2015-01/18 – 












That night I had a long talk with someone in my hometown who is a liaison for this sort of thing. There were many tears and much encouragement. I felt much better about things after our long talk.

The next morning I was armed with a list of nursing homes that would accept her and that had a bed available. There was a nursing home in the town where I lived, but in the interest of making visits easier for my stepdad’s family I tried to find a place closer to them. In hindsight, I should have followed my gut instead.

I was not prepared at all for what faced in in the next hours. The first place I saw looked ok on the outside. It was a brick building with a couple of floors and plenty of windows. I walked inside, and there was an odor in the air. I could not place what this odor was. I only knew it was unpleasant. I found my way to the reception desk where a woman who spoke with a heavy accent asked why I was there. I explained that I was there to tour the facility to possibly place my mother there. She told me to wait and then disappeared. I heard a lot of sounds in this odd smelling place, sounds of people moaning and groaning mostly and people talking sharply.

I leaned back against the chair rail and my hands were met with an unpleasant film of something. I am not sure to this day what that was. I found a hand sanitizer bottle on the desk and immediately used it. A portly woman came around the corner just then. She was in a business suit and had way too much perfume on and a considerable amount of makeup on her face. She introduced herself as the administrator. She guided me into her office and we had a chat. I told her my situation and she said that they did have a secure unit and would be happy to show me around. So we went on a tour.

The smell ebbed and flowed through the facility. People sat in wheelchairs in the hallways, some with their heads slumped over, seemingly asleep. We reached a far off area and she used a card to get through the door. And then we were in the ward where they would place my mother. The smell was stronger here. The people who walked around were slower. There was less chit chat. And all the staff that I heard speak were speaking in other languages I could not understand.

There were a few residents in front of a television. This was “activity time” for them. I did not notice anyone monitoring them there. She led me down a hall and showed me into a room that was vacant but had two residents living in it. She said this was a typical double room. Then she led me down the hall to the room they would place my mom in since it was the only room they had available at this time.

There was a stench wafting down the hall as we got there, one that made my eyes water. Inside the room it was dark. There were two windows but it seemed like they let in no light. There were four beds squeezed into the room. There was barely enough space to walk around. I didn’t know what to say. She was talking, saying things about a bureau and a clothes rack. She said something about feeding times and visit hours. I didn’t actually hear any of it, though. I was lost in a haze. I made some sort of excuse about needing to think it over, telling her I would be back in touch.

I hurried out of the facility. There were tears escaping my eyes as I rushed across the parking lot and as soon as I sat in my car I cried, I cried so hard, and it progressed to sobs, loud gut wrenching sobs. How could I EVER place my mother in the care of this place. This was awful. I felt so bad for every single resident there. I hoped that the next place would be better. 

The next place was not better. The place after that was not better either or even the place after that. I was discouraged, lost, destroyed. What was I going to do? The hospital insisted my mother be discharged the following day. There was one last place on my list. I had to try and give it a chance because at this point I did not have a backup plan. None of the places I looked at were places I could in good conscience leave my mother in the care of. They were horrendous at best.


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