Another Fall

I got a call Friday night that mom had fallen.  They don’t know what happened or when it happened.  Because they are not with her 24/7- they are only there when needed.    They wanted to call 911 and send her to the hospital via ambulance.   My stance is still the same.  No, don’t send her, I’ll be there as soon as I can.  I don’t understand how they think that it’s okay to send a dementated person to the emergency room by themselves and expect anything good to come out of it.   – See post from last January when they sent her to out to emergency room during Covid for an upset stomach.   )-:

I was there within 30 minutes- Dorothy was in her room with a “care giver” sitting up and they were talking.  They did take her vitals, and all was good.   She had a large bump on the back of her head and some bleeding.  She had dried blood in her hair which made it look worse than it was.    I asked if they had given her a pain pill, which they had not, I ask them to give her one which they did right away. 

I helped mom to the bed, laid her face down and not having any first aid kit with me- I used what was available.   Warm water and paper towels. There was some “bed pads “that I put on her pillow to keep it from getting wet and I tried to clean up the cut to see what was happening.   I asked the care giver if they had a first aid kit, and he went to see.   A nurse came back with him with some sterile spray and some gauze squares.  I told the nurse that I would deal with mom, because I know they are not allowed to do so.  I got her cleaned up and decided that she did not need to go to the hospital.  The nurse had called Hospice – mom is under their care- and the Hospice nurse was a few hours out- at this time it was 9:30 P M.   I expressed to the Hospice Nurse that there was no need to come tonight and asked if she would come the next morning at 8:00. 

The entire time Dorothy kept saying her head, neck and back hurt and wanted to know what happened.  She had no idea she fell, even after telling her numerous times.   The pain pill was kicking in, I helped her in her PJs and put her to bed.   She was asleep within a few minutes of the PJ’s going on.

I had to sign a few papers stating I declined for Dorothy to go to the Emergency Room and that I took full responsibility.   I had to write down my conversation with the Hospice Nurse and sign that as well.     On the way home I spoke with God and told him I knew that it was up to him, either Dorothy died that night due to a brain bleed or she would not. Either way I’d be okay with whatever the outcome was.

Paul and I went returned the next morning in different cars- not knowing what to expect.  We arrived at  7:15- mom was up, dressed and walking around.  She said that she was hungry and that her head hurt.  She told me to look at the bump on the back of her head.  How did it get there?  How did it happen?   We talked about it. She of course has no recollection.

I gave her a shower, washed her hair and her bump was much smaller and there was no more bleeding. We dressed and it was time for breakfast. We took her to the breakfast table and went back to her room.  We were waiting on the Hospice Nurse- she came and went without us knowing.  She called as soon as she left- and told us she looked at mom and she looked good- and that she had put iodine antiseptic on her cut and her vitals looked good.  She said we made the right decision by not sending her to the ER.    I told her I was sorry we missed her, we were in Dorothy’s room and were waiting for her.   No worries, glad all is okay.  

Paul and I decide to go ahead and leave, we both knew that mom would not remember us being there anyway and we agreed she’d be okay.  On the way out we notice mom asleep at the table with her fork in her hand.  Paul went ahead and left, I went over to mom and gently woke her up and encouraged her to eat.  She was so weak- they had given her a pain pill before we had gotten there. (before breakfast?)  With the pain pill, the shower, and the trauma to her body- she was exhausted.  Dorothy was so weak that she could not manage her fork.  So, I put food on it for her- handed her the fork and she ate.  She would drift off while eating and I’d bring her back by another fork full of food or a drink of juice. 

Two side notes here:

  1.  I looked around and noticed that most folks could not eat their breakfast.  They could not cut the sausage, or they struggled getting the eggs and grits on their forks.   Others were slumped over asleep. I had to wonder if this is a daily occurrence at feeding time.
  2. I found myself struggling with putting food on mom’s fork.  She was very adamant about no one feeding her.   I rationalized that I was not feeding her, I was merely putting food on her fork.  She would have to put it in her mouth she would have to drink by herself. 

She ate about 1/3 of her breakfast and I helped her back to her room.  She asked why her head and neck was hurting.   I calmy explained what happened.   When we got to her room, I helped her on her bed.  I made sure she was comfy and coved up with a blanket.  I stayed until she was asleep knowing I’d be back later in the day to check on her again.

It was a calm ride home.  I wondered how many more of these opportunities I would get to help her from a fall.   I wondered how many more falls she would have.   I wondered if she falls and breaks another hip, shoulder, arm or whatever.  What will Paul and I decide to do?   Have them fix her?  Or just let her be in pain? Let her suffer and wilt away?   Or fix her for another fall?

I did go back to see her later in the day, after dinner to see how she was.   When I walked in, she was sitting on the couch with a few of her friends watching TV.  When I walked in- she lit up like she hadn’t seen me in a long time.   She came to me with open arms and a big hug.  She said she was so happy to see me.   I returned the hug and the exchange.  We walked to her room, and we sat down.  I opened the blinds and the window.  We looked at the clouds and the beautiful blue sky.   She asked the questions, I answered them.  Most of the conversation was her song she used to sing.   We sat like that for a long time her asking questions, me answering them.  As I was sitting there I was thinking what a great memory we are making -for me to hold on to. 

 It was not Dorothy’s day to die.  She is still with us, she has more to give.  I just hope the people that are supposed to receiving her gifts are listening.   I know I am.

All I know for sure is all our days are numbered.  We will never be as young as we are now; we will probably never be as healthy as we are now.  We need to live our life as we want to live it.   We can care about other people, but we cannot live our lives for them, and we cannot let them live their lives for us.  And we cannot tell them how we think they should live their life.  We only get so many days to be joyful, happy, give and receive love, and most of all soak up this “heaven” here on earth.

Part of the Plan – Dan Fogelberg

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

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