so, we almost made it to the specialist’s office. literally a few feet from the door. (in this case, appropriately enough, the orthopedist, for the spinal issues.) mom fell flat on her face in the hallway, fortunately not hitting the brickwork going down). there she lay, all bloody. i ran in and alerted the staff, who called 911 and came out to help. then the EMT volunteers arrived, and the whole crowd of us were milling around mom mopping up blood and readying her on a stretcher to move her to the ambulance. then i drove over and met them there.
hours passed at the ER, mostly involving her lying there all bruised and bleeding, waiting for someone to attend to her, do a ct scan, and give us some indication of her status. other people were all in the same boat, waiting for hours to get some attention, so we all ended up kind of hanging out, commiserating. there were some nice israelis across the hall, on whom i practiced my rusty hebrew, and ended up singing hebrew songs with the patient, who was in some early stage of dementia. there was an elderly puerto rican couple that i made friends with and tried to keep company. i guess this is what i do, to make the most of a bad situation.
for some reason, right after new year’s day, there was a major onslaught of patients overwhelming the staff of the ER, at what is usually a very good, quiet hospital. but everyone was being as accommodating and reasonable as possible, so we just hunkered down and waited. not much choice.
fortunately, mom didn’t break anything or do more damage to her already deteriorating spine. she didn’t even need stitches, although she looked like something left in a boxing ring. pretty gory and colorful. we were all joking about what the other guy looked like. even mom had to laugh at that.
finally, hours later, we got to go home, and i had my brother order a pizza. we actually managed to fit the whole crisis in between lunch and dinnertime! to be frank, i was a little shaken, although i kept it together the whole time. it was just a little too reminiscent of the beginning of the end of my father. i’m sure that crossed mom’s mind, what’s left of it, as well.
still, it’s just another typical day in the life of an elder caregiver. you start over each day, droning along, doing relentless routine maintenance, not knowing if it will all end in a catastrophic event, or just replay over and over, on into the indefinite future.
more oldsters are living longer, and more of us are having to babysit our own parents, sometimes into our own old age, having to give up our own lives and families to do so. do you see why some of us feel a little resentful and hopeless? i try to stay upbeat, but it’s hard to keep up the façade sometimes. no one prepared us for this, and no one wants to face the reality, or support you when you’re alone dealing with it in our system. you just have to find your own way, and hope you make it to the end without breaking down yourself.
or at least make it through another fun day in the vortex of evil.