Momma goes down again

Waiting to be seen.

Waiting to be seen.

I got a call from the nursing home that my momma had fallen again on Friday.  They told me she was found on the floor but was fine.  That’s what they told me the last time, then hours later she was at the ER with a horribly broken arm.  I did not think it would go any better this time.

Later, Janet, the sitter, called to tell me my mom’s fingers were swollen and turning black.  I knew what this meant.  She had fallen on the bad arm, it was swelling inside the cast with no where for that swelling to go.  I called her orthopedic doctor and was told to go to the ER, have them remove the cast, x-ray it, then put a splint on it.  We were out to dinner, but hurried home.  Ally arranged for her in-laws to come pick up her kids, so she could go with me.  Lauren stayed to do all the horse chores.

Thank God Ally went with me!  From weeks in the wheelchair, mom was weak, feeble  and not to mean, it was a little like trying to load a dolphin into a sub-compact car.  A dolphin with a severely broken fin.  It took two of us to lift, maneuver and slide her into the car.  I could not have done it myself.

Once we got to the hospital, everything took a long time.  One year ago almost to the day, Ally and I had been in precisely the same hospital room as she waited to be treated for her broken elbow, gained when she fell from my hay trailer.  The memories were not good.  By the time the doc came in, my mother’s flesh was ballooning out of the cast and her fingers were turning black.  He told us if we had not brought her tonight, she could have lost her fingers as the swelling cut off the circulation to hand.

Since it was Ally and I with my mom at the ER, absurd things happened.  First, two hours into our visit, the doctor came in to tell us they did not have a cast cutter.  Really? I had visions of having to drive mom all the way back to Houston and start the whole ER wait over.  A while later, the doctor came back with a model of a cast cutter I believe I last saw in use in 1975.

Attempting to cut the cast off.

Attempting to cut the cast off.  Enlarge this picture and look at her fingers!  The nursing home told me she was fine, her hand was not hurt, she could wiggle her fingers.  They had no idea what was happening with the horrendous swelling.

Mom was in x-ray forever.  It was late now, both Ally and I were tired.  We got a little nutty. Once mom came back from radiology, she fell into a deep sleep.  Ally and I meant no disrespect, we love momma dearly, but in the late hours we took a selfie with momma as she slept on obliviously.

What can I say? It was late.

What can I say? It was late.

There were not any new fractures which was good.  Now, it was time to put on a new, looser splint until we could go back to the orthopedic doc and get a new cast.  We waited and waited some more.  The nurse came in to tell us they did not have enough gauze so someone was running to Wal-mart to get some.  When we told this to Luke, Ally’s husband he was stunned.  What if they had a gun shot wound or something?  Well, I guess the store is open and close by so it would be okay.

Multiple times I offered to get her old cast out of the trash and just duct tape it back on.  It would have been fine, plenty of support and we could tape it loosely so the swelling want an issue.  They laughed at me but I was totally serious.

The nurse brought two other nurses in to watch him put the splint on.  I sure would not have.  After years of working with orthopedic surgeons I would say it was the worst wrap job I had seen.  The first layer of gauze looked like toilet paper wrapped around branch from a drunken night of TPing the neighbor’s house.  I hoped it would be okay until we got to the doctor this week.

We got her back to the nursing home after midnight.  One of her favorite sitters was there to be sure she stayed safe all night.  Problem is, I don’t know what to do now.  Clearly, this place is not keeping her safe and we cannot afford round the clock sitters on top of her other fees.  A nursing home is twice the cost of an assisted living place.

My mom will be 90 on Wednesday.  It will pass in fear, pain and bewilderment. What a horrible ending for such a vibrant, God loving woman.  My soul is sad!


Hearts, Pink and Back in the Saddle

The ortho tech asked asked my daughters, how many granddaughters in total did Nanny have, when the replied three, he made three hearts one for Amber, Ally and Lauren!

The ortho tech asked my daughters, how many granddaughters in total did Nanny have, when they  replied three, he made three hearts one for Amber, Ally and Lauren!

