang. Her head’s the other side of the door.
TIMOTHY: I’m bursting. You know I’ve always got to pee as soon as I get up.
ELAINE: She could have banged her head badly, Tim.
TIMOTHY: Oh, I’ll have to pee in the garden.
ELAINE: Call Gerry, will you? Mum. Mum, can you hear me? Move away from the door. Mum.
TIMOTHY: What do you want me to do? Kick the door in?
ELAINE: Anything. Pleas, Tim. Anything, please.
TIMOTHY: Like what?
ELAINE: Anything apart from just being useless.
TIMOTHY: I honestly don’t know what to do.
ELAINE: Did you call Gerry?
ELAINE: Well, that’s something at least.
ROSEMARY: None of us want to go to work, Heather. That’s what we get paid for. And I really need to get in there because, as much as I can’t be bothered, I really do need to get to my job.
HEATHER: (QUIETLY) I don’t care.
GERRY: Mum. Mum, you can get up now. It’s me. Mum, it’s Gerry.
TIMOTHY: She’s not conscious. Is she conscious do you think?
GERRY: No, I don’t think she’s conscious.
Mum, are you hurt? Can you hear me?
ELAINE: She could be bleeding to death.
GERRY: The window. I can get in through the window.
ELAINE: It’s a skylight, and it’s high up. And it’s small.
GERRY: I have been losing a lot of weight, I’ll have you know. The running.
ELAINE: Might not be open.
TIMOTHY: I can give you a leg up.
CHARLOTTE: I’ve got to see this.
ELAINE: You’re up.
CHARLOTTE: How am I supposed to sleep with all this racket going on?
GERRY: Your Gran is stuck on the other side of this door.
CHARLOTTE: Really? Again?
GUY: Can I get in the bathroom?
ELAINE: You’re here too, are you?
GUY: Stayed over.
CHARLOTTE: Gran’s hogging the bathroom.
GUY: Do you want me to kick the door in?
ELAINE: No. There’s got to be a better way.
GERRY: Keep us steady. Keep– keep us steady.
No, I can’t see. Can’t see her. Mum.
IRENE: Gerald, get down from there at once you stupid boy!
GERRY: Has this happened before? How many times?
ELAINE: Not so you couldn’t get the door open.
CHARLOTTE: Mum, yes it has.
ELAINE: Yes, well– but she woke up early, and she hadn’t hurt herself.
GERRY: Why am I not being told about this? I’m only three miles down the road.
ELAINE: I’m dealing with it, Gerry. I can’t keep calling you every five minutes of the day.
GERRY: Every five minutes now, is it?
GUY: Well, it’s every day at least. Like, it’s every day when I’m here.
ELAINE: Mind your own business, Guy. You’re not family.
CHARLOTTE: Don’t speak to him like that.
TIMOTHY: Charlotte, don’t start on your mother.
CHARLOTTE: You’re not family either. Well, only recently, but not proper family.
TIMOTHY: I think you’ll find it’s usually me who tracks her down on the street when you leave the door open when you come home late.
IRENE: I am here.
TIMOTHY: Or maybe it’s you that leaves the door open, Guy.
GERRY: How long has she been wandering off?
IRENE: I am here, you know.
ELAINE: Who knows who leaves the door unlocked?
GUY: Yeah, and it’s not me because I don’t have a key.
GERRY: Can anyone here tell me how long she has been wandering off for?
ELAINE: She’s not in your house, she’s with me every day making messes and needing and taking to hospital.
GERRY: My house is not big enough for her.
TIMOTHY: You downsized at a convenient point, Gerry.
GERRY: That’s none of your business, Tim. What about your place? Aye, you’ve got your feet well under the table here, haven’t you?
ELAINE: You be careful what you say, Gerry.
CHARLOTTE: He has a study in his house. What are you studying, Uncle Gerry, astrophysics?
GERRY: Yeah well, look– no. We’re taking in a foreign student. All right? The uni pays for that.
IRENE: Please stop.
