I was so looking forward to having lots of free time during the Christmas weekend. I had it all planned out. Then the phone call came on Wednesday morning around 7 from my sister Marsha; Mom fell yesterday (Tues) in the parking lot of her apt complex and was fine until 3 am. At that time she was in so much pain she couldn't move. "Mom can't make it to the bathroom, can you go over there and help her"?
The weather was bad that morning and roads weren't horrible but they were slippery. As I got on the highway with my dog Honey in the backseat I started to put things together in my head; she's going to the hospital, I have to call for an ambulance. I admit I did use my cell to call her a couple of times while driving there but I really needed to know if her husband was there yet or not (they don't live together) and to let her know how close I was getting. Her voice said it all and I knew I was in for a long day.
My mother is 80. She has had a hip replacement, mastectomy, a pacemaker installed, a piece of her lung removed, a hysterectomy, gall bladder removed, apendix removed, parts of her spine fused. She has Gurd and many other issues including the fact that she is starting to show signs of neurological problems as well.
I got to her apt before the husband. She INSISTED on making it to the bathroom and changing her underwear and clothes before I call 911. Just after I got her taken care of and while I was helping her back to the sofa her husband walked in. Thank God! I couldn't wait to get her to the hospital, seeing her in so much pain and just knowing that she had probably broken the metal hip away from those fragile elderly bones.
In the meantime Marsha had called another sister Mary. Mary was very upset because mom didn't call her at 3 am, she lives right around the corner and could have been the first one there many hours earlier. But, it is what it is ~ and she didn't call me either, Marsha called me. In the back of my head I kept thinking "Who gives a shit?!" lets just get her some help!
At the hospital ED they assessed her imediately ( it was very quiet there ) and after about 6 hours had her admitted and into a room. Nothing broken, maybe a slight fracture or serious bruise but no surgery required. After about 6 or 7 different Dr's, Residents, Interns and Social Workers things started to settle down. She had IV fluids on board and heavy doses of pain meds along with a foley cathiter to hold urine.
Christmas Eve day; I had to work until about 1. Marsha, Mary and husband spent the morning/afternoon with her. I got up there around 2 and stayed until she fell asleep at around 7 or so. Chistmas morning I was there early and stayed for what seemed like forever while she slept on and off. It was nice that the hospital had cleared most of the floor the day she came in and it was fairly quiet up there.
Marsha got her a snazzy new walker, insurance got her a comode to fit over her toilet and she was sent home on Monday. She will have nurses for a week or so stopping by and between us sisters we took turns sitting with her yesterday. I got the late shift 'cause I had to work yesterday. I took tonight off so that I can do that shift again. Mary will have her 13 year old daughter there with mom all day today and Marsha will go over for a little bit to make sure meals and meds are taken care of. I will get her dinner and evening meds and get her set for the night.
My mother was a great mother when we were little. When she and my father divorced she changed into a drinking, selfcentered person who left us all behind. The youngest of us five, Beth, was only 6. The oldest was 16 and at 18 after graduating from HS took off without notice with her boyfriend and landed in Seattle. The rest of us struggled to survive and made lives for ourselves without a mother.
Everyone carries this anger, pain to some extent still, including my mother. But for God's sake, she's 80 now. I forgave her a long time ago, I see now that my two sisters are staring to also. That makes me very happy because my mother will die probably sooner than later and there will be no regrets. Just the love that skipped some years and the knowing that as a family, we can care for her with respect and compassion.