Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The first fall



I was ever-so-thankful for the extra quiet time on this cold, rainy and raw morning.

I would have loved nothing more than to have gone back to my nice, warm bed for an hour or so, too.

But my mother-in-law Jane had back-to-back visits scheduled with her physical therapist and her occupational therapist. These two ladies have been coming to my house once a week for the past three months, teaching Jane ways to be more independent and less dependent on us.

They've shown her how to get into and out of chairs properly, how to go to the bathroom alone, how to get out of the bed without help, how to manuver around my cramped house with too much furniture and two crazy dogs. Given her exercises to strengthen what little muscle she has left.

And they have helped tremendously.

Just two weeks ago, Jane could not get out of her bed at all. In fact, she couldn't even sit up in it. She has no strength in her arms. At all. Not enough to push herself up to a sitting position.

So just last week, I got her a rail that attaches to the side of the bed. On the second try, she managed to use her stronger arm to pull herself up and push her legs over the side of the bed. Then she would use the handy beeper we bought her to summon me to come help her up.

Today she got ambitious.

Today she decided to get up. She pulled herself up and, before putting her beeper necklace on, she tried to stand. In her white socked feet. On my hardwood floor.

She slid. Right to her butt.

And while I sat in my living room, scanning the Internet news of the day and enjoying the last few minutes of quiet before becoming her waitress and nursemaid, she sat on the floor in her bedroom, trying to yell loud enough that I could hear her.

I finally did. I kinda knew something was wrong when she didn't beep.

I found her sitting on the floor, her back to the bed, holding on to the rail for dear life, a look of terror in her eyes. I wonder if she saw the terror in mine.

"Are you hurt,"  I asked her.

"No. Just my butt hurts from hitting the floor."

I saw no blood. No bruises. No tears. Well, maybe the start of a few tears.

I pulled her to standing. A little harshly, perhaps. Yes, I admit it. I was a little angry at her. Like the mom who wants to kill her kid after he almost gets hit by the car.  She had done something stupid. Something scary. Something that could have been tragic.

She could wear little socks that have rubber skids on the bottom, but she says the rubber bumps her her feet. She does have neuropathy. But she could wear them until she can get her slippers on, don't you think?

She wants a rug at the side of the bed. I'm afraid a rug will trip her.

"I'd rather trip than slide," she says.

And I want to strangle her.

This was the first fall on my watch. The first almost. The first near-miss. It made me want to cry too.





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