By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for anything alcoholic
My 91 year old mother hurt her knee and ended up in the hospital. Hospitals are dangerous germ filled places for people in the 90-99 age group. So many check in but never check out, pneumonia being the usual culprit. I was worried that she would lie there and with shallow breathing catch pneumonia so I drove the six hour round trip to check on her.
I need not have worried on that score. When I got to her floor, I didn't have to ask which room was hers. Those lungs were filled to capacity and bellowing out orders to everyone. She thinks the hospital is some kind of resort.
I spent the entire day with her or someone who had possessed her body. The nurse had given her a vicodin for pain before I got there and Mother then talked non-stop for five hours. I felt like I was watching the weather channel, same thing repeated every hour.
During her five hour ramble, she talked, more than once, about the ninety-five year old twins that had lived across the hall from her for several months. They didn't stay there long. They moved to a townhouse just across the drive-way from my mother's assisted living facility. I have my suspicions as to why. Mother can't cross the drive-way.
Then she complained that she had tried to reach some lady by phone. She wanted her to come and help her clear out a closet. I said "Well, Mother maybe she couldn't hear the phone ring." "Oh, she can hear it ring. She's nine-seven but she can hear." "Mother, you're calling a ninety-seven year old woman to come and help you clean out a closet?" "Well, I'd pay her."
These stories and several others that my brain cannot recall alternated along with her concern for her swollen knee for three hours. The doctor had aspirated the knee, tested, and performed an MRI. We were just waiting for the results. She had already made a couple rounds with her walker with two nurses in tow so I wasn't too worried about the condition of her knee at the present. My sister and I were concerned about what had caused the knee to collapse. If it was just worn out and the collapse was spontaneous, then we had to consider getting Mother a motorized scooter…a very scary thought. Mother had given up driving when she was 85 because of the other crazy drivers on the road. "I've never had an accident," she proudly claims. My sister and I exchange that "But how many have you caused?" look we share.
By hour four of the vicodin trip to fantasy land, I headed for the nurses' station. "I need drugs," I gasped. "For your mother?" They didn't even ask who my mother was or her room number. I guess they had seen that dazed look before. "No, for me. " "Sorry, your mother's nurses on the night shift already took all the drugs not under lock and key. Maybe if you leave the room she will fall asleep." I staggered back down the hall.
By hour four and five minutes, I went in search of a diet coke since the only alcohol I could find was the disinfecting kind, tempting but reason reined temporarily. When I came back, I slid with my back against the wall quietly down the side hall and leaned in to see if Mother was asleep. Just at that moment, she was leaning out of her bed peeking around the corner and caught me. Even at ninety-one, I can't slip anything past her.
After five hours six minutes and eleven seconds, the doctor appeared with the results. "The tests showed this is just a temporary injury. She must have banged it on something." At that point Mother vehemently and loudly proclaimed that she did not bang it on anything.
After talking with my sister, I learned that the Mavericks had played the same night she experienced "knee failure". It was a close and exciting game. Mother is an avid sports fan and armchair coach. The pieces began to fall into place. Mother would never admit it, but I'm sure Dirk was glad she was not at courtside when he missed that shot. Unfortunately, I don't think Mother's knee missed the side table.
When my head stops spinning and my blood pressure drops below 300, I will call my sister and see how Mother is doing tonight. I'd call the hospital myself, but I think the Mavericks are playing game six tonight and nothing interferes with Mother and sports.
I enjoyed the silent three hour ride home. I didn't even play the radio. I was afraid I would catch the Mavericks game. I was afraid if Dirk made a dumb shot, Mother might fall out of bed and hurt her other knee and by the time I turned around and got back to the hospital, she would be re-entering vicodin land. Mothers!