The teeth broke in!

The teeth broke in through the wall. That is how she described the experience.

For months now neighbours had been complaining. The smell came out of the unit as they passed on the walkway. Glimpses through the door showed years of old newspapers, documents and garbage spilling out of the rooms into the hallway. The flat was a fire trap and the neighbours were worried about their health living so close to a place that stank so much.

Complaints to the authorities finally resulted in the arrest and forcible detention of Linda for being a danger to society, as a result of her hoarding and filth.

Linda saw it differently. In her confused state, she did not recognise police. She saw gigantic teeth bursting through the wall, not the police coming through her door. She didn’t hear what they had to say. Screaming, she tried to fight off the giant teeth and protect her house and all of the history that she had acquired over years of collecting. But the teeth had their way and she was dragged out of her home, the home that she had known for decades.


The walls were bare and stark. Linda sat up in bed shaking as she described her experience. In her turn, her granddaughter sat by the bed, looking at the frail woman. She had tears in her eyes as she listened to her grandmother and tried to make sense of the story. It took a long time for her to equate the story of the teeth with the reality of a woman being forced from her home by the police.


At the end of her independent life, Linda was beyond being able to recognise daily activities. She was eventually arrested and forcibly detained for being a danger to society. This was due to the squaller that she was living in and the impact it could have on the health of others. Her story, told by her, was heartbreaking. She had no understanding of what had really happened to her and why and how she had ended up in a nursing home. Writing her story is a challenge as I am unsure if it will make sense.

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