Another “Reason” to Be Unemployed

Thursday, June 2, 8:41 p.m. Caller ID indicated that my youngest sister was calling.

Her family and our elderly parents were on a leisurely visit to Kerrville for a couple of days, just two hours from where they all live in Austin. This could not be a casual, social call.

“Mom fractured her pelvis,” she said when I answered.

As feared, it was indeed the kind of call that you expect but dread after your parents reach a certain age and degree of physical health.

My mother had been transported to the ER of a Kerrville hospital, where she was later admitted to lay flat on her back, unable to move her body the slightest without excruciating pain.

Dear God! I sustained a similar injury in 2007. But I was/am 30 years her junior. Immediately I knew the pain she must be in and the complete helplessness when all of a sudden you cannot stand or walk and you’re entirely dependent on the care of strangers. I spent four days in the hospital and another eight days in a rehabilitation hospital to recover, not to mention weeks of physical therapy after my release. How would my three-weeks-shy-of-86-year-old mother respond physically to this injury?

And what could I do about it from 200 miles away?

What could any of the five siblings do who are geographically dispersed as far away as Georgia?

And yet, this is when all of us, each of us must do whatever is required to the best of our individual and collective abilities.

It’s a common, timeless scenario that we all, as offspring, find ourselves in. It’s now our turn to decide how we will begin to orchestrate the rest of our parents’ lives.

“Orchestrate” is a nice way to put it. Four of the five of us who were available participated in a siblings conference call this morning to discuss and decide, “So what do we do? How do we begin to exercise our responsibilities, which we knew were coming, but to date, as a unit, have not made any plans for?”

As the initial step beyond the threshold of denial, we were unanimous in the decision that our parents must be moved from a second-floor apartment to one on the ground floor. And we all agreed that we will arrange and pay for this move within the next week while Mom is still under in-patient care. All the packing and moving will be hired out, and the parents will have no say in the matter.

Today Mom was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Austin. Her date of “return” to her new apartment home depends entirely on her progress toward recovery.

But whenever she is released from the hospital, I am available to drive to Austin, to take her to her previously unseen new home.

And so it begins …

    • Techquestioner
    • June 8th, 2011

    May your mother have a speedy and uneventful recovery. I had another friend who had lost her job shortly before her mother’s health required that she have someone to live with who could care for her. When she moved in with my friend, my friend felt that it was fate that she was available to care for her and happy to do so, although her finances were very tight at the time. It’s very good that your family can come together and make appropriate plans in these circumstances. Some families can/t do that. Hang in there.

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