When, Not If

Those three words describe Jane to a T. It's never a case of 'if she goes into the hospital, but WHEN will she go into the hospital again.' In the time that I've known her, these things happen with stunning regularity and seem to happen most often when an event will be disrupted.

For that reason, I withheld information about my graduation. Ed and Betsy agreed with my logic and we all kept silent about that event, even though my husband told me that he would not miss watching me walk across the stage for anything.

Still, we knew something would happen-and it did.

Wednesday, the five of us were slated to visit Betsy and family for an early Christmas celebration for nine. Ed got a phone call fairly early in the morning. Jane requested that he bring the manual wheelchair because she'd fallen in her apartment and banged up her hip. He went to the storage unit and picked it up, only to get a call about 20 minutes before we were to get her that she was in too much pain.

The evening was a pleasant one and we discussed Jane's current situation of choosing an independent living arrangement when she needed more supervision, the Thanksgiving evening request made of me to cough up some of my painkillers since she'd used up her own and the fact that the fall probably occurred because she uses the damn Jazzy rather than walk the five steps into her kitchen.

Thursday, I called her to find out what happened. "I fell." She did not want to share details, but with repeated requests, explained that she tripped over the carpet and landed on her hip. She'd been xrayed, but the results weren't back yet. She'd been given another dose of painkillers.

Christmas morning, Ed's phone rang several times, but not Jane's ring tone. He checked messages and found it was the hospital, calling to say that Jane had broken her hip, was in there care and resting. From my studies with two gerontology professors, I knew this was not good news. The prognosis and mortality rates are scary.

This morning, way too early, Jane called Ed. She was loopy and incoherent. A fifteen minute phone conversation ensued, in which she alternated between telling Ed she was getting xrays or surgery, that the doctor looked at her xrays and told her she messed herself up severely and that she was having surgery. Betsy later got a phone call from her in which she was even more loopy and explained that they were wheeling her into surgery. "Please call Ed and let him know what's going on." Apparently, she'd forgotten she had a conversation with him already.

Based on what she's said, this is probably pretty extensive and extremely worrisome. She barely walks now, only leaving the Jazzy to use the bathroom, even though she's had a lot of physical therapy to get her to walk more. While in rehab in October, she was told she needs to spend as much time as possible walking, but she twisted those instructions around to 'I shouldn't walk so much because it hurts.'

Complications of hip fractures are extensive and there's some risks that, when combined with her existing health issues, are downright scary. The other concern is that with either type of fracture, medical protocol recommends an extended stay in skilled care.

Exactly where we were trying to get her to move back in October. Exactly what she resisted because she didn't want anyone else calling the shots.

This is going to be interesting, to say the least.


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