A heart-breaking setback

As late as Tuesday night, we looked forward to Wednesday as a banner day when we would move my 86-year-old and increasingly immobile mother from rehab into an assisted living facility as the next step in her recovery from a fall at home six weeks ago.

Then the phone rang before dawn Wednesday. Instead of calling for a nurse to help her get out of bed, mom tried to get up without assistance and fell for the fifth time in three weeks. An ambulance took her to the emergency room where doctors found she fractured her pelvis in the fall.  By the time I got to the hospital she was stable but scared.

Instead of the anticipated move into assisted living — a move she looked forward to with the most excitement we’ve seen in weeks — she now lies in a long-term care room in the nursing home section of the rehab center, where we hope bed rest can heal the crack in her aging, fragile pelvis.

She was groggy most of the day Wednesday and had trouble talking through the pain but the tears and look in her eyes spoke volumes about this latest setback in her struggle to recover from the ravages of immobility and age.

Doctors will evaluate her again next week and we will need to make new decisions about her future. She is in a lot of pain and the excitement that burned in her eyes just two days ago is gone.

When I left after my second visit Wednesday, I climbed on my motorcycle for the ride back to Floyd but the tears started and I sat on the bike and sobbed for several minutes. A nurse who has treated mom for the past six weeks was also leaving for the day and stopped, putting her arms around my shaking shoulders.

“I’m so sorry,” she said softly.

The emotional roller coaster continues.

Deep down, I know how this ride must end. I’m just not sure when or how I will be able to handle that conclusion.

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6 thoughts on “A heart-breaking setback”

  1. All this is so familiar to our Mom’s last year. That darn streak of pride that makes them do things they shouldn’t. If you can, Doug, focus on your time with your Mom and how good it is that you can be there for her. These are precious moments.

  2. Since I spoke with you the other day, both of us have ridden the emotional roller coaster. My mother was sent to the hospital on Tuesday morning for pneumonia & dehydration. Both falls & illnesses are so much more serious for the elderly……………..I’ll keep you in my thoughts & wish both of you the best.

  3. You will be able to handle it when the time comes. It is part of the cycle of life. You are very fortunate to have had your Mom so long. I was only 31 when my Mother died. I felt that the world had turned upside down. How could the moon still shine? It took a year before I could say, “Mother died”, with out bursting into tears. I hope your Mother will not be allowed to suffer needlessly. Don’t allow the caregivers to with hold pain medication. You will live with a lifetime of memories.
    So very sorry,

    Mary W. Bushnell, RN

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