And the answer is a wholehearted “yes.”
Quick summation of this past week:
1. Mom is home, and she was stoned out of her gourd on pain pills on her second day back.
2. My 81-year-old mother was stoned on pain pills.
So yeah, mom’s home now and that’s great. At first, the thought of this made me a nervous wreck, because after all, I was more than a little freaked out about a recurrence of any of the events of that last awful week. Thankfully, one of my friends made me realize that I was wasting time and energy worrying about things of which I have no control.
Besides, I know the signs now, so if mom gets sick again, I will know how to handle it better than I did before.
I think mom was nervous about coming home too. Though I’m grateful for the care she received, it’s very clear that the staff made it very easy for mom; too easy in fact. True, she had a couple of hours of physical therapy in the morning and a couple of hours of occupational therapy in the afternoon; mom was able to push a button and get what she wanted without having to get up and get it herself.
There are no buttons like that at home.
There is just me, and I can only do so much.
So we had a rough couple of days as we both readjusted to living under the same roof again. Mom no longer expects me to run when she calls, and I no longer expect her to stop calling me, even if I don’t run.
We’re an interesting pair.
So on to the reason for this blog; the day I called 9-1-1, because I wasn’t able to lift mom off the floor, one of the EMTs accidentally hurt her arm. I do not blame the EMT, because things like this often happen in emergencies. I remember when I was getting my certification for the Red Cross, the instructor told me that people frequently sustain broken ribs when EMTs administer CPR or do the Heimlich Maneuver. The reasoning being; that it’s better to accidentally receive a broken rib than to die.
So mom’s arm, well really her rotator cuff, were injured and she’s been in agony every since. The staff at the rehab center took her to get an x-ray, which showed that nothing was broken, but beyond that, they didn’t do much besides having her do occupational therapy for it and applying heat.
When mom broke her ankle in February, she was given a medication that increased the effectiveness of the pain meds she was on. The medication in question isn’t a pain pill, and isn’t addictive, but the idea of taking something that makes a pain pill stronger than usual, probably is.
She hadn’t taken that pill since she went to rehab three and one half weeks ago…yeah, you know what’s going to happen next.
So mom comes home, and all’s well until Tuesday, when the visiting nurse came. Mom was so groggy she could barely keep her eyes open. She seemed listless and just plain out of it. Obviously, the nurse and I were both concerned about this and repeatedly questioned her about how she was feeling.
In my frustration, I wondered out loud if mom hadn’t taken the pill I mentioned earlier. Mom insisted that wasn’t the case and continued to poo poo me, until the nurse, lord love her, said, “you know, I would prefer it if you would admit to taking the pill, because if you’re this groggy without taking it, then something’s very wrong.”
Mom’s response, a classic in the annals of passive aggressiveness; “Well I may have taken it.”
If you can imagine my head turning into an H-bomb and exploding, that pretty much pictures how I felt in that moment. I also felt relieved, because I knew that eventually the pill would wear off, and mom would return to being her lovely old troublemaking self.
Did my head just explode again?
And the pills, they are gone. Let the rats and sewer alligators get stoned on them. Mom’s druggy days are officially over.
“Bombhead,” archival pigmented inkjet, acrylic paint on paper, by Bruce Conner