Skip navigation

I am writing this at 3:00 A.M. because I just got home from my mom’s house, and it has been a living nightmare. Yesterday as we were coming out of the Waffle House, she fell in the parking lot. I was holding her hand, and I almost fell also, but at the last minute managed to regain my balance. I never let go of her hand, and I was holding her with the arm that has the torn rotator cuff. The cook in the Waffle House helped me pick her up, because she does not have the strength in her arms or legs to get up if she falls. I am only 5’2″ (not a big girl at all) and I have a torn rotator cuff, and 2 bulging discs in my neck. I should not be lifting her at all.

We had gone to an eye doctor’s appointment, and then to pick out some new glasses for her. I asked if we needed to use the walker to go in Lens Crafters, but she said no. We got through that fine, and we went to the Waffle House to eat, while they were making her lenses. At any rate, she fell coming out of the Waffle House. I was holding onto her, as I always do when she won’t use her walker.

She insisted that she didn’t want to go to the emergency room. She had also cut her hand very deeply. Even though she is 78, she insists on wearing a boot type slip on shoe with a chunky heel. I told her very nicely after she fell, that I believe her heel caught the edge of the curb, and she needed to stop wearing those shoes. She also kept touching her open wound with her finger, and I nicely told her that would cause a lot of germs to get in it. At some point in the conversation, she snarled at me and said, “I’ll bite you.” I suppose it was a snide joke, but after all I go through with her, I don’t find it funny. (She sometimes treats me this way, and she resists everything I suggest so often. I cannot make her do anything, so I do the best I can. I hope that I am not that defiant when I get older.) I have finally gotten her to use her walker more when we go out, but she won’t use it in the house, and she should. The Lord has given me such love and compassion for her, that even though it hurts me sometimes, I ignore her comments, and just keep loving her and caring for her with great respect and kindness. She is my greatest priority, and has been for 3 years now, since my dad died.

At any rate, I doctored her deep cut, checked every area of her body for injury, supervised her taking her blood sugar, and finally had to come home. I was so tired, and stressed out. I broke down and cried. My heart was broken, and I realized that I can’t handle her on my own anymore. I need help, and I don’t know how to get it.

Turns out that she told me she fell asleep at the kitchen table, and woke up at 4:30 this morning there in the chair. As the day went on, she found that she could not take a step on her legs. She called my brother to come help her, and fortunately, it was his day off. He got a wheelchair for her out of the shed, but she can’t maneuver it at all. He got her some soup for lunch, and when I called (after finally getting some sleep), she was in such pain,  that I said we needed to go to the emergency room. I knew I couldn’t manage her myself, so I called my husband. He had just gotten over a 104.5 fever 2 nights ago, and had finally recovered enough to go to work today. He came and got me around 6:00 p.m. and we went through absolute hell getting her in the car. We had to lift her up out of the wheelchair, and all she could do was barely stand for a minute. We struggled to get her turned enough to fall down into the seat. It took a long time, and we were sweating profusely when it was done. Then I drove her there, and he followed in the van. (We could not get her into the van as we had hoped.) When we got there, we waited forever.

The triage nurse was rather harsh at times.  She asked if my mother walked to the car after the fall. We said she did. She indicated rather haughtily that this indicated she did not have a broken bone. (I looked at my husband with a, “I’m not so sure about that” look.) Seems like sometimes mere mortals know more than self assured medical personnel.

Please don’t think I’m not grateful for nurses. I appreciate them immensely! But we have been through substandard care far too often at this hospital. My dad died there as a result of hospital acquired complications after a triple bypass. (He came through the surgery fine, but they basically let him die.) He caught staph, serratia, and pneumonia, and did not receive decent care until he was dying. When he finally reached the Critical Care Unit, he had a wonderful doctor (and kind nurses), but it was too late to save him.

When the emergency room doctor came in, he looked exhausted. I said, “You look tired,” He said, “I’m not tired, but I don’t feel well.” He looked very, very sick. He wasn’t all that communicative, but he ordered a body gram-which is a ton of x-rays.  They cleaned her cut with peroxide, as I had, and bandaged it with a larger bandage. I could not believe the lack of hygiene. The nurse took off her very bloodied bandaid, and stuck it blood down on the hospital rail, and never cleaned the rail. I found myself wondering how many others had received the same treatment, and what had I and my mom been touching as we held the bed rail. We have a ton of staph in our local hospital.

When the doctor finally came in after 10 p.m. to tell us the results, he said that she had broken her right foot, and probably her right leg on the side below the knee. He said that he “suspected” the the right leg was also broken, and that we would need the orthopedic doctor to confirm it. We would need to go there tomorrow-Thursday.

