6:00 a.m., December 31st – Friday morning

I am leaving in a moment.

I was looking forward to playing tennis once the weather let up. It had been two weeks since I’d played and I was invited to play mixed doubles. Hitting at men players definitely allowed me to swing harder!

But it wasn’t meant to be.

Yesterday, I received a call in the afternoon. My mother attempted to walk unassisted and fell.

Initially, I was told she had some bad scrapes and a black eye. However, due to the fact that she hit her head, she was taken to the hospital to be checked.

I talked to her on the phone and she said, “Honey, I feel okay! I am fine – really. I don’t even feel any pain!”

That was reassuring.

However, being in the emergency room last night – well, I’m not even going to write about it.

The last day of 2010 has started to feel like it did in 2009.

Today decisions need to be made. It looks like my mother has a broken hip. Last night, I was told without surgery, life expectancy is usually only about six months. However, I can’t even imagine my mother tolerating a further surgery.

I’m leaving now. I can do this. I just wish I could hit something right now.

2:00 p.m., December 31st – Friday afternoon

On Dec 31, 2010, Steve wrote:

Have you talked to Sam about your Mom’s condition and gotten his advice?

Regards, Steve

I just got off the phone with him. It’s such a horrible situation.

I really don’t know what to do.

Without surgery, they expect her to die rather quickly – perhaps within a week. I was told that most patients don’t live six months with a broken hip.

However, her caregiver knows of three people at her facility. They walk with walkers and didn’t have surgery when they broke their hip – so that doesn’t jive.

The surgeon was in a big rush – and told me I had half an hour to decide. She didn’t get clearance anyway due to her heart. However, if I gave the go ahead, a cardiologist would step in to be more quickly involved.

My gut feeling after talking with my mom is that she doesn’t want to go through it. She’s tired of fighting and the dementia has ruined her quality of life. She made me cry when she said, “I don’t want to be a burden to you!”

She also said, “I’ve been sick a lot and I’m tired. I know you’ll be okay and do what is best for me.”

Steve, I don’t think she’d survive the surgery and rehab – that’s my gut feeling. It’s kind of like chemo on a terminal cancer patient. Should we make her suffer to extend her life? That is the question.

The worst part is that because of the holiday, no one is available to do the surgery now anyway until Monday – even if I changed my mind, it would have to wait. That makes it even more risky.

My father is adamantly against her having surgery. I spoke with my cousin whose a doctor, Joseph, and he agreed with my concerns – that was helpful for me to make my decision initially.

So here’s what Sam and I spoke about. And by the way, I am so fortunate to have such a new and caring friend in my life. He listened to all my concerns and knew where it was coming from; based on my horrible, hospital experiences. He said, “Judy, you’re not a medical professional and you should follow what the doctors say because they know the risks. I have never seen a patient survive without hip surgery for a fracture. Your mom is a “like a child” and doesn’t know any better. She definitely could have more quality years left and it’s worth the risk of the surgery.”

I’m willing to reconsider – if given more information. There’s so much to absorb and not enough time!

I’m leaving to go back to the hospital now. I plan to find out more about whether the pacemaker can still be done. I think I need to speak with a cardiologist anyway about the current condition of her heart.

But here’s a moment to remember:

I put my iPod on her while she was in a lot of pain. She was squirming and moaning, but suddenly she stopped. She became peaceful and smiled while listening to my songs. She might have even heard the song I wrote for her, Memory of Love.

I wanted to tell her about it, but decided to let her just listen. It would be too sad. The fact that she was comforted by my music gave me such joy.

I couldn’t hear the music, but I could feel it by watching her.


© Judy Unger and 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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