It All Changes in a Minute

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Originally, my parents were going to join us for Thanksgiving.  My brother had agreed to drive up and pick them up and bring them down and then take them back.  For a couple of reasons, my father decided that he wasn’t up for a long car ride and so they opted out.  Plans were really too far along to easily change and my parents would have made too much of a fuss if we tried so we carried on.

The day was great and we were sitting around enjoying pie and coffee when the phone rang and it was our sister calling from her place.  After some joking, she told us that Mom had fallen and broken her hip and was in the hospital and that Dad was home alone.  This, of course, is our nightmare scenario.  Dad was never good at cooking or laundry and now that his vision is going, he has a hard time doing things for himself – like finding the hospital number or being able to get up there.

Our first call got their voice mail so my brother left an assortment of numbers.  I guess he was trying to call us but had nothing but old numbers since none of us had messages.  A quick internet search found the hospital (advantages of small town living in that there was only one) and we managed to get hold of her first.  She had bumped into an open dishwasher and fallen.  They were doing surgery the next day and had to move her to a hospital about 45 minutes from where they live since the hospital in town wasn’t capable of dealing with some of the potential complications.  Mom has COPD and compromised lung function and anesthesia aren’t a good mix.  We got as much information as we could from her and also started sorting out plans for who would go up and when.

We did manage to reach Dad a little later and gave him what we knew.  The big problem is that even after surgery, she’s going to need a couple of days in rehab and that will be in a different place.  We knew her surgery was scheduled for Friday but didn’t have a time and questions about when she’d be released and where she’d be taken would hinge on the surgery so we didn’t have a lot of information.  But what we had was more than he did at the time.  I think there were both glad someone was coming up.

My older brother and his family were planning on driving back that way to drop their daughter back at college.  The complicating thing was that their son had a flight back from our town on Saturday night.  They had planned to stay Friday, drop him at the airport and then drive the other one and then drive back to their place on Sunday.  So they had to change plans and planned to drive up on Friday to be there for the surgery.  My younger brother was driving up as well with one of his sons and then he’d come back on Saturday and bring the kid to his flight.  There was a flurry of internet activity to make reservations and plans on who would be at the hospital and who would be staying with Dad who again was unsure about making the drive and then sitting around a hospital for a couple of hours.

There’s so much more that has to be dealt with like finding someone to come to the house since my Mom won’t be climbing stairs anytime soon and the laundry is downstairs.  Plus finding someone to bring meals by when she’s in rehab because my Dad can’t cook or shop.  And trying to make these arrangements remotely or even on site on Thanksgiving weekend was not fun.

I chose to stay behind.  Yes, I felt a little guilty about it but there were already a bunch of people going up and it didn’t seem like one more body was going to make that much of a difference.  But, I will be leaving tomorrow to spend the day with Dad since everyone else is leaving and then coming back some time on Monday.  My brother may be coming back on Tuesday and then we’ll just have to play this by ear from now on.




  1. Hope your Mom and Dad are both doing ok! It wasn’t bad that you remained behind for a day–you’re still going to help out, and you didn’t drain all your energy by being there a day early when everyone else was there too. You did the right thing for all of you, I believe

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