To have a place to talk about food, food follies, recipes, garden lore, historical garden & food lore, climate & weather, natural selection, food selection, building health and so on. To skewer the silly, serve up the savory and garnish with gleanings from the news. To flame, to flesh out the facts, to farm the fun, to portion out the passion and perfect the presentation.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

True Scary Story: Elsie's decision

Elsie had been a pretty good runner as a girl, a normally active adult, and a somewhat sedentary senior. She got around fine, she just wasn't terribly interested in vigorous physical activity. She lived in a small apartment in an independent-living senior community, where most days she went down for meals and to visit with her friends. If she took a walk from time to time, it was not with any regularity.

One Sunday afternoon, as she was working her way through the crossword puzzle, the phone rang. She jumped up and slid on the stack of glossy ads she was planning to discard and had left on the floor. Her foot went out from under her and she landed on her knee. Something gave way and she collapsed to the floor in serious pain.

Her daughter, the caller, arrived to see why her mother hadn't answered the phone, and Elsie was rescued.

She spent some time in the hospital, where it was determined her knee should be replaced. She underwent the surgery, but really hated the physical therapy, even though the therapist came to her apartment to help her with the exercises.

Then she developed an infection in the knee. Round after round of antibiotics couldn't erase it because the bacteria were hiding in the artificial knee where her immune system couldn't reach. There was talk of taking out the new knee and replacing it with a 'clean' one. But after many days of being drenched with IV antibiotics, she showed signs of improvement and was able to go home.

By this time she had been immobile for weeks, and virtually immobile since the time of the accident a few months before. She could no longer make it to the bathroom on her own or with a walker, so she started using a wheelchair.

Once again she tolerated the visits of her physical therapist but wouldn't do the exercises on her own. She spent her days in the wheelchair. At first she went to the dining room by wheeling herself to the elevator. Once on the first floor, someone was always willing to push her to the dining room. But since she didn't feel good about wheeling herself about, she started taking her meals in her room and never went out on her own. Only occasionally did she accept invitations to her daughter's house for a couple of hours' visit.

The senior community was not equipped for long-term stays by non-mobile residents, so she had to leave her lovely setting and ended up in an assisted-living facility. She had her own room off a corridor with other residents and access to help whenever she needed to be pushed to the bathroom.

Elsie never walked again. A simple accident that resulted in a knee replacement began a gradual loss of mobility. Her decisions along the way ended up condemning her to years of dependency in a wheelchair that she had little ability to move on her own.

Oddly enough, though she lived to 90, some 15 years after her accident, she never seemed to mind the loss of her mobility. So this is not an entirely sad story. But it's scary. How easily mobility can be lost!

No comments:

Post a Comment

We'd all love to know what you're thinking about the content of this post. Please leave a comment!