Sunday, October 11, 2009

Displaced, Fractured, and in Need of an Operation

My mother, younger sister, Julia, and I went roller blading on Grant's Trail this afternoon, as we do nearly every Sunday afternoon.  On our way out of my parent's house, my mom mentioned to my sister that she will want to wear a jacket b/c it gets cold on the shaded parts of the trail (I had made the mistake of not wearing one the day before and Mom had remembered how chilly I had gotten, as a result).  Julia, being the fourteen-year-old, obstinate child that she is, insisted that no, she did not need a jacket and proceeded into the car wearing only short sleeves and shorts (the high today was in the mid-50's).

As you can probably guess, by the time we were on the last segment of our trip, Julia had gotten so cold that she had stuffed her arms into her t-shirt and was clearly not at all comfortable.  At this point, we were all skating single file--Julia in front, Mom in the middle and I brought up the rear.  I watched my mother, a bit up the trail from me, start to struggle to remove her jacket, as she was still skating at a pretty good clip.  Once she had it off, I watched her offer it to Julia and thought to myself, "Aw, look what a good mom she is!"  Julia, declined to take the jacket, saying she didn't want Mom to be cold, either.  In what seemed like exponentially slowed time, I thought to myself, "That jacket in Mom's arms is hanging far too low--I need to tell her to pull it up higher or she will trip over the thing."  Before I had a chance to say a word, Mom went down.  Hard.  On her face.  I yelled, "Mom are you okay???"  No answer.  I skated up to her, crumpled on the path and unmoving.  I asked again, "Mom, are you alright?"  Mom slowly pulled herself up, her lip bleeding and cradling her hand.

"Jen, I think I cut my lip."

"Yes, Mom."  Holding her face, I could see that her lip was indeed cut and the inside of her mouth was filling with blood. I felt my eyes start to tear up.

"Honey, don't cry.  I'm okay.  Don't freak out, alright?"

As she said this, I could see that her ring finger was turning purple and it was obviously disfigured.  It appeared to be hyper extended at the knuckle. 

"Mom, what is happening with your hand?  I think your finger is broken."

"I think so, too"

"Mom, we need to go to the hospital."

"No, honey, I just need some ice.  Can we stop at a gas station on the way home?"

"Yes, but I don't have any money on me.  I don't have my cell either.  Maybe we should just do straight to the hospital, okay?"

"No, Jen, I don't have my insurance card with me.  Let's just skate back and we'll drive home to get it."
The longest skate ever commences.  In what seems like half-an-hour (but was probably only ten minutes), we make it back to my car.  My little sister and I hurriedly pull our own and then my mother's skates off and help her into the car.  I fumble with the locks and am clearly a little panicky.

"Jen, just slow down.  You need to drive home safely, okay?  No speeding."

I answer in the affirmative and we make it back to my parents' with no further incident.  As we are pulling up in front of the house, we notice that both my father's van and my brother's truck are gone.  My mother mutters to herself, "I hope Tim is still home b/c I don't have keys to get inside."

I quickly park, run up the front steps, and start ringing the door bell over and over, yelling into the mail slot, "Tim!  Tim! Come to the door!  TIM!"

No answer.

I run around back, swing open the back door, and off goes the house alarm.  *RERERREEEREERRR*  I rush through the house to the front door and as I'm unlocking it, Julia is running up the front steps to enter the code into the alarm system.  We both promptly forget my mother in the car and begin searching for ice, her insurance card, her cell phone, etc.  It is a madhouse.  Mom walks inside shortly thereafter looking seriously pained. [I still don't know how she had gotten out of my car, as I had inadvertently blocked her car door by parking in front of some landscaping.  She must have climbed over the stick shift and exited out of my driver's side door--a feat that certainly did not go unpunished, so far as her injured hand was concerned.] 

We struggle with trying to get everything ready.  Julia, at my mother's behest, writes a note for the rest of the family explaining what happened and where we are going.  Just as we are about to leave for the hospital, my niece and youngest sister appear with the smaller of the family's two dogs.  Cayleen promptly starts crying, upon seeing Mom's injuries and our harried looks.  We tell her not to worry and ask where Dad is.  She replies that he is on his way home with the other dog and should be back at any moment.  My dad then enters the house, sees what happened, and whisks Mom away to Barnes Emergency Room, promising to keep us apprised.

After they have gone, my niece, sweet child that she is, asks, "Where is the jacket that Grandma fell on?"  Cayleen looks at her, perplexed, and asks, "Why do you want to know?"  Emily responds simply, "Because I want it."  I walk them out to my car, pull Mom's hot pink jacket from the trunk and hand it to Emily.  She then looks up at me and asks, "Where is all of the blood?"  I tell her that there wasn't any on the jacket.  She nods solemnly and pulls the jacket to her chest.  She needed a piece of her grandma to hold on to.

That all happened about three hours ago.  Julia Rose recently called to advise that Mom had fractured her hand, displaced a knuckle and will probably need surgery.  My mom and dad are still in the ER awaiting the hand specialist.  Julia and I are in our respective homes trying to deal with the guilt.  Had Julia worn a jacket, maybe this wouldn't have happened.  Had I not wanted to go skating, maybe this wouldn't have happened.  Had Mom not been quite so loving and considerate, maybe this wouldn't have happened.  The maybes are eating us all up. 

Meanwhile, I have never been so grateful for the fact that Mom has excellent health insurance, short term disability, and 140 vacation hours available to her.  Not many are that fortunate.  Thank the Goddesses.

Om shanti, Mom.