I remembered that I am my mother's keeper.
This reminder came in the form of a ringing telephone at 11:25pm. Caller ID told me it was the pod-castle and at that time of night I knew it couldn't be good news.
"Hi, Pod-Castle. How is my mother?"
The stunned silence on the other end of the phone was less than comforting. Her "Oh, she's fine" was even worse. If she's fine, what are you doing calling me at midnight?
No sense in getting angry at the help, though, so I waited for her to introduce herself and tell me that G'ma had been calling for help and was found on the carpet alongside her couch, blood pouring from her head.
Head wounds bleed I can hear my mother reassuring me in my mind as I try to wake up enough to process the situation. Mommy would know that I'd be getting anxious right about now; it was nice of her to insert that thought to calm me down.
No, they hadn't called the ambulance. Yes, G'ma was alert and oriented - well, as oriented as she usually is - and not in too much pain. Perhaps, there might be a bandaid that would work.... ummm.... and the pause at that moment made the decision for me. The caregiver would call the EMT's; I would get dressed and be over in a minute.
TBG offered to drive me but this wasn't a two person job. This was a job for a pushy New Yorker who knew that if she just walked into the ER talking to the EMT's she could ignore the Ambulance Personnel ONLY sign and stay by G'ma's side through the whole event. This was a job for a small person, one who fits on small plastic seats and, by propping her legs up on the edge of the patient's bed, can say honestly that she is comfortable. Besides, he's spent enough time watching medical types working on someone he loves.
For that matter, I wasn't all that thrilled to be back in a hospital setting either. I tried to nod off as we waited for CAT scan results but the beeping and paging sent me right back to UMC and my most uncomfortable nighttime moments. I opened my eyes and kept reading The Help.
They did what they needed to do and were friendly and competent if not efficient and I took the hospital gown off and helped G'ma into a soft pink fleecy night gown and we drove her home to the pod-castle as the sun was rising. She was remarkably chipper; I was extraordinarily tired. She got into bed and fell fast asleep quicker than I was able to get comfortable on her couch so I went home to my own bed and crashed.
The last two days have been filled with phone calls and worries and spot-checks and complaints and she's still in that nightie and the pain is getting worse. Deep breaths are the worst. Lying still is the best.
It's a good thing that she's usually on that couch anyway, I guess.
I brought her Hershey's Kisses because what is life without chocolate? I'll take her to her doctor tomorrow, he of the Birkenstocks and blue jeans and smart phone and earrings. He'll be kind and thorough and just as intrusive as he needs to be and I will feel comfortable with the plan we formulate before we leave his office.
Until then, I am not really here at the keyboard. Some of me is focused on this post, but most of me is wondering about G'ma. My mom.
She was bleeding and it made me sad. She used to be indestructible. She was never sick, she never broke a bone or needed stitches. The time she aimed the hairspray into her eyeball was her only trip to the hospital. She was Mommy. We got sick or injured - she did not.
And now she's old, as she tells me when I ask her how she is. Mr. 8 thinks that I am really old, horrifyingly old, but he doesn't know the half of it. My new friend, Elizabeth, all of 13 and the certainties that entails, thinks anyone over 29 is old. 60 is on my horizon and that sounds old, but I think that old is when it's more effort to do than to be. When you are old things are done for you and to you and you are grateful. When you're old, your get-up-and-go seems to have got-up-and-went.
And there's a serenity to the space G'ma is occupying right now that is out of my reach. She hurts, but if she stays still she's okay so she'll stay still and watch Elizabeth and Essex on TMC and the staff will check on her safety and well-being and medication has been discussed by the nurse at the pod-castle and by the doctor's office and by her daughter and she will smile and say thank you and drift along, watching the world.
She's in it but not really of it. She's a recipient instead of a participant. And she is happy. I don't understand it. I am worried and she is the one who was bleeding. She lives this life and I worry about it.
Just when I'd gotten my thoughts about myself lined up in a semi-acceptable pattern, there's G'ma tossing them up in the air again. When will I learn? You're never out of the woods..... sometimes you find a path...... but Frost's two roads diverging are more like an Escher than a Grandma Moses to me right now.
I keep looking for a map and there isn't one.