She already takes oxycontin for her arthritis. The nurse came in with 2 pain pills. She said they were pretty strong. (They were 10 mg oxycontin.) My mom takes (2) 40 mg. tablets a day for her rheumatoid arthritis, and has for many years.

The strange thing is that her left knee was causing her excruciating pain, and the breaks were on her right leg. We think she probably pulled muscles or tendons, and that can’t be seen on the type x-ray she had. That would require something that can see soft tissue, like an MRI. I am praying that the Orthopedic doctor will order one.

I knew that she could not stay alone. My house is almost impossible for her to navigate. It is a 2 story house, and my daughter’s bed (the only available one on the first floor) is too high (she sometimes falls off her own),  and my mom’s bedroom has a bathroom attached, which is best for her. I asked my husband to please call my brother, and ask him to come stay overnight with her. He can lift her, though I know it is not easy for anyone. He agreed to come, thank the Lord.

We arrived home after 11:00 p.m. and I went to the grocery store and got us some sandwich makings, since none of us had eaten. (Though we had gotten some Reeses Buttercups for my mom, to keep her blood sugar from going low, because she had to wait so long in the ER.)

We left her home at 1:50 a.m. and when we finally got to our home, the toilet promptly overflowed (a minor catastrophe) after all we’d been through. We got that taken care of, and I decided that I had to write some of this out before sleeping, or lose my mind. It’s like therapy just to tell my story.

So now here we are. She may or may not regain her mobility anytime soon. The male nurse that took us to the car suggested that she could be immobile for 6 weeks. I don’t know what we’re going to do, because I can’t keep lifting her. (And I can’t lift her at all without assistance.)  My back, neck and shoulder are hurting as I write this. She cannot even go to the bathroom on her own right now.

The other complication is that her finances are getting low. When my father died, she was left without any life insurance, and only her social security, and a very small additional income. She just had to replace her air conditioner this week, and that cost $6,000.00. She paid half of it up front, and will pay the rest monthly. But unless she sells her house, there are no finances to speak of. If you hire someone to come in and care for her, it is so costly that hardly anyone can afford it. So we are in a mess.

I have repeatedly told her how important it is to use her walker, but she resists me on just about everything, acting as if I am just a worry wart. (But she doesn’t realize how her falling changes not just her life, but my life also.) For 3 years, I have been there for her (since my dad died.) I have given her the best care possible, and I am very sick myself. I am also a diabetic, and have lots of other health problems. I stay exhausted. I have done all her errands, doctor’s appointments, pharmacy runs, etc. (The main thing that my brother has helped with is the groceries, though we have had to supplement those as well in- between times.) He comes for lunch every day as he works nearby. But I have had the primary care of my mom since my dad died. I can honestly say that I could not have done anymore in the condition that I am in.

So, we will see what tomorrow brings. For now, if I am to get any sleep at all, I need to fall out. (Let me rephrase that, please.) I need to go to bed. I just had to get this out and on paper.

Life can change in an instant. It was already rough, but it just got a lot rougher. Please pray for us, and that we will find the solutions we need, and that I will find more strength somehow. My best prayer at the moment is a simple one…”Jesus, Help Me.”

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. Hi Sparkle,
    I finally got a chance to read your blog and I find more detail of the horrorible day that you had with you mother.
    As I read through the post, I thought of something that may give you some help. I don’t know about Florida, but in Indiana, there are Areas for the Aging. I understand that Florida has more of the elderly than many states, but if your mother were here, you could contact the agency for your area and they would supply help. They supply in home care, maybe not full time, but they would have someone come and do things for her.
    The other option is a rehab hospital. They are also known as convelesent care facilities. It is for people who do not have family to take care of them when they are recovering from surgeries, accidents, etc. She would be on medicare and if the facility operates on Federal monies, she can not be refused….
    Just a couple of thoughts and a big prayer for you, your husband and brother. It sounds like your mother has taken that step that will alter her life as she knew it…I am so sorry for her because she didn’t realize this kind of fall will result in her loosing control of her life. You are a good daughter and I understand completely the unending days that you are having…
    As Roads says on, “Price of Love”, “Spirits Up.” and I would add, “Keep Looking Up” because Heaven is where your strength comes….

  2. Thank you for sharing your difficulties. I am my mother’s only family here where she lives. I am lucky that (in Canada) she has home care workers come to her house 7 days a week to support her for an hour or so and a nurse to come daily to check on her. Thank goodness the govt pays for it.

    Still, it is a lot of responsibility and alot of stress. She too refuses to use her walker. It makes me angry and frustrated.

    Hang in there. You are not alone. Many older adults like us are caring for aging seniors. I just hope you have children like yourself to care for you when you get to that age. I have no children and no spouse so I know it is going to be a rough go for me when I get old and need help.

    Prayers are with you. 🙂
    W.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: