Thursday, September 14, 2017
Mother's Broken Arm
It's been almost a week since Mother fell up the stairs last Friday and broken her upper left arm.
"I caught my toe on the step then I went splat," is her description.
I was sitting in the living room watching the last five minutes of The Young and Restless (don't judge me; it's my lunch break) when I heard her squawk. When I looked up, I saw her fall forward; she stayed on her hands and knees longer than expected, then straightened clutching her left arm.
She kept saying, "I heard a snap, I heard a snap," but it didn't occur to me that she'd actually broken a bone; it was such a low fall, and we all do it, trip up those two steps to the landing. But she was woozy and out of it and sweating. Dwayne took one look at her, recognized shock, and called 9-1-1.
Thank goodness for the Nova Scotia country boy.
I get so emotional calling 9-1-1. The first time I ever had to do it was during Mother's chemo treatment. I dialled 9-1 then had to hang up and take a deep breath. The second time was just last spring and I was calling for a member of my church congregation who was having trouble breathing. No instance has ever been serious, I haven't been calling in a life-threatening situation, but that act of asking for help and naming the problem makes me choke up.
I am not the person you want to be with during a crisis.
The paramedics called her "dear" in that typical Maritime way. Everyone says it here, even the man holding the door for you at Tim Horton's.
"You're welcome, dear."
We hated it when the nurses caring for Dad in Ontario called him "dear" but it rings true here.
As soon as Mother returned home from the hospital on Friday night, I went into caregiver mode, a role I haven't been in since 2006. Learning from my experience with taking care of a father with Alzheimer's, I've always vowed to do for Mother what I was unable to do for him, but it's easier, I think, when it's mother-and-daughter, and when the person who is sick or injured has her faculties. And can go to the bathroom on her own.
These hangups we have.
It's why I'm a writer and not a nurse.
"Thank you for not having a protruding bone or any blood," I told my mother as I pulled the bed covers over her. "That was a very good thing."
This time, it's not so much 'thinking for two', as it is with dementia, but just a lot more running around and remembering to check on her to see what she needs.
I gave her Dwayne's search-and-rescue whistle but she won't use it.
"It would give Dwayne a heart attack," she said.
"I'd blow it a hundred times a day," I told her.
"Yes, but you're an asshole," she answered.
So the wit isn't broken. And Mother is fine. Not much pain, only when she moves a certain way or lies down in bed.
"Don't make me laugh," she says. She laughs through the pain. "Laughter is the best medicine."
Considering how hard I stubbed my toe today while cleaning her room, and how long she laughed about it, she'll be knitted up and back to playing the piano in days rather than weeks.