It Was NO Fire Drill!

Yesterday I went to visit Mom in the nursing home and we followed our usual routine.  I signed her out at the nursing station and wheeled her out of her wing and over to the home’s library.  We settled down  to enjoy a chat.  I caught her up on the family news and then I pulled out my Kindle and said, “Well, are you ready to do some reading?  I think we left off at the part where Cow #24, who is going to have her calf any day, has failed to turn up at the barn for milking time.”

No sooner did I get those words out of my mouth when the blaring sounds of the fire alarm started up and I heard the hall doors slam shut.  For some reason, whenever those alarms go off, every door at the end of every hallway in the place shuts.  I guess it follows the theory of having doors shut between compartments on a ship.  If the ship springs a leak, hopefully the leak will be contained within a small area.

I waited a minute to see if someone would come by saying it was only a test of the alarms but that didn’t happen.  Instead staff were running past in the direction of Mom’s wing.

“OK, Mom….I guess we’d better head out,” I said and I proceeded to push her to the common area on the other side of those dreadfully heavy doors.

One of the staff saw me standing there with her as a steady stream of staff with people in wheelchairs came into the room.

“Should I take her on outside?” I asked.

“No, you two are fine right here.  The problem is back in her wing so this is a secure place to assemble,” she answered.

“Well, Mom, let’s head over to that little alcove with the sofa and chairs and we’ll continue our story,” I said as I pushed her into the area.  Oh, boy, there was a flat-screen TV on the wall blaring out old-time music and there was a sign next to it that said, “Do NOT turn off this TV.”  On top of that noise, there was an elderly gentleman who had just left the dining room and settled in one of the chairs in the area and HE had an accordian.  He was gaily playing tunes on it, despite the chaos whirling around him.

I started to read as Mom leaned forward, trying to hear what I was saying.  It was impossible.  Firemen had arrived and were loping through the area, a steady stream of wheelchair bound patients were still arriving, and a hard-of-hearing man and his wife had joined us in the alcove and she was trying to give him an update on what was going on.

Just then one of the administrators came and told us all, “Please assemble either in the Chapel or the Recreation Room.  We need to keep this common area clear.”

We all started dutifully filing down another hall towards the rooms.  I pulled Mom’s wheelchair in behind two staff members who were pushing a patient in a bed.  All of a sudden, WHAM!  I got banged in the back of my legs by a walker.

“Are you going to move or what,” a querulous voice asked.

“I can’t move until the bed moves in front of me,” I tried to explain.  “Everyone is moving slowly.  You’ll just have to be patient.”

We made our way into the chapel.

“Is everything going to be alright?” one of the residents asked.

“I can’t think of a safer place to be,” one of the staff replied.

“Amen to that,” I answered.  “OK, Mom, let’s try to find out where this cow got off to, shall we?”

I began to read again but only got a page or two more into the story when the “all clear” call came and we were directed to return to our rooms so they could do a head count.  Back I wheeled Mom to her room.  As we entered her hall, I jokingly said, “Mom, were you smoking in the bathroom again.?”  The staff walking by, Mom, and I all had a good laugh.

As things settled down, I sat on Mom’s bed and started to read the story to her once more.  Oh, oh, there went that blasted fire alarm again.

“Darn,” wailed a staff member in the hallway, “we just sent those firemen home.”  She saw me poking my head out of Mom’s room and advised me to just stay put with Mom until they did a quick investigation.  Soon the alarm went off but by this time the firemen were back and staff were swarming in the hall once more.

“OK, Mom, I’m going to stay here for a little bit longer just to make sure everything is OK but then I’m going to head out.  I don’t think Cow #24 is going to have that calf today,” I laughed.

Mom laughed, too.  “I don’t either, ” she said, “but we had our own excitement.”

We did indeed.

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Hot Flashed Funk

  • Kind of a lot of excitement, if you ask me. Was something actually on fire?

  • There was something burning but I never did find out what it was. Apparently it was coming from one room in my mom’s wing. I suspect it was something electrical in that room.

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