Monday I arrived home to find my mother on the floor. She just looked up at me. “I can’t get up” she said in a very small voice. I had no idea how long she had been there. I had been out for three hours.
She looked well despite being on the floor. I gently checked her out to see if anything was causing her pain. I tried to help her get up but she could not get herself up onto her knees to use the chair and I was unsure whether we may be causing more harm.
Despite her protests I dialled 999. The paramedic arrived very quickly and did an excellent job of ascertaining my mother’s situation and her current memory and confusion issues. He physically assessed her and she was deemed fit if a little bit out of sorts by the fall.
We helped her up onto a chair together and suddenly my mother was back. She was asking why the “doctor” had been called. She had no clear memory of events.
Despite the paramedic really wanting her to go to hospital my mother refused. I was happy with this and could not see why waiting in a draughty A & E department was going to help things. She clearly had not broken anything and was able to walk and go upstairs. I suspected aching and bruising might be her only after effects of her fall.
For me this was an interesting challenging point in our relationship. Yes, I was her daughter, her carer, but I changed into the emergency nurse at the sight of her on the floor. I went through the motions of immediate first aid and contacting help. I advised my family of the incident and watched my mother like a hawk all evening.
I went into professional mode and still have not quite got out of it. I have now gone on twenty-four hour call out. I am not sure I can do that for very long without burning out myself. But I don’t want to leave her. I know her and can help her navigate the health care system. I know she can be rude and outspoken which might not go down well with other professional carers.
But I am aware I need to care for me. Not sure how to do that. But something has changed.
Today my mum is aching. “Why does my hip hurt” she asks. She has no memory of the fall.