For the past few years, my hubby and I have a shared a secret saying about my 92 year-young mom. While watching her attempt to walk on her own, we smile and secretly say to each other, “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.” Maybe you are old enough to remember that toy commercial? I certainly am. That is pretty much what she looks like when she walks these days, a cute little Weeble wobbling back and forth, back and forth.
My mother is not a tall woman and has only grown shorter in recent years as osteoporosis takes its toll on her. More and more, she is very unstable on her feet, and she has fallen several times with various degrees of injury as a result. Mom is a very stubborn lady and has never liked to use any kind of device to help her walk more safely, even though she has pretty much every available tool to assist her in getting from one place to the next. She has a cane, a walker and a power chair, and she stubbornly refuses to use any of them much of the time, with the exception of driving her power chair to meals and to play bridge at the assisted living home where she presently lives. I think she is agreeable to use her chair at those times only because she can drive faster than she can walk. However, she has stubbornly refused to use anything to help her walk while alone in her apartment for many years.
That chicken came home to roost last Thursday night.
Yes, she suffered a bad fall around 11:30 pm when trying to get up from her living room chair and walk to the bedroom with nothing to steady her. She went down hard, resulting in three fractures in her pelvis, a knot on her head, a gash over her right eye, and a skin tear on her right arm. It wasn’t hard to figure out which side hit the floor by any stretch. She couldn’t hide those wounds, as hard as she tried to do so when the ambulance folks arrived.
I received the call right at midnight, and I was at the hospital with her until about 6 am on Friday morning. As hard as I tried to come home and get a little sleep, Little Red would have no part of it. He was wide awake and ready to play. So, I just decided to have three cups of coffee and made the best of the day, and all was actually fine. Maybe that playtime did more good than harm for me.
Over the weekend, the therapists attempted to do a little therapy with her, but they had no real luck in doing so. On Monday afternoon, she was discharged to a rehab facility and will be there for some time, I’m sure. She has also had (and is still having) a very severe paranoia reaction to a UTI that was diagnosed. That was definitely a first for her, too. I didn’t believe the doctor and nurses when they told me this horrible reaction was most likely due to the UTI, but of course, I came home last night and searched the web for other such stories, and sure enough, UTI’s in elderly women quite often cause such a harsh reaction. She was literally screaming at the top of her lungs and saying such things that I cannot even begin to repeat here. God bless her nurses and aides right now. Seriously. They need a big dose of it.
My mother is in good and capable hands, and for that, I am grateful beyond measure. A huge prayer request was answered when a room opened up for her at this particular rehab facility. This is not our first “rodeo” with the falling routine where she is concerned, but it is definitely a first with the off-the-wall screaming fit paranoia. She fell and broke her shoulder about two and a half years ago, and it took months for her to recover. I could attempt to remind her (when she gets back to being herself again) that she could have avoided this entire scenario by just using her walker, but it won’t do any good. So, I won’t go there.
We will just try to make the best of this awful situation as best we can with the prayerful support of others. I’m already overwhelmed at the support from many friends and a few (older) family members, but I will admit that there is precious little support from her adult grandchildren in the area that don’t belong to me. That makes me very sad, mostly for her. This generation is so focused on themselves that often do not realize what life is really about and what God calls us all to do for our elders in our families. They don’t belong to me, so I will just let them be. I sometimes wonder, though, if our society is truly changing in a manner where friends are the new family. That might be a good topic for discussion later on here sometime.