When I awakened yesterday morning, I felt worse rather than better. Falling is like that. You suddenly feel every bone in your body, and they all seem to ache. However, because it was just "physical pain" rather than psychic pain, I was able to take a few aspirin and go on with my day.
After I showered, I took Jack for a long walk, and stretching my muscles helped. I also had an old carpal tunnel bandage I put on my left hand, and it made my wrist feel better. I wore some sturdy walking shoes and laced them tight so that my ankle didn't hurt, and Jack and I explored our neighborhood.
When I returned home, I had a proposal to finish writing for a workshop I'm hoping to lead at a conference in the fall. And then I had to take photos for my digital photography class that met last night. I had my regular therapy session, dinner, and class for almost four hours.
As I'm writing this, it's late Monday night, I'm ready to read and go to bed, and I must say it was a wonderful day. Still, there is an underlying sadness that I've been feeling for two days, which started when I took a long bubble bath after my fall on Sunday. As I lay in the tub I thought about my mother's last few months of life.
When my son, and husband, and I were away for a few days, my mother fell out of her wheel chair, and broke her knee. While she went to the hospital twice, they never found the break (which was so incompetent that it is difficult to fathom). But when I returned from vacation, visited her and saw that her knee was the size of a grapefruit, I felt physically ill.
"Why didn't the nurse at the assisted living facility handle this?" I wanted to scream aloud. "How could my sister let this go when it was so obviously a medical emergency? What would have happened to my mother if I'd been gone for a week or two rather than just a few days? Why does my brother never feel responsible for my mother's welfare?"
The bottom line was that I immediately called an ambulance, and took my mother to a different hospital. Because they were short-staffed and my mother had dementia and needed me to stay with her, the attendant in the x-ray room let me stay with her and help. When we finished he showed me the x-ray, and my mother's knee wasn't just broken; it was sheered. She had to have been in such terrible pain that it was unimaginable.
The rest of the story is equally horrible. Neither my brother nor sister helped me as I had to find a doctor at the hospital who would treat my mother, and stay with her until they found a room for her, and so forth and so on. It's a long awful story that I can't forget.
On Sunday night as I felt my bubble bath lesson the physical pain in my body, I wished it could lessen the pain in my heart. For me, physical pain is nothing compared to the psychic pain of depression. But, to my mother, physical pain was a constant in the last years of her life. And the terrible treatment she received despite my best efforts still sickens me.
Perhaps some day, I will be able to forgive all those people--strangers and relatives--who did so little to help mother and me. But, I doubt it. I may be able to forgive them for treating me so badly, but I will never be able to forgive them for abandoning my mother in her time of need.
P.S. For those of you who are regular readers, you know that my mother died in October of 2007. For those who aren't, I guess I should have mentioned it in my original post.