GERRY: How long’s that been? Two years? Three years? Oh, that’s it. That really is the limit!
IRENE: Stop it! Stop it all of you!
IRENE: I know I’m not wanted.
GUY: Ah, it’s OK, Nan. Here, have a chip. [CHATTER]
CHLOE: If I get the care home, I’m walking. I don’t care.
HEATHER: I did it once already. So?
CHLOE: And how bad was it?
HEATHER: Not bad, just boring. There’s literally nothing to do there.
LUCY: It’s a complete waste of time.
HEATHER: You can’t even change the TV channel to anything good.
CHLOE: A month in there, it will feel like a year.
LUCY: Geriatrics. There’s literally nothing to learn.
CHLOE: If you go back there, Heather, you’ll never catch us up. You’ll qualify for nothing when you leave.
HEATHER: Stop it. Would you just come on?
ELAINE: You want a sandwich?
GERRY: No, no, no. Not allowed to on this diet. No carbs.
ELAINE: Oh, you can have a sandwich. What about half a sandwich?
GERRY: That’s still a sandwich, only smaller.
ELAINE: Oh, you’re just like Mum. She doesn’t eat anything either. I’ve got to make her everything now. And if she does take it upon herself to make something, she makes such a mess.
GERRY: Aye, she was always feeding me. That’s what’s led to my issues.
ELAINE: What issues? And don’t talk about her like she’s dead.
GERRY: You know what I meant. When I was a youngster, she was always giving me sandwiches. Oh, and the biscuits mind.
ELAINE: When people came round, lots and lots of plates of biscuits.
GERRY: And the guests never ate them, so they were always given to us. Ah, the good ones as well.
ELAINE: Dad never eat them.
GERRY: I know. Why was that?
ELAINE: Because he only like bourbons and Mum never bought bourbons.
GERRY: What, on purpose?
ELAINE: Of course on purpose. [LAUGHTER]
GERRY: So how’s work? Busy?
ELAINE: You know I’ve had to drop hours.
ELAINE: When I’m not here at home, that’s when things start to go wrong, and I don’t mean things like leaving the freezer door open. That’s only a wet kitchen floor and ruined chips.
GERRY: Oh Elaine.
ELAINE: I don’t know when I come home from work and I find her crying because she’s scared. She’s scared because I don’t come home. And I don’t even know how long she’s been on her own or how long she’s been upset. She can’t be left on her own.
GERRY: Well what about Timothy?
ELAINE: He has to work too.
GERRY: Yeah, but what I mean is, can he not work and you stay here and look after her?
ELAINE: Tim’s struggling just now. He’s not getting the hours he used to, Gerry. Please don’t say anything about it, but he’s worried. And I get worried with him, and then I go at my work and I can’t keep my mind on my work because I’m thinking they’re going to fire me. And then I come home and make the dinner, and I can’t find the forks because she’s hidden them all. I’m telling you, Gerry, I’ve had enough. I’ve really had enough. I mean, my heart’s broken with it. I’m just broken.
GERRY: Why did she hide the forks?
MARTIN: These are your placements. Please make a note of the times and locations. That’s all for this week. Thank you.
HEATHER: Not again. I can’t do this again.
LUCY: Why have I got it? This is crap. Of course you’re safe Chloe, cow.
CHLOE: Mr. Martin recognises my superior potential. Not like you two losers.
MARTIN: Martin. Lucy please, we’re not in school.
LUCY: I’ve been in the old folks home, Mr. Martin.
MARTIN: I know, I know. Look, I don’t find nursing home placements beneficial to anybody, but this is the way things are set up, so–
LUCY: Mr. Martin–
MARTIN: There may be a place in Surgical, at a push. I think you can offer more than a care home allows, so leave it with me, OK?
LUCY: Thanks, Mr. Martin.
CHLOE: How’d you pull that off?
LUCY: Who cares?
HEATHER: How did this happen to me? How?
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This story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.
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Care Home Nursing: Changing Perceptions
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