Sunday, April 6, 2008

Broken Bone

No. Not Dianna or I, or even one of our kids this time. That is unless you consider our parents our kids now.

After settling in at San Onofre this week, and working the kiosk on Friday, we decided to take the Metrolink from San Juan Capistrano to San Fernando to visit Dianna's parents this weekend. They have been in pretty good health lately so this promised to be a pleasant visit without all the Dr. and hospital stuff. Wrong!

On the train we got a call from Julie telling us that Mom had fallen during the night and sprained her ankle. She was also feeling dizzy, short of breath and nauseous. By the time we arrived in San Fernando an hour and several phone calls later we knew this would not be an uneventful visit.

The train station is only five minutes from Widener's house. Their caretaker picked us up and when we got to their house we called 911. Mother had actually fallen at 4 AM, gone back to bed, gotten up and somehow out to the kitchen by 9 AM where she again got dizzy and fell over backward while sitting on the seat of her walker. She caught herself and managed to hang upside down for about half an hour until the caretaker arrived for the day. I think anyone would be dizzy, nauseous and short of breath after an episode like that. The swelling on her ankle was about the size of an orange.

Almost before Dianna hung up the phone the EMT's arrived and took her to the hospital. Dianna went over to be with her. They checked her out thoroughly and concluded that her dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath were caused by dehydration. Oh, and her ankle was broken.

They put it in a splint for a couple days to wait for the swelling to go down so they can cast it. So, for the next few weeks she will be even less mobile than usual. She cannot get to or from the bed, sofa or bathroom without assistance.  Dianna found she was not properly trained as an aide and had a back ache last night.

Dianna and I will drive their car down to San Onofre tomorrow while their caretaker is here so Dianna can pick up some clothes and return to stay with them for a while. At this point we don't know how long, but Dad cannot handle her and the caretaker only works days and six days a week.

I will stay in San Onofre and meet our volunteer commitments. As of now I am scheduled to work the kiosk three days a week. I would much rather be doing that than have to do what Dianna is going to have to do.



  1. I am sure that you feel more and more like a slice of bologna, sandwiched between your parents and your kids. It happens to everyone who is lucky (?) enough to have parents who live as long as we have.

    I can feel for Betty with her broken ankle. Remember, I broke mine three times in less than two years, while we were living in a Fifth Wheel, and not nearly as large a one as yours. I know how much fun it was trying to get up those three or four stairs to the bathroom and bedroom. But, I never tried hanging upside down!

    What a miserable situation!

  2. Oh, I"m so sorry! Sounds like she's very lucky not to have broken her hip on that second fall. How does she get so dehydrated so often? Seems like the caretaker needs to make sure she is getting more fluids.

    Thoughts are with you Dianna. Watch how you lift or you'll be flat on your back and no help at all!

  3. I am so sorry to hear that. She is lucky to have your help. Take care of yourself too!

  4. Didn't you join a system where Betty wears a button, something like mine, so that she can call for help when her care giver is not there? Dianna can't stay there for the rest of her life. (I agree that she must be there now).

    It's too bad that they would never consider living the way I do. But I know that horse has been beaten to death, and there's no use pounding him any longer. Can't they get someone to stay nights, other than Marie, who has her own life?

    I know that I am thinking of things to do, from 500 miles away, that you have discussed and discarded. There has to be an answer. Meanwhile, please know that we are thinking of all of you, and hoping that solution appears before long.

  5. In fact, we just signed her up for a medical monitoring system today! She had something previously that wasn't monitored. It would just call preprogrammed numbers and leave a recorded message. This is a real one with real people monitoring her calls. It's expensive - but it will be worth it not to worry so much about her (them). Now, the question is, "will she wear the button 24/7???" I'm pretty sure she understands the seriousness of it this time!

  6. I'm praying for your parents and your family.