This I Believe
I believe that a nursing home should be feared more than anything. Nursing homes do not smell of the old, but death itself. It is a sweet rotting smell, one that neither can be removed nor replaced. My two grandparents on my father’s side are the sole reason why I despise nursing homes. My grandfather also feared nursing homes. He did everything to stay out of one, and lived the latter years of his life in an ‘active’ retirement home. As he kept getting older, there was less he could do. He had trouble cleaning himself, and struggled to make it to the bathroom. His room began to smell, so he purchased many of the plug-in oil air refreshers. He made the mistake of mixing scents, and as a result his room had no recognizable odor, yet it was distinct like no other. It is sickening for me to say that it was fortunate for him to die during a surgery. The last months of his life were full of frustration; the inability to carry things children can, managing his finances, even when audited, not knowing that he could reach the bathroom, and just the pain of seeing his life partner. Every day before he died he would visit my grandma, who was in a nursing home, which was more like a hospice. The doors were locked, for the ‘residents’ would sometimes attempt to leave, but were not allowed to. It was as if they were caged, imprisoned against their own will. With the medicine and illnesses that my grandmother had, she became delirious. The most sickening day of my life was when we visited her after my grandpa’s death. The nurse had to introduce us to her, for she did not recognize anyone, including her own son. She seemed excited by our visit, and that little joy was swept away when she asked where George, my grandpa, was. She kept asking, searching for him. I still do not know if she was told of his death, or if she was unable to acknowledge that he was dead. All her phrases were repeated, limited to very few words. Her eyes seemed to be looking beyond reality; they were wide open, but motionless. I did not stay in the room for the long, it was unbearable to ser her in that state. It came to a point where the faculty decided to remove my grandma off her medication, and allow her to die. I am sure that death is rarely as liberating as in her case. Nursing homes have an aura, one of death and decay. Surrounded by the deaths of others, until it encloses upon you. Decay of the mind and spirit, declining into an abyss. I would never, ever wish to be in any situation remotely similar to my grandparents, I fear it among all, and wish to never reside in a nursing home.
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