I get up at 6:30 am so I have enough time to write a little, shower and pack. We are headed over to Clearwater (a 2 ½ hour drive) for a late Mother’s Day visit. We plan to take my 88-year-old mother Ginny out to dinner and stay for a couple of days.
My phone suddenly rings at 7:04 am. It’s mom.
“Hey mom, what’s up?” I ask. “We’ll be leaving by 9.”
“Well, I’ve taken a bad fall. I crawled back into the bedroom and I’m leaning against the bed. I can’t pull myself up. I’ve tried calling everyone, I even called 911 and no one answered.”
I ignore that comment for a moment. “What hurts mom? Are you bleeding anywhere? Does your head hurt?”
“My left side hurts, but not my head. No, I’m not bleeding” she responds.
“Where is your Med-Alert button?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Ok. Well, if you dialed 911 correctly, they would answer, so I think maybe you hit a wrong number. And you said you tried (my sister) Hailey? Tell you what. I’m going to call her and will call you right back. Just stay where you are.”
Hailey answered. She had just gotten home from a walk. I fill her in and she says “let me call her. I’ll call you back.”
She talks to mom, who has calmed down, but is still unable to push herself up.
“Can’t you just call the police to come and lift me back up?” Ginny asks. This question alone speaks volumes to the severity of the fall. She’s irritated, not scared.
Hailey explains to her that she can call the police, but they wouldn’t lift her up. They would call the medics to transport her to the hospital.
“Well I don’t need a hospital. Can you drive in to help me?”
There’s a lot of back and forth. We are worried that the storm door is locked (see previous story here) and no one will be able to get in. We’ll have to call the police anyway. First, though, I call my sister-in-law Betsy who lives much closer to Ginny and she agrees to get over there to assess the situation. If the outside door is locked, Hailey will call the police to break the door. She’s also preparing to start the drive into town. It is rush hour and could take a while.
Betsy arrives and thank God that door is open. She gets inside and tries to help mom stand up, but she can’t. She will wait for Hailey. She calls us to confirm that mom seems fine otherwise. She decides to take mom’s trash out and finds an A/C maintenance man on the floor.
“This might sound weird, but I have an older woman who has fallen, and I can’t get her up. Is there any way you can help?”
“Sure” is his response and he lifts Ginny up like mom lifts her stuffed dog Button.
Betsy finds an old walker in the closet and mom starts to move around. Betsy gets her some cereal and she leaves as soon as Hailey arrives.
At this point, we’re on the road too and we debate taking her to urgent care to be checked out, but she’s “having none of that.” She returns to bed and sleeps for two hours.
She is sleeping when we arrive with sub sandwiches. When she wakes up, I ask her if she is hungry and if she would like a sandwich.
“Yes, I’m hungry” and eats a quarter of a roast beef foot-long.
We ask her multiple times if she wants an ibuprofen, that she is going to stiffen up, but she begs off that too.
Naturally, our Mother’s Day dinner is off the table. Or, not.
We’ll just reschedule mom, that’s ok. We understand you’re not up to going out.”
“Oh, I want to go out. I never pass up a dinner out.” Hailey and I look at each other and burst out laughing.
She refuses to use the walker, but she agrees to the use of her cane and we go out for dinner.
We just can’t believe her fortitude and will. We know we are lucky this time, but luck only holds for so long. I feel a little unsettled too, like a distant red flag has appeared on a hazy horizon. And as it turns out, I was right.
Next up: A Story of Signs Part II