The phone rang again almost a month to the day later. This call was from the administrator of Mom’s apartment building; a smug young guy with “I told you so” dripping from his voice. Mom had fallen again, in the exact same spot, doing the exact same thing despite my admonitions that she not go near there again. She was on her way to the ER.
This time there wasn’t much of a wait to hear that things were much worse. She had broken her right hip badly. As I spoke with the ER doc, I felt panic rising. Avoiding surgery was not an option – unless we were content that she would never walk again. When I finally spoke with her, she was confused and obviously in pain. The surgery was scheduled for the following morning.
We spoke early in the morning and Mom was calmer although still very uncomfortable. She had remained stalwart and refused anything stronger than Tylenol. She understood the implications of a hip replacement – she would be going to a rehabilitation facility after – and with COVID-19 running amok in Arizona. We were both anxious and trying hard to be brave.
I waited. Two hours. Three hours. Four. A physical therapist called to try to arrange a home therapy visit for her shoulder – nope. Some four and a half hours later, her surgeon called me. The surgery had not gone well, the trochanter cracked, complete hip replacement, she lost a full liter of blood, and they were considering transfusion. She would spend three days in ICU as they worked to regulate her heart rate. I worried. About whether she would walk. About possible cognitive loss. About death.
The day after surgery she was pissed that they didn’t have TV in the ICU so she was missing her football. She gave in to Tramadol, the lowest dose narcotic you can take. She hated the food.
Our adventure had barely begun.