wings and things

The party

Last Saturday I invited a wonderful friend, Mike, who has done the painting in this house over many decades, for drinks at the nursing home at 3pm and my lovely friend, Mel, and her daughter, Emily, also joined us.

Of course it wasn’t the sort of party we might have had years ago when Anthony’s mother was alive, where the drinks were over flowing and the nibbles plentiful: champagne, pink gins, cinzano, cocktail sausages, oysters, assorted cheeses, pate, and other savouries. Neither was it the sort of party we had in Anthony’s pre-marriage-to-me bachelor days: lots of beer, roast chicken, steak on the barbecue, and, seasonally, crayfish.

It was a much simpler affair with just the five of us and the unexpected addition of a nephew from Perth, but this small number of people easily fills Anthony’s nursing home room and seems like a crowd. Also, despite the fact that none of us could drink much (or anything at all) due to having to drive home, and my bowl of almonds wasn’t popular, the open bottle of red wine, the wine glasses that I had ready, and a few bottles of warm beer, simulated a real party-of-old. We were all quite lively and attentive to Anthony and, thinking about it now, it wouldn’t have worked with any more people because it would have been too overwhelming for him.

After everyone left and Ants and I were talking about how lovely the occasion had been, I felt I’d hit on a great idea for the future. I could invite a handful of his many friends for the same kind of party every now and then; I might even be able to get a few of his friends and relatives that are a bit nervous of the nursing home to come along. Yes! I need to take the initiative here and do a bit of old-fashioned planning and inviting.

The next day, Mike emailed me this message:

Hey Julie, just a thank you for yesterday at the nursing home with Anthony.
I was happy to see Ants in a great frame of mind he is looking so well as to when I last saw him. I was laughing to myself all the way home with his comments to me when i told him that he waited until he was 55 then got married at 57, and he replied ” you’re an arsehole” he definitely hasn’t lost his sense of humour. I thought he was extremely bright also yesterday.

I’m thinking that the nursing home has done him the world of difference in knowing that he is being looked after so well in his stage of life with old age and all that goes with it.

Sadly yes he would still like to be home with his Julie and Ming on the farm but that is not possible now. We all realize that he is in the best possible care .

Family and friends can still get to visit him there for however long they have time to spend with him so long as it doesn’t tire him out, I noticed yesterday that he does tire out.

I will come see him again soon to stir him up or he to me.

It was good to see you again you are looking bright again since I last saw you on the farm the afternoon you brought Anthony out for afternoon visit.

Today, it was very easy to conjure Anthony’s newfound smile by reminding him of the party. This was our conversation:

Me: Wasn’t it great to see Mike again!
Ants: The food wasn’t good.
Me: Okay, so what do you want next time?
Ants: Hors d’oeuvres, you know, the ones ….
Me: That your mum used to make – yes I get that!
Ants: Is she all right?
Me: Who, Mel?
Ants: No, Mum.
Me: She’s fine, Ants.

Thanks so much, Mike, Mel, Em, and nephew Michael for being part of last Saturdays party!


Simulating home

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As you can see we are still experiencing a wintry spring after its false start last week. The weather alerts for Western Australia are a bit alarming with winds of up to 100 kph so I came home a bit early from the nursing home yesterday.

I have begun to arrive at the nursing home by 11am most days now because, with the volunteering, I need plenty of time to wear both ‘hats’. It is working out so well but more about that in another post.

Over the two and a half years since Anthony entered the nursing home, his room has become as close as I can get it to our real home: freshly picked flowers (although I never did this when Anthony lived at home – he did!); daily food treats on plates and a cutting board I keep there; familiar shows on television via the DVD; a well-stocked bar and our own glassware and so on.

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And (my latest idea!) Ming’s 2.5 kg weights. I didn’t expect Anthony to be quite so enthusiastic about this but I was wrong – he did around 20 for each arm with me cheering him on and cracking up laughing at the same time!


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Despite my intention to take Jack, our Irish terrier, in to see Ants, I couldn’t find either his leash or collar that day so I will probably take Blaze instead for the time being.

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Even I am beginning to feel more at home at the nursing home than I am at home, which is really weird! Well, at the moment, it is a lot warmer there.