Thursday, November 19, 2009

Calling for help

Chuck's mom fell last Thursday and broke her hip. She lay there on the floor of her apartment for seven hours, vainly calling for help, until someone went to check on her because she wasn't at lunch.

It sounds to me as tho she lives in the type of retirement community where people care about one another. That's a really good thing. Chuck, of course, has been very concerned, as am I (and I don't even know her!).

I have been mildly bothered, especially these past few years, over the fact that I live alone and am not getting any younger. Now, Chuck's mother is 85 - 13 years my senior, but the difference in years is of no importance whatsoever here.

I heard just a horrendous story recently about a fellow bridge player - one of my regular partners from years back - who had an accident in his kitchen. I don't want to go into all of the gory details, but he lay there on the floor and bled to death before anyone discovered his body a day or two later.

I asked my daughter a while back to check on me - by phone or e-mail - at least every couple of days or so. That doesn't happen. I guess she figures that if I'm publishing on my blog that I'm ok. But what about the times - and there have been some, particularly recently - when I'm not regularly publishing?

I don't want to put all the weight on her, either. She has a busy schedule and her own immediate family to think about. I've investigated having some sort of gadgets installed inside the house, at the same time wearing something around my neck - a necklace of some sort, whereupon if I do happen to fall and can't get up I can say so and (supposedly) someone monitoring a switchboard in India (Afghanistan? Timbuktu?) will report the incident and 'come' to my rescue. Sounds expensive!

What happens if I have a fall while I'm out in the backyard? It's fenced in. No one would see me. All the critters out there - including the fire ants - would have had a good old time with my body long before anyone would discover me. I'd probably be unrecognizable. Ugh! Just the thought of such a thing sends chills up and down my spine. Btw, it's the A#1 reason I'll never have another cat. Just so you know.

I grew up in Munising, Michigan, a little town in the Upper Peninsula. It was one of those places where everyone knew everyone else and - in many cases - was a relative. We lived next door to Lavinia Meyland, whose sister lived right across the street.

Lavinia was living alone at the time. Her husband, Walter, of whom I was very fond - he was a fellow philatelist, had passed away some time before and their two sons were grown and gone. I was either away at college or married and living elsewhere, I don't remember.

Anyway, she fell coming down the stairs of her home and lay there for a while before she finally was able to summon up the strength (!!!) to get up and walk to the telephone, where she called for help.

As a taxicab driver, I felt safest and least alone. How could that possibly be? Well, I had immediate radio access to a living person. (Assuming I was in the cab, of course.) Think about it for a second. It's true.

Kind of a 'downer' post, huh? This is a serious issue and not one we willingly choose to face. What plans have you made 'in the event of'?


Barry said...

My eife's mother fell in her apartment and didn't have the strength i her legs to lift herself up on ff the floor.

Since it was late in the evening when she fell, she was reluctant to call us and lay there for 5 hours.

Of course we immediately drove over and helped her up, but it took us an hour to get there.

She wasn't injured but the experience was enough to convince her she needed to move to a retirement community--where she lived happily until she was 90.

Arlene said...

A lot of years ago my husband and I left town for a week's vacation. We left my mother-in-law's phone number with a neighbor who would call each day to check on her. One day there was no answer. My neighbor drove over and knocked - no answer. The apartment manager let her in and they found my mother-in-law sitting in the bathtub, where she had slipped while taking a shower. She had been unable (at 84) to get herself up and out. She had been there a terrifying 4 hours.

Immediately after that incident we got her one of those medic-alert necklaces which served us well several times.

Polimom said...

Aside from my being broken (and utterly out of the loop) for 6 straight weeks, I have to disagree with your "doesn't happen" -- though you're absolutely right that your blogging often substitutes for direct contact.

That said, we really do need to have a serious conversation about this sooner rather than later, especially since we'll be moving thousands of miles away from you this summer.

Nancy said...

Cell phones are a good safety device if you can have one on you at all times.