Calls in the Middle of the Night

handmade greeting cards, collage are, vintage photoHenry had finally re-settled himself after a 4:00AM marching tour of the bed when I heard a weird noise.  I’ve taken to wearing ear plugs to bed—Henry often accompanies his marches with a call to arms—so hearing anything was weird.  Then, I remembered that I’d found a louder ring tone on my phone.  The phone going off at 4AM is not a good sign.

By the time I really roused and fumbled it out of my purse, I’d missed the call.  Two missed calls from my sister, the first one at 2:30.  My stomach knotted.

But checking the messages, it wasn’t the worst of news.  Mom fell at the nursing home and broke her wrist.  Calling my sister back, I got the details.  She fell both going to and from the bathroom.  Big knot on her head and bruised all over, but just the wrist broken.

It was inevitable, this fall.  She gets dizzy suddenly and is not to get up without someone with her.  Early on, Mom was content to let her Depends do their job if the aides didn’t get to her in time.  But, since she’s gained some strength and a little more clarity, she sneaks to the bathroom on her own sometimes.  I sympathize.  I don’t think I could wait and eventually wet myself if the bathroom was just a few steps away.

It’s incredibly hard to accept new limitations.  My mom has always been a strong, independent woman.  She was the driving force in our family, always early to appointments, always referring to her wall calendar for what was next.  Whatever it was, Mom got it done.  I think she’s been remarkably reasonable about her slow recovery from a botched angiogram, but I understand the drive to regain what was lost.  Every few months I get the urge to get a job even though I know I’m not capable of that anymore.  It’s like an amputation.  I feel the phantom sensation and think that limb is still healthy and whole.  The ability to get up and go to the bathroom must seem even more fundamental.

I hope this will be a learning for Mom, a way for her to come to terms with these new limits.  Without the use of one arm she’ll be even more dependent on the care staff.  It’s a set-back for her, but maybe a necessary one.

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. marieastra8
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 08:09:50

    Glad it wasn’t anything more serious. It must be very hard for your mom. My mom is 90 and still very active and independent. Not looking forward to a time when she will have to have someone helping her. She won’t like that much! Good luck with your mom.


  2. Kathryn McCullough
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 08:24:51

    Sorry to hear that you mom fell. I can only imagine how I’d feel if I couldn’t get up and use the bathroom. By the way, I sleep with earplugs, as well. Only way to go. Hope you are well, my friend.


  3. pegoleg
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 10:51:59

    I’m sorry your mom got hurt. Those middle-of-the-night calls are terrifying. I was thinking about nursing homes and my possible/probable future in one last night. It was midnight and I was paper macheting (is that a verb?) and thinking about losing CONTROL of what you do and when and where. Pretty scary.


  4. Snoring Dog Studio
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 10:54:42

    I dread the next time my mom falls. She takes a lot of chances. I walked by the bathroom one day and saw her washing her foot in the sink. How she got her leg up that far is beyond me. I’m learning a lot about what it can mean to get older and lose abilities. We take so much for granted – the little things we can do. So far, Mom is independent enough at her stage in life. I hope she’ll accept the help when that changes.


    • Sandy Sue
      Jun 30, 2013 @ 15:56:30

      It sounds like your Mom has fallen before. Scary. But I had to laugh at the image of her with a foot in the sink. My mom is very limber, too— or used to be before all this. We used to call her Legs Akimbo.


      • Snoring Dog Studio
        Jul 01, 2013 @ 07:07:07

        Legs Akimbo! Hilarious. Yeah, I had to chuckle a bit at my mom’s antics. She hates getting wet. I think she’s down to showering once a month. My water bills aren’t any higher since she moved in.

  5. Littlesundog
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 14:05:09

    A thoughtful post Sandy. Sometimes setbacks and limitations happen for good reasons – if for nothing better than to realize that we need to listen to body and know that we can’t just forge forth with our iron will. This is part of the journey… listening and heeding our soul’s intent.


    • Sandy Sue
      Jun 30, 2013 @ 15:58:11

      I just don’t know if Mom can hear the lesson. There seems to be some confusion in the mix now, so she might be forgetting what those limits are instead of ignoring them. That might be a harder nut to crack.


  6. Rose
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 14:12:26

    I understand that “phantom limb sensation” about the urge to go back to work. I feel it with me often, and then snap back to reality and remember it is not possible, at least at this point in my recovery. Best wishes to your mom for a full recovery.


  7. ManicMuses
    Jul 01, 2013 @ 06:36:31

    Best to your Mom, Sandy. Like you said, maybe this is the (unfortunately oowie) wake-up call she needs.


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