My phone rang at 6:20 this morning and immediately, my heart skipped a beat. Instinctively, I knew it would be my sister calling and I was right. I just knew something had happened with Mama. I was right. She had fallen again. This wasn’t the first time I had gotten that call but that fact didn’t eliminate any of the fear that overtook me, the same as it did all the other times.
She had tried to get back into bed after using the restroom and missed it. She’s done that before and thankfully, it has always resulted in her having a soft-impact sort of fall in that she slides to the floor rather than hitting it full-force. Regardless of how she gets there, I’m never prepared to see her sitting on the floor, unable to get up. Again, though, her sense of humor lightened the situation to a degree. Once before, when I walked in to help after she had fallen, I asked her what she was doing on the floor and she told me she was playing jacks. This time, she told me that she as just sitting there waiting for me to get there and she thought that was the funniest thing ever.
Mama is a heavy-set woman so it takes at least three of us to lift her back into bed. She suffers from RA so she’s very fragile and that doesn’t make matters any easier. She plays A LOT, to the point that by the time we get her back in bed, we’re all exhausted but nearly always howling with laughter. She’s been known to scream before we even touch her, and that’s always followed by a little wink and snicker. My poor brother-in-law didn’t know what to do when she looked at him this morning and said she was going to start crying if he touched her. Then she smirked and snickered. My son, brother, nephew and brother-in-law ALWAYS get the, “Don’t be lookin’ under my gown, either.” It was no different this morning.
Regardless of the amount of humor injected in the situation, it takes a huge toll on us all when she’s on the floor, so helpless. My brother cries nearly every time. This is the woman who built the home that we all grew up in with her own two hands. This is the woman who worked a garden, worked on cars and made our meals. The role of caregiver to an elderly parent is filled with emotions. For me, the most powerful one is love but fear runs a very close second. Whatever time is left, we will make certain it’s filled with goodness for her.