There are so many things that suck about getting old that it’s hard to rank them. But this has got to be near No. 1: The other night, my mom slipped in the hallway (she was using her cane instead of her walker), and she couldn’t get off the floor. After lots of arguing about whether I should call an ambulance (sample retorts to my urging: Leave me alone! Mind your own business! Go away!), I ceased and desisted. Still there was the problem that she was on the floor and couldn’t get up. Her legs seemed fine, and her hips seemed fine, but her arm was too sore to put any weight on. So she kind of inched herself on her butt along the tiled hallway to one of the downstairs bedrooms. My dad got a carpet-covered bench, and somehow she managed to heave herself onto that and then onto the bed. From there she could kind of rock herself into a standing position and grab the walker, which we had set in front of her. I was shaking my head over this sad situation, and my dad said, “Oh, we do this all the time. I get dizzy a lot and fall and have to slide on my butt to get from one room to the other too.”
I lost a lot of sleep over my decision not to take her to the hospital. But I think I made the right choice. Even if her resistance was the result of dementia, it’s her arm, and she’s willing to live with pain rather than risk hospitalization. And in the end, three days later, she seems to be recovering her range of motion.
Still, now that I know that both of them spend a good deal of time perambulating around on their butts, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t get them padded pants.