With my last family caregiving blog post being about UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) and seniors, it is almost spooky that this post is about Annie’s trip that sent her in an ambulance to a local hospital. And, if this is not spooky enough, as is so often the case with seniors and UTIs, who have falls, Annie followed the pattern and fractured her hip.
Now Annie is a pretty tough, old bird, who has taken good care of her health and diet throughout the years. Her claim to fame is that she has never had any aches and pains, an assertion that I think it safe to say, is a whole lot of revisionist history. Nevertheless, she has made it to the ripe, old age of 93, and until this hip fracture, suffered no major issues. Therefore the ease with which this bone broke is quite astonishing. As far as we can determine, Annie tripped on her own cane the very cane the occupational therapist advised her to stop using several years back, when we first took on the roles of family caregivers. And yes, we have been trying ever since that time to get her to shed the cane, but she was not having any of it! Even now her most frequently asked question when we go to see her is, “Where’s my cane?” While we keep explaining to her that the cane has been retired, she continues to think the cane will be her mobility aid of choice. Old habits die hard, I suppose.
Back to the ill fated morning when Annie broke her hip bone, it seems that she stumbled over her cane and almost slithered down onto the carpet to rest in a rather odd position, followed by many assertions that she was just fine. I still am shocked by the fragility of her bones for that soft a slip to have resulted in this fracture. YIKES! As of this date, Annie has had surgery during which two rods were inserted to help her mend and then continue to walk. However, we are seeing her run low on energy and tire of the effort she must expend to get her up and going again. Also at play here will be the revisions that will be needed to allow Annie to return home to live, versus whether or not said revisions will be feasible, and then for how long will she be able to remain at home.
Two or three years ago I snapped my fibula down near my ankle, with a rather forceful slide and abrupt stop on a sloped path. The percussion of that fall was pretty darn healthy, with me twisting the fibula until it snapped (sounding like the snap of asparagus when preparing it for consumption. I can’t help but marvel at the resiliency of my bones versus hers, and remembering how long it took me to heal I can’t imagine how long it will take Annie to mend her hip. And then we also must factor in the changes of another fall, which likely would see her never to walk again. As Annie’s caregivers we have a lot of research ahead of us before we feel we will have determined the best course of action for the remaining years that Annie has to spend on this earth. Already we know that there is no end to opinions on the topic. We also know that we’ve already kept ourselves well informed about this phase of aging, with my own experience with my own mother going a long way to inform our decisions for the good of Annie.
Yours in caregiving,