The phone rang at 10pm. I knew it would be bad news before I lifted the receiver; Caller ID told me that the pod castle was calling. There was nothing I wanted to hear from them at that hour of the night. I was right.
"Your mom fell."
My heart dropped. The plane to Chicago and BlogHer and Little Cuter was leaving in fifteen hours, and I planned to be on it no matter what.
"How long was she on the floor?" I asked. "Is she bleeding? Have you called the doctor?
"Not long. No. No. She's fine. We just wanted to tell you. We found her in her chair. She doesn't remember a thing."
This is where it starts to get fuzzy for me. G'ma was not bruised. She was on her chair. She, of course, was unable to tell the staff what had happened. I wondered how they knew she had fallen. No one was able to give me an answer. I'm not suggesting that they didn't give me a good answer, I'm saying that they didn't have an answer at all.
I appreciated the phone call, required as it might have been. I like being kept in the loop. I just wasn't sure that there was a loop to be completed. With no damage, with G'ma found on her chair, without complaints of pain or blood running onto the carpet, I am left scratching my head and wondering.
Is this the edge of a massive cover-up? If it is, what can I do? There is no way to prove anything, no way to rerun the hands of time and determine exactly what precipitated the phone call, no way to know what went on.
The lack of control is frightening. My job is to be certain my mother is safe. I can't do anything about her increasing dementia, her lack of appetite, her unwilliness to get off her chair and join me for lunch out at Subway. I can try to keep her safe. At least, that was the plan when we admitted her to the pod castle. Sixteen apartments, four or five staff during the day, alarms on her chair and her bed, overnight staff that is aware of her limitations, all of these were in place and, for a while, working well.
Then, there was that phone call.
She is losing muscle tone and interest in the world around her. The surgery's anesthesia, though mild, left less of her in the world. It's a commonly reported side-effect among the already demented, though I've not found reliable research that would suggest that surgery be avoided. And really, the woman had a broken leg; surgery was not optional. I thought that returning to the pod-castle would reawaken neurons and synapses, that she would relax into her familiar, comfortable, surroundings, that she would be the same.
I'm a dreamer. I look at the bright side. I'm often disappointed.
There is blather where there was none. I used to say, with confidence, that G'ma was fine in the moment. She might not remember where she had been ten seconds ago, but within the confines of a conversation, she was on-task and coherent. That's not true any more.
She pointed to Mark Harmon's gorgeous face on the television set, and began to tell me something about him. The sentence started off well enough, but it devolved into a string of unconnected words before the second comma. G'ma looked confused, surprised, perplexed. I finished what I thought she was saying and didn't make a big deal over the drivel I heard, but my heart was breaking.
I treasured those moments of clarity, those conversations about the weather or the kids or the outfits on the people across the room. They were glimpses of what had been, reminders of the woman she was. Those encounters reinforced the notion that the old lady in the recliner-she-can't-remember-how-to-operate was still the woman who gave me sage advice, whether I wanted it or not.
I'd really like some now, Mommy.
I'd like to know if you are happy inside. I'd like to know if you realize you are unable to complete your thoughts. I'd like to know what to do about it all. I'd like to know if you fell.
Channeling Mick isn't helping at all. I know I can't get what I want. I'm trying, but I'm not getting what I need, either. I'm not giving up, but I'm not sure where to turn. If there are answers out there, they are well hidden.
It's really no fun at all.