Tuesday, February 12, 2013
She Won't Listen
Last Saturday night, my husband and I went to a movie. I turned my phone ringer off, as I always do in a theater. My husband forgot to turn his off. When the movie was nearly over, his phone rang, but very quietly. He checked it and saw that my sister had called. Then I checked my phone and saw that I had missed a call from her. Since she had tried to reach both of us, I thought it might be important, so I went out into the hallway and called her back.
She told me that our mother had called her. Mom had fallen in her garage and hit her head on the concrete. Mom lives about an hour away from us, so we hoped someone closer could get to her in a hurry. I called her neighbor, who helps her out from time to time but the neighbor wasn't at home. My sister did not want to drive another hour because she had just returned from a six hour drive, bringing her daughter home from a gymnastics meet in Chicago.
I called another sister, who lives ten minutes from Mom, but she was babysitting for her three grandchildren. I asked her if she could put them in the car and drive over to check on Mom. She said she didn't have car seats for the kids. I asked where her daughter was. She and her husband had gone out to dinner. I called my niece on her cell and asked her if she could go check on Mom. She and her husband left their dinner and went to Mom's. They took her to the emergency room. They called me back to tell me Mom had a huge bump on her head and that she was being admitted.
We went up the next day to see Mom in the hospital. She looked like she had been in a bad bar fight. She had bruises on her face and two black eyes. She was in a good mood though, as they had given her morphine. They did two CT scans and let her go home that afternoon. We asked her how she fell. She said she was carrying packages into the house, with both hands full and still trying to walk with her cane. She tripped on a step in the garage.
My sister and her kids told us they think Mom is not safe living by herself in the house, since her husband died in October. One week ago the pipes froze to her water softener and water leaked into the house. She had to pay $3,000 to have repairs done. We are not sure if the price was fair because she went ahead and had it done without telling anyone else.
My sisters also think Mom should not be driving. She drives to church, to art class, and to the doctor. None of them are far, but we still think it's probably not a good idea. We found a senior apartment that we think she would like. Some of her friends from art class live there, and they have free transportation to every place she would want to go. They have security and medical care and full maintenance of the apartment. However, Mom will not consider it. She wants to stay in the house. She says she has the whole house to herself, why would she want to move to a small apartment?
We suggested calling Meals on Wheels, mostly to have someone checking on her every day. She refuses to accept them. She says she "doesn't want to feel obligated" and besides she still can cook. The hospital called and wanted to send a physical therapist to help with her mobility. She refuses that. She says if anyone takes her car keys she will call the police. She says if anyone takes her to a senior facility, she will take them out of the will. She gets very angry when we suggest anything.
Anytime Mom receives any kind of official mail she has to ask us what it's for and what she should do with it. She doesn't understand so many things. She needs our help, but she won't let us help her when it comes to her living circumstances. My niece who lives close to her says she will no longer go over to help Mom because she is "enabling" her and is afraid she will come in the house and find her dead. My sister who lives close to me, an hour from Mom, and I don't know what to do. Mom says she wants to stay in the house until she dies. We are afraid she has a death wish at this point, that she doesn't want to live without her husband.
The sister who lives here is a physician and she wanted Mom to stay with her after she left the hospital so she could keep an eye on her. My husband and I went to the hospital when Mom was discharged and told her we were going to take her to my sister's house. She kept saying "I don't want to go there." Once she was there, she said she wanted to go home the next day. She said she couldn't take a shower at my sister's house because she was afraid she was going to fall on the slippery shower floor. I bought a mat to put in the shower. She took a shower, but she still wanted to go home the next day!