Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weebles Wobble

If I plan to visit the Weebles for the sake of a visit and not a trip to Market Basket or a ride on the Tunerville Trolley, I keep them on a need to know basis. If I decide not to go or something comes up, dealing with their disappointment is like dealing with toddlers. There’s a lot of whining. It’s easier to call them last minute to ask if they want some company.

I was planning such a visit one Sunday. I thought I’d drop in for tea, run some diagnostics on Dad’s computer, and have a nice visit. That Sunday morning I debated. Would they behave? I wasn’t sure I was up to watching another round in the Weeble Weight Division. Still it wouldn’t hurt to score some brownie points. I’d take the Young One along and she’d be the favorite grandchild du jour. So after lunch, I made the phone call.


“How would you like some company this afternoon?”

“Yeah, I think you’d better come.” Dad’s voice sounded strained.

“What’s the matter?”

“Ma fell.”

“Ok, I’ll be there in an hour.”

I grabbed the Young One. We stopped for gas and a box of donuts. I wasn’t worried that Ma fell. She falls at least a couple of times a month. It’s like that little jingle. Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.

When we got to the Weeble’s house, Ma was sitting at the kitchen table. She was still wearing her housecoat, and Dad was wearing his usual hang dog expression.

“How are you?” I put the box of donuts on the counter.

“I fell. See?”

The ball of her thumb was swollen to the size of a softball.

“I can’t move my shoulder.”

“That’s not normal. Let’s get you dressed, and take a trip to the emergency room.”

There was no protest. None of the usual hemming or hawing. I helped Ma get dressed. We found the “pockabook”, went on the treasure hunt for the checkbook, and made sure the insurance cards were in the zippered section of her wallet. Off we went to the hospital.

I pulled up to the emergency circle and stopped the car. Dad was halfway to the ER entrance. “Hey!” I yelled. “Get a wheelchair for her.”

It must have looked like a Three Stooges routine getting Ma into the wheelchair.

“Move the leg rest out of the way.”

“Put your feet on the metal plates.”

“Her legs are too short, she can’t reach the metal plates. They have to be adjusted.”

After much pushing and pulling levers, Ma was in the chair. Dad was halfway to the ER entrance. “Hey!” I yelled. “Take her with you!” He looked at me with a puzzled expression. “I can’t leave the car in the emergency circle. I have to move it. Take her in and get her registered.”

With Ma’s handicap placard, I was able to get a handicap space a few steps away from the emergency circle. A nice perc. When I got to registration, Ma was still going through the process. It seems a new system was installed and the receptionist wasn’t familiar with the procedure. After fifteen minutes, Ma was registered and we sat in the lobby waiting for her to be called. Fortunately, or so it seemed, the ER was quiet. After a few minutes of waiting, the triage nurse took Ma to an examination room.

“How did you fall, dear?”

“He went to church, and I had to prepare the meal…” and then Ma launched into the “He’s Stupid” song. “No one does anything for me.”

“You didn’t walk to the emergency room.” I think I said that aloud.

After an hour, the attending physician ordered an x-ray. Ma was wheeled away and Dad and I were told to wait in the lobby. Where we waited and waited.

“So, Dad, when did she fall?”

“Oh, this morning.”

“And if I didn’t show up what were you going to do?”

He just looked at me.

“Next time, you call 9-1-1.”

“But she’s fallen before. Like the time I found her on her hands and knees in the closet…”

“Yes, and you should have called 9-1-1 then. She could have had a diabetic episode or another stroke.”

“I was able to get her up.”

Some days it just doesn’t pay to chew through the straps.

The emergency room started filling up, and as the Young One observed, people who came in after Grandma were going home. Dad had found an old crony whose wife was also in the emergency room so they kept each other company. I went to find out what was taking so long.

One of the nurses directed me to the examination room. Ma had her x-ray and had been brought back. Her arm was propped on a pillow. She was wearing a sling and had an ice pack. A blanket was draped around her shoulders and she had nodded off. I waited a while longer and then went back to the ER desk to talk to the attending. She was busy dictating charts. Gave me a wait a minute sign. It was more like ten minutes.

“I have your mother’s x-ray.”

“Good may I see them?”

We went to a light box and the image of Ma’s hand floated on the screen.

“She’s fractured her wrist. We’ll put her in a splint.” As she said this, another nurse wheeled Ma into a room on the other side of the ER desk. I followed along and watched as Ma’s hand was wrapped in a temporary cast and aced bandaged. Ma was wheeled back to the examination room to wait to be discharged. By now the emergency room was hopping. Some poor soul was put in the room across from Ma’s. He was either on drugs or intoxicated or both. He was yelling and screaming. A security guard was sitting outside the door. Dad wandered over to the security guard for some male company and a chat.

“God bless you,” I mouthed to the security guard.

“Aw, he’s cute.”

“You can have him on a BOGO.”

He laughed.

After more waiting, I went in search of the attending.

“What’s going on here? We’ve been waiting four and a half hours for a broken wrist. Are you finished with her?”

The attending became quite indignant. “I’ve been busy. I want to evaluate your mother. I don’t think she should go home. She’s not steady on her feet and the cast with throw her off balance.”

“Then evaluate her!”

I swear sometime physicians see the old people, figure they have nothing better to do and so they are kept waiting.

The attending didn’t care for my attitude. I didn’t care for hers.

As I knew, Ma was going to have no part of spending a day or two in the hospital. The doctor had a cane sent up and Ma showed her she could manage quite well without assistance because no one does anything for her thank you very much.

Now, the attending might have convinced Ma to stay if Dad hadn’t been drumming into her each time she fell that she would be put into a nursing home.

Finally, the discharge papers were printed, Dad signed Ma out while I brought the car around the front.

And the real reason Ma wouldn’t stay overnight?

“I’m getting $2M and I have to sign the check and get it in the mail.”


Nutterone said...

I'm glad it wasn't worse, but I don't think ma's going to do well with one hand?????

CJ said...

Are you kidding, Nutter? She wedged a pen into the cast to sign her checks!

Erica Vetsch said...

LOL, you me and one other person, we can forget the BOGO and go with the "With six you get eggroll!"