||[Sep. 15th, 2008|10:33 am]
I have my hospital-going head on this morning. Very cool, businesslike, unemotional. |
We just drove my father-in-law to Accident and Emergency. He stood the pain from last Thursday's fall for as long as he could and has finally decided to have himself looked at. He wouldn't call an ambulance. People- neighbours- would see it on the street- and what on earth would they think?
He's stoical too. And he hates being an old man.
Who can blame him?
I have previous with hospitals. As a young man I did a couple of stints as a nursing auxiliary- in Sheffield and at South London's pioneering St Christopher's Hospice. At this distance in time I'm not sure why- because I hated it.
Stoical I suppose.
And when I was a vicar the part of the job I hated most- apart from the ever so jolly social events- was the hospital visiting.
The A&E staff sit behind glass- bulletproof I shouldn't wonder. The clerk's voice reaches us over a speaker system. My father-in-law gives out his details crisply, smartly- like a wonded soldier. He wasn't a soldier, he was in the RAF police. Same thing, I suppose.
And after that he was a railwayman.
Waiting times this morning are calculated at about an hour. I'll guess there are some thirty people in the room. They're sitting on two banks of seats, facing each other- with nothing in the middle.
I get my in-laws seated and leave them. They'll ring when they need us.
We're back home- waiting. Ailz has just popped next door. We've been hearing high pitched noises and we think Sameena must have had her baby.
So I believe.
Almost exactly the same thing happened about a year ago.
He's desperately unsteady on his feet but won't acknowledge there's a problem.
My mother went through the same thing for two years. We begged her to get a walker, and later a wheelchair, but she refused, saying she would be embarrassed. When I pointed out (gently) that it was much more high-profile to fall against a wall with a loud cry in public than to be quietly wheeled into a restaurant in a wheelchair, she couldn't or wouldn't see the logic of it. I think for her a walker or wheelchair meant "old woman" and she couldn't bring herself to embrace that archetype.
It made it very scary for us who took her places--we never knew if that would be the trip when she fell and couldn't be lifted (even though she weighed under 100 pounds). It was also sad.
Ailz was suggesting today that he might like to use a walker (after all, she does) and he wouldn't hear of it.
He's a heavy man. When he fell the other day the kids who found him had to fetch their dads to help him up.
One thing to be said for those smaller, electric "wheelchairs": It is impossible to fall while sitting in one of them. I, for one, will have no problem with using one if and when it becomes prudent to do so.
Ailz has been using wheelchairs for over a decade. She can walk- and sometimes walks considerable distances- but she gets tired and wobbly and then it's good to have the back-up.
2008-09-17 09:13 am (UTC)
Sorry, it was me again. I keep forgetting to log in...
When Mother had her last fall, when she fell against a chest after becoming dizzy, she ended up lying on the floor and unable to get up. She thought she could just stay on the floor until morning and sleep, but as she woke more she realized she needed to get up, and somehow she crawled to a chair and helped herself up.
She didn't call anyone, lest she disturb us!
We didn't know about it until the next day, when she began having pain and so called and asked someone to take her to the doctor.
Mother's sense of logic deserted her in her final two years. My sister Janice even built her an entire apartment in their house, using Mother's favorite colors and framing old photographs, even had a little kitchen and a safe bathroom, but Mother wanted her own house and privacy, and so we were always worried that she would be afraid and alone on the floor--which finally did happen, but after that her condition was clear and soon someone was with her every day, then every night, too.
She had in the end what she yearned for most: she died at home with her children beside her.
Independence and privacy- those things are so important to us. More importnat than safety.
Ailz's parents- my mother too- often prefer not to tell their children about their "minor" mishaps. I think I'd be the same.