Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again...

Well, we just went from our first ever ambulance ride and trip to the hospital to two in two weeks! I wish this job came with a manual. It was just as taxing this time to decide if we really had an emergency and whether it was okay to call 9-1-1. Just like last time, it ended up being imperative.
The day started out great. My Mom was recuperating beautifully from the infection that sent her to the hospital. After almost two weeks of coma like sleeping, My Mom returned to herself on Sunday afternoon, bright eyed, big appetite and singing her lungs out, including her signature "Back in the Saddle Again" which ends with a specially added "ruff, ruff, ruff."
Well, she was back in the saddle again alright and riding a little too hard. She crashed.
Up and at 'em early Monday, she decided to dress herself. Unfortunately she overloaded her little arms and fell backward. The thud was thunderous. Unwilling to drop her favorite blue outfit she hit the ground with no arms to break the fall.
I ran in, my heart in my throat and found her looking all happy still surveying her clothes. Didn't seem too bad. Our biggest issue would probably be getting her up off the floor. She had been laying around for over two weeks and was pretty weak.
"I can help you up," I explained, "but I'm going to have to grab you around your middle. It may be a little uncomfortable, but it will be over in a minute and I'll have you on the bed."
"Yea. I'm not buying that idea. How about I'll just stand up myself." Okay, humor was in tact. That reminded me, I probably should make sure her bones were in tact, as well. The only pain she expressed was in her thigh. There was no bruising, no swelling and thank God, no bone protruding. I had her bend and move the leg. It seemed okay. I hoisted her 90-pound body up to the bed. While trying to sit up straight, she began to feel discomfort a little further into the hip. For the next hour I did everything wrong medically -- yet everything right for My Mom.
I let her finish putting on the blue outfit -- I mean she worked so hard to go get it and she'd be mortified to go to emergency half dressed. Then I let her eat the toaster pastry I had made her. Last time we went to emergency we didn't eat for hours and she can't afford to loose an ounce. I even showered. It wasn't until I returned to the room to check on the status of breakfast in bed that I saw her wince again. She was in pain. Suddenly the decision to call for an ambulance didn't seem difficult. I would never get her down the stairs and out to the car. I loved her too much to play a guessing game on whether there was a break. We needed professional help and it was time to roll.
Beware if you're ever being held at gunpoint or think you have an intruder, it can take a couple of tries to reach 9-1-1. I let it ring almost 20 times, then hung up to find the Sheriff's non-emergency number for assistance. In the meantime, dispatch called me back and we were off and running. At least 8 men responded. I did the usual second guessing, asking if it was really okay to ask them to carry her out and assist us to the hospital. They insisted I was doing the right thing. Same as last time, docs at ER immediately confirmed my poor little Mom was in the right place. She fractured her hip. We'd need surgery. At 90 pounds, I was sure she'd never make it. You hear of elderly people dying after hip surgery fairly frequently. I took comfort in the fact that it was her fashionista sense that led to the fall. She was back in the saddle, full of life and got bucked off. There are worse ways to go.
As it turns out, it wasn't her time. That woman not only made it through surgery, she was zipping around the hallways of the hospital the very next day using a walker. She's rebounding from the surgery remarkably well. So much so that we're seeing this as a big break for My Mom. We've decided that if she has to live this last portion of her life without her full mental faculties, she should at least be in the best physical shape possible -- so she's off to a rehab facility. I'm sad to be temporarily without my roommate and partner in crime, but she loves it there and she's excited about getting back in shape. She's also been hilariously funny -- wait til you hear the stories I have to share!! I'll start to post them as soon as I have a "break", pardon the pun, from the action.

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