The elbow is still horribly swollen, but improving.

The elbow is still horribly swollen, but improving.

I was tied up at work when momma’s next appointment rolled around.  My daughters are uncomfortable taking their Nanny places, especially now with bones already broken, but they teamed up to help me out.

Nanny was pretty sleepy, her pain pills fast at work for what we figured would be a painful experience.  But momma brightened up immediately when the nice, good-looking Dr. Rivers stepped into the room.  She got a big smile on her face.  First thing to do was to get the old splint off and see how her swelling was.

Then the tech got busy shaping the new cast.  Momma was stoic and brave through it all.  Can you imagine a displaced, ground up elbow being moved around at all?  I would be nuts.



What a trooper!  She has loved the many cards she has received. Thank you all for being so kind!  It is like a big pink wall of cheer in her room.   By Thursday she was getting used to the cast and getting a little happy buzz from the codeine.   She walked with her sitter all around the building enjoying some fine Houston weather.  When I walked in, she recognized me immediately.  ” hi, hon,” she said to me,  “you look nice. Did you wear that to work today? “. Maybe someone should study narcotics and dementia because that is the sharpest she has been five years.  It was nice to have her back if only for a few minutes.

Back to showing tomorrow!

Back to showing tomorrow!

Lauren and Feather have been out of the show ring for over ninety days, combatting her injuries and giving them time to heal.  It will be jumping right into the fire with shows this week and next.  Neither is as solid as they should be but we won’t push, won’t do too many rounds and hope to put our winning streak back together.

As I lay on my bed, I hear Mickey, Snow and Bruno fruitlessly calling for Feather to come home.  Lauren and I are going to look at some mares in the morning.  Maybe Feather will not be the only girl in town much longer.

Thanks for riding along!



Life is an interesting thing.  I wrote the post about my mother’s bad news and so many of you, some dear friends, some blog friends I have never met or even know your real names and even some dear old friends that time and circumstance had taken from my life, rallied in positive thoughts, prayers and well wishes for my dear mother.  I had contacted Elsie from Christ Church in Denver, my mother’s church home for so many years, and they got the prayer chain going for my mom as well.

I was still devastated by the thought of surgery.  I spent some time researching what a total elbow replacement would mean (days in the hospital and months of rehab) and as I drove the many miles from Houston to Wharton to pick up my mom and back again to the elbow specialist, I tried to brace myself for the news.  I knew I could not keep making the trips up and down the highway ( another 200 miles today) and stay in good graces at work.  I decided Ally, Lauren and I would just have to trade-off.

All the way to the doctor as my old car bounced along the highway and my mother grimaced in pain, I repeated my apologies to her.  When the young, nice looking doctor  with a gold cross around his neck entered the exam room, his smile made my mom smile in return.

He laid out all the surgical options.  Essentially, if you bend your arm and feel that little point of your elbow, well, that is what she crushed.  Because of where she broke the bone off, the is very little bone to attach a replacement or pins to, and her bone quality is so poor it is unlikely it would ever heal right even if casted for months.

His next alternative had me saying Thank you, God, before he was done. His recommendation was to cast her arm and just let it heal.  No, the dislocated bone would not be corrected.  And the pieces of bone would stay in her arm.  But she is right-handed, she is not doing any real strenuous activities and it would keep her out of the operating room.  At almost 90 years of age it was the best we could hope for!  When they unwrapped her splint, I learned a bit about courage and bravery from my petite momma. She held my hand, gritted her teeth and stayed still as they rewrapped her arm.  Her elbow was the size of a baseball.  In a week, we will return.  Hopefully, the swelling will be down and momma will get a pink cast!

I am so grateful to all of you that thought of her and helped her along.  Prayers were definitely answered. I cannot express what it means to me to not have her facing surgery.  Thank you.  Thank God!


Barn cat JP getting to know the new farm.

Barn cat JP getting to know the new farm.