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" I’m buggered ! It has been a great day for me."

The staff had races emulating the Melbourne Cup Day for the patients. One of the nurses was a kiwi and I piped up “we must have more kiwi representation “, Management who were all there frowned as no inmates were taking place. Given a handicap, I finished in front. 

A big cheer and excitement was a lot of fun. Like I have written you make your own fun in here.

But what happened here?

" Bugger it’ " was different. Bugger is a word we use quite frequently down under. 

" Buggered " means tired. " Bugger it " means " I am tired of it. " ,


One day a police officer said " Oh bugger it " , and with that he squeezed the taser’s trigger, and the over 90 old age pensioner fell to the floor. 

This is what occurred  early this year when an elderly woman was wandering in the passageway, in an old person’s home, with her walker and armed with a knife. At the time 4 a.m in the morning, she was making it a little difficult for the night nurse, refusing to hand over a knife that she was holding. 

As one who spent 14 years looking after a dementia patient, this sort of patient behaviour is not common. The most likelihood the knife in question would be one that was used at mealtimes. These knives are far from being sharp as they must be given nursing homes have many patients, with various states of mind, cognitively and awareness.

Just why the night nurse was of mind to call the police begs the question, …why?  From the outside it would appear as though she was either too young or simply was unable to cope. A frail old lady confronted by three apparently professional people. The old dear was of no threat to two members of the police force who had summoned for help. Here was the second time a decision was called upon, firstly by the night nurse and secondly by trained police to whom this job  should have been simple

Either way that led to the situation that unfolded. Two well built police officers arrived assessed the situation and it was reported that they told her to  drop the knife. They tried again and there was no response. Did she have the mental capacity to understand what they were directing her to do, or for that matter what they were saying  At  this point there was a simple remedy available to the nurse and a police

Any man with an ounce of comprehension would have walked away. The pensioner was we are told was armed with a  knife, but she was also using a walker, which requires two hands. The purpose of a walking frame is to help stabilise from falling over, as balance is prevalent in the aged. 


The police officers all of twice the size of the elderly lady became impatient  …why? She could have been their grand-mother, and certainly she was to a family. Two policemen a frail old lady of 90 and in a moment of ,,who  knows what…one of them yelling “bugger”    never realising what the ramifications could be. In falling, as the writer is well aware, she would have fallen on her back and no way of preventing hitting her head. In doing so she fractured her skull and was taken to hospital where she died two days later. All of this was avoidable, had they simply walked away and robbed the lady of attention. In time she would have put the knife down or given it to the nurse. It was a tragedy that should never have happened

Managing a nursing home is hard work. I have seen it from both outside when they cared for my wife and inside where  I am now. Like many I  vowed that I would never go into a nursing home. Your very act of independence means that you have to admit or worse still accept that you are no longer able to manage. It is a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes it is for the best.  Did I have a choice?  no not really. My son took one look at me and said “ from today things will never be the same. You are going to hospital.

“.I protested saying “no”, and he said “the ambulance isl waiting at the gate”, and so it was. For seven months I never knew a thing and seldom aware of my surroundings. It was during this time that my beloved wife of three months off, 50 years passed away.  My condition was the result of the toll of being a carer for so long. My son was told by a doctor that had he not taken me into hospital  that night I would not last more than three days.


Come the next week I have been a patient in a nursing home for twelve months..

You may ask, what has it been like.?   

The first thought that comes to mind is a given. If you do not have good health, you have nothing. 

In here the highest percentage of patients have one form of dementia or another. Some are in a  vegetative state, where they do not recognise anyone, some have to be spoon fed along with the ablutions that the nurses carry out driven largely by their commitment to their profession. Nothing it seems is too much bother and they always have a smile and a helping hand.  


Other patients are slow, very hard to help and because some are mobile by virtue of walkers, have to be assisted by people who work in the lifestyle division.   Each ward has approximately 30 separate room that sees some of the patients removed from a bed and  by the use of hoist transferred to a wheelchair.   

There a few like myself who are fully cogniscent and mobile, that are co -operative, but I have been admonished for giving a helping hand from time to time. 

When my son was looking for a  nursing home he showed me one or two, but the final choice was mine. 

You realise just how precious life is. I used to sit with an old chap and I took it upon myself to help. He turned 96  and his family came in and the home put on a lovely party. 

They asked if I would go down and join them. I did. Two days later he had a fall at night,  broke his hip and died in hospital. A few days later two men across from me passed away one day apart. It is these occasions that make you realise how fragile life can be.

It is not much doom and gloom because there are games and some are free to come and go as they please. 

Since I have been here I have several times met students from a couple of Colleges and lately student doctors from Bond University. Only today the student was an Aboriginal with a full English name Fagin I told her that she was a shining example of what her race could achieve. In all modesty I was in my element. She left after 30 minutes and said that I had convinced her, she was training to be a doctor.

This then is a snapshot of life in a nursing home. I have a neighbour who is in here. He hated it from day one and he still does. It is a mindset and if you accept the situation, then you don’t take long to settle in.

But I have always been a fighter. I've never given up. 



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