Thursday, December 15, 2011

Granny's Fall

I've written here about my granddaddy. It seems the appropriate place. Much of my knowledge and love of the natural world comes from him.

But I'm even closer to my Granny. She's my sounding board, my mentor, my spiritual guide.

One of the scariest things this fall was that we almost lost her.

Granny, who is 86, lives alone in the house she and my grandfather built over fifty years ago. She's independent and feisty and is the matriarch of our family. Every Wednesday, she sends an email inviting her children and grandchildren to Thursday night dinner.  The regular crew numbers 10-12 and she makes us a wonderful, home style meal.

Gran is aware of her limitations.  She doesn't drive far beyond her small town and she keeps her cell phone in her pants pocket.

On the morning of September 23, Granny checked her email. She got up from the computer desk and remembered she left her cell phone on her bedside table. She retrieved it and put it in her pocket. On her way back through the hall, she realized she left the desk lamp on beside the computer. She pivoted in the hallway and BOOM!

She caught her toe on the area rug in the hall, crashed into the wall and went down hard on the floor. It took her a few minutes to straighten herself out and she realized immediately she was seriously hurt. She was somehow able to call 911 and when the ambulance arrived, talk the medics through the house.

She called me at work from the hospital. I didn't receive her initial call and the voice mail she left went something like this:
Hello, Amy. This is Granny. I fell down and hurt my hip. I'm at the hospital in Annapolis. I don't want anyone to leave work, they're taking good care of me. Please call Evan [my cousin]. He was supposed to come for lunch. Tell him to take the ham in the refrigerator home and turn off the coffee pot.
I immediately left work for the hospital and called the rest of our family on my way.

The break was a bad one, diagonally across her upper femur.  She was going to need surgery to fix it. Because she already had a rod in her leg from an earlier knee replacement, Annapolis couldn't help her. They transferred her to University of Maryland Shock Trauma in Baltimore. The surgeons in Baltimore continued the surgery debate. They could technically do the surgery, but they were afraid Granny wouldn't survive it.  They pointed to her age and a quirky heart.  The alternative was that she'd never walk again.

Granny signed off on the surgery, but also made it clear she had a DNR. No interventions. The doctors made it clear we should say our goodbyes before surgery.

She came through with flying colors. The recovery nurse said she was doing better than most 26 year olds who had the same surgery.

A day later, we nearly lost her again to a bad reaction to a blood transfusion. The family was called, but by the time I got to the hospital, she was sitting up and chatting with the doctor.

Five days after the fall, Granny started the long journey through rehab.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, she came home.

Tonight, we'll be eating our Thursday dinner with her.


  1. Dangit Amy, you need to mark some of these NSFW. <3

  2. Love you, Bretty.

    And don't worry. Tomorrow's is funny.