I'd decided to spend that first night there with her so that she wouldn't be lonely or afraid.
In retrospect, that probably wasn't the best idea. My mom didn't seem lonely or afraid,
I returned to my mom's room to wait with her for the nurse. Ten minutes passed, then fifteen.
Now my mother was getting anxious, no doubt rattled by my clock watching and wondering out loud every few minutes why the nurse was taking so long. I proposed that my mom at least get into her pj's and climb into bed while we waited for the nurse to bring her pills.
My mom in her bedclothes and ready for bed, I returned to the hallway and looked around.
"Need something?" called a voice from down the hallway. It belonged to the head of maintenance, who was now walking towards me.
I explained to him that it was my mom's first day here and she was getting anxious and wanted to go to bed and I was spending the night and we didn't know how things worked around here but, you know, she was getting anxious and I'd called for a nurse to give her her pills and that was a while ago and now my mom was really getting anxious and it was, you know, past her bed time and we were just, you know, wondering because we didn't know how it worked yet, but we were wondering when the nurse would come because, you know, my mom was getting anxious, and I had talked to an aide who said she'd call the nurse but I wondered if she'd gotten busy, or something, and now my mom was getting, you know, really anxious, and so I was just wondering if, you know...
"I'll look for somebody for you," the head of maintenance said kindly.
Moments later I was surrounded by the nurse, the aide and the maintenance man. The nurse patiently explained to me that evening medications were normally distributed between 8 and 9 pm, but if my mom wanted to go to bed earlier she could in the future have her meds with dinner, but this being my mom's first day they hadn't yet put together her care schedule, which they'd do tomorrow, and as soon as she, the nurse, finished with the resident she was taking care of she'd come back and take care of my mom. Which she did.
(My sister-in-law, a nurse, later explained to me when I recounted the experience to her that this is in fact how things are normally done in such a group care setting; that is, medications and routine care are given during rounds and not whenever patients - or their relatives - call for them.
In other words, it's not like hotel room service.
My sister-in-law further assured me that my mom did not have to be in bed by 7 pm, but that it was important to just let the staff get her on the established routine which, my sister-in-law, predicted, she'd do fine on.
In other words, don’t be micromanaging the aides and nurses. They know what they’re doing.
I got it).
As breakfast time rolled around the other residents began making their way through the living room to the dining room where they gathered around the table.
“Come and sit next to me,” said my mom’s new friend to my mom.
That was when I left, feeling like my mom would probably be okay. And maybe even I would be, too.