3 Weeks Later, Or: Why I pushed the button

A friend I had not seen for quite some time dropped by for tea the other day.  She asked me if I had regrets about my decision. I did not. And so the conversation moved to other things.

I waffle a great deal about decisions sometimes, but not this one. There was a clear deciding factor why I made the choice I had. I didn’t try in explain this to my friend because the factor had no real connection to the situation. It would have sounded weird.

My life is full off decisions people don’t understand based of factors they’d think were completely nuts if ever I confessed them. I know, because on those rare occasions I do confess them, people laugh at me or say incredibly cruel things.

But you’ve all been so patient with my political rants, that I thought I’d confess this factor to those of you that have followed this blog. It’s going to take a few posts, but we’ll get there so …

It happened like this. My father’s company asked him last year if he would be willing to do a 3-month trip overseas. Da jumped at the chance. Or rather my mother told him to jump at it as she wanted to join him overseas. And so it was decide.

He left on Sunday, May 13th. The plan was for her to fly down to California visit her mother, my Gran, for a week, then fly out of LAX the following Sunday join my Da. This all sounded a fine idea, and nothing to do with me as I was not even asked to house-sit, so everyone was quite excited.

My parents arrived at their respective destinations full of hope and high spirits.  I heard nary a peep from either of them. The occasional selfie or text, but nothing I had to respond to with more than an emoticon. Everything went pretty well for my Mum at my Gran’s house.

By 10 PM the following Saturday, I imagined, in 8 short hours, my mother would be on a plane winging her way to my father. But an hour later, my phone rang. It was my Gran, she was saying she was in the ER.  She sounded very matter of fact, very Gran.

I found it strange though. Doctors don’t usually let patients hooked up to machines have a cellphone in the ER. I also wondered why wasn’t my Mum calling, but then I thought she was maybe with the doctors.

So I asked my Gran, “What happened? Did you slip and fall again?” “No,” she said, in a wry tone, “Your mutti did.” And so it was that the injured party turned out to be my mother.

In the midst of Mum’s final check, while packing to leave for the “trip of a lifetime,” “a second honeymoon,” giddy as a schoolgirl, she tripped on a bedstead footing and fell in such a way as to fracture her femur. A freak accident.

Yes, the Fates can be cruel sometimes.

It was hard to figure out an appropriate response to my Gran’s revelation, mostly because, well, . . . I had just returned from a lake party where, I confess, some drinking of wine transpired. I asked Gran to repeat what she said. She did, this time going into some inappropriate detail about the sexiness of the burly men from the Fire Dept, and some cross words about the EMT’s who “despite being told not to, used the lights, though not the sirens.”

Yes, God forefend Gran’s neighbors be disturbed late at night or know someone had an accident.

I asked if they had called Da, but they hadn’t, because my Mum, “Didn’t want to worry him at work.” So typical was that response, it didn’t even give me pause. I wasn’t sure what I could do in the situation, but I was sure my father would want me there as his nearest available proxy.

So off to the airport and onto a 2 am plane, for which the price of a seat was more than a bit steepish. I spent the fight texting and sending emails, downshifting my life into “neutral” for the next week.

During my travel time, the ER doctor, Dr Crowe, picked over my Mum, and told her she was fine, according to her X-ray, and if she could walk she could go home. She desperately wanted to walk, to get on with her journey. But alas, she was in too much pain. So he admitted her to the hospital for further evaluation.

They sent her to the Oncology ward, the only ward that had a free bed, and that is where I found her with my Gran at 6 am. By this time, her doctors decided there probably was a fracture, even though they couldn’t see it on the X-ray. A CT scan at 11 am discovered an oblique fracture at the top of her femur.

The hospital’s top-notch orthopedic surgeon, who was on vacation that day and so I call him Doc Holiday, looked at her CT scan on his phone. He said it looked like she might just have a minor, hairline fracture and perhaps she could just go home and rest it for a bit. But he added he would have to look at it on his computer, later that night, when he arrived home.

My mother was filled with hope. She imagined she could hobble around on crutches with my father. She imagined she would be able to get a later flight and was glad she had purchased trip insurance which covered medical emergencies.

I didn’t say anything. Neither did my Gran. But we both rather thought that the Norco had clouded her judgement.

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