Someone Let Me Off This Ride


So.  Been a long time.  Sorry.  Signed in a couple of times with the intent of catching you up and then just couldn’t find the energy to write down all that’s been happening.  I’ll finally present it here, but in a nutshell, because there’s no reason you need the gory details.

Suffice to say that Mom had been fitting in nicely at her new place.  She’d even begun to make friends (the two ladies she shared a dining table with) and was as happy as a person could reasonably expect to be in such a situation.  It was nice.

Then the pain started in her leg.  Nothing major at first, but it rapidly escalated into something that would have driven her to her knees had she been allowed to fall.  X-rays showed squat and her PCP (who I’m not certain I’m feeling so warm and fuzzy about anymore) didn’t seem inclined to follow-up.  Five days after those results, I got a call from the facility telling me that she was in so much pain, they felt I should take her to the emergency room.  So I did and one CT scan later we learn that she has a compression fracture in the lumbar spine.

How did it happen?  Who knows.  She might have fallen getting up in the night to pee.  Being that she has the Alzheimer’s, it’s not likely she’d remember the fall, so there’s no way of knowing.  Or it’s that she’s nearly 91 and as osteoporosis and it just happened.  Anyway, it’s there, so now what?

The Hospitalist (Dr. Ma, a WONDERFUL man) contacted a local surgeon.  Too many days later, we learned that he doesn’t do spinal surgery.  I called his office asking for help and a terrific woman named Terry called on my behalf to the surgeon who does do spinal surgery and gave my name to their office person, Chris.  I called Chris.  Doctor is away until the 15th and has NO openings, but she’ll give me the first one she has.  Okay, I’m thinking.  That’ll have to work even though my mother is so toked up on pain-killers that her own personality has nearly vanished.  Chris calls me back.  She took it upon herself to ask a patient to reschedule so she could get my mother in!  Unheard of and amazing and I am so grateful to her.  So in two days we head out to meet the surgeon and see what he has to say.

Could be anything, because Mom is undoubtedly failing.  She’s lost ten pounds since the end of September, weight that she can’t afford to lose.  Thanks to the pain meds, she’s a          zombie – flat affect, eyes barely focusing.  She knows me, although I’m not certain she could say my name on a bet, but that’s about it.  And forget about conversation.  Nothing makes sense and I surf the tide of her words with a precarious hold on my board.

So that’s where we are.  It breaks my heart to see her, and reduced me to tears.  For her sake, I want this over.  This is not the life she wanted, not the end she envisioned, and nothing can help her but Time.

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About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
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4 Responses to Someone Let Me Off This Ride

  1. Debbie Struthers says:

    Hi Melissa,
    So sorry you mother is having to go thru all of this. Hang in there in seeing that she is well taken care of. Take some time for yourself too.
    Debbie

  2. What a shame that this had to happen, just when your Mom was beginning to get settled into her new home. I do hope they can do something for her. That Chris sounds like a very caring person. Thank goodness for people like her. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Mom.

    • Thank you. I had the same thought, Sue – just when things had finally settled down, Mom was becoming content and making friends, and now this. She has so little left in her life, it would have been nice if she could have enjoyed where she was a bit longer. Not sure what the future will bring. Care conference tomorrow.

  3. bluestempond says:

    Oh, my! I hope they can come up with a way to alleviate her pain without knocking her further off balance. Hang in there.

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