My parents live 1200 miles away. This summer they flew up for vacation, planning to visit with my brother and sister-in-law, friends in Maine, family in New Hampshire and ending their trip at my house for a week. They arrived as scheduled and went to my brother’s house. My brother noticed that my mother seemed to be walking rather gingerly but thought given her age, she’s 83, and the tire of travel that it was just exhaustion. He thought that, until he noticed the blood on her arm sleeve and asked what happened. My mother was hesitant to tell but finally said she had fallen on the escalator at the airport in Florida. Her carry-on got caught in the steps as she was ascending. She reached to grab it only to have the bag pull her backwards and down. My father, who was a few steps down, was bombarded with luggage, which then knocked him down. The escalator stopped immediately and they were converged upon by every official in the airport. Security, the airlines, the airport officers, EMT, all helping and asking if they were alright.
They asked my mom if she wanted to get an X-ray, as she had hurt her right hip. She walked around for a bit, decided she was okay and would continue their flight here. In hindsight, they should have turned around and went home.
My mom has macular degeneration, an incurable eye disease, and her depth perception is not good. This was her 5th fall in the last few years, thus the hesitation in telling my brother. Collectively in the previous 4 falls, she has broken her back, each wrist and her shoulder. She had just healed from her shoulder injury, finishing up with physical therapy, right before leaving on this trip.
After their visit with my brother and sister-in-law, my parents were preparing to leave for Maine. My mother’s side had been bothering her the previous days and she was not sure if she should make the trip, it was a seven hour drive. I told them that if they did not want to go they were welcome to stay with me for two weeks instead of the one week, as planned. They considered that option, but when the morning came to leave, my mother felt better and decided she was okay to make the long drive.
Two days after leaving for Maine I received THE CALL from my dad, “your mother fell, she’s in the hospital, she fractured her femur”. The fracture was near her hip socket, where she had previously had hip replacement surgery. Fortunately there was no structural damage and she did not need surgery. After hanging up with my dad, I wept. I felt so bad for my mother, here she goes again. She must feel so frustrated, disgusted, and defeated not to mention the pain she must be in, I thought to myself.
She was walking down outside steps and when she got to the last one she thought it was a shorter distance to the bottom than it actually was. As she took the step, anticipating to touch the ground and not feeling it, she fell forward, hit the garage and then the driveway. She hit her head, elbow and hip. I can only imagine how scary and painful that must have been for her. She was brought by ambulance to the hospital, where she would spend the next week recovering.
The hospital she was admitted to was Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, ME. She said Pen Bay had the most caring staff of doctors, nurses and others that she had experienced in a long time. Her stay there, although an undesired one, was nurturing, pleasant, healing and restful. May God send blessings to all at Pen Bay Medical Center and a heart-felt thank you from me for taking such great care of my mom.
After six days in the hospital my mom was released and my parents made the long drive here, a six hour trip. How would she endure riding in the car, bumping along with a fractured femur? They arrived around 5 pm, tired but happy to be here. My mother was very sore, it was difficult to get her out of the car and take that one step into my house. It must have seemed as if it were 5 feet high, but she did it.
In the meantime, I have a very dear friend who helped me get the necessary medical equipment; a commode, wheelchair, shower chair and grabbers (you pick things up off the floor with them). I would like to give a shout out to the South Hadley Council on Aging, they provided all of this at no cost. Again God, please send blessings to my dear friend and the center!!
My parents’ one week stay turned into three, as my mother needed time to heal before she could travel. My week off from work was spent watching over my mom 24/7, helping her in and out of bed, getting up during the night, helping her bathe, dress, and walk. I made meals, brought her to the doctor, picked up prescriptions, rubbed her feet, rubbed her back on particularly bad nights when she just could not get comfortable. She had good days and bad days. She used a walker to get around and 3 to 4 times a day she would walk all through my house as physical therapy. The hospital said she was to start walking right away, which was a surprise to me, but the more she walked, they said, the quicker she would heal. She was such a trooper.
Although my vacation was not spent as originally planned with them, I would not trade the three weeks that God blessed me with. I don’t see my parents as often as I should and a week is such little time. I certainly would not wish any harm to my mother but I have to say, I am most grateful that we were able to have an extended stay together. I cherished every minute of taking care of her!
She is or was a nurse, and she worked in a nursing home taking care of the elderly. I understand now how that is such a rewarding job for your soul. I enjoyed every moment running around, getting up during the night, rubbing her, cooking, dressing, doing her hair, helping with her makeup, whatever I could do to make her feel comfortable.
When the time came for them to go home, I flew with them. I had to, there was no way I was going to let them make that trip just the two of them. Once again it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
They are now settled comfortably in the familiar surroundings of their own home sweet home. My mother continues to improve and I talk to them daily. I love that too. For me this unfortunate accident was a blessing in disguise, it brought me closer to my parents and I thank God everyday for that!
Love you Mom and Dad!! xoxo
(c) onceuponahotflash, 2016