My mom fell in my grandmother’s carport and broke her hip three weeks ago. She waited almost a week to go get it x-rayed thinking she was just badly bruised. (We’re some tough women!) When the doctor discovered she’d broken her femur just below the ball of the hip joint, he immediately admitted her to the hospital where she had partial hip replacement the next day.
Since it was a partial replacement, Momma was able to fully bear weight the day after the surgery. But until she sees the doctor again, she has to use a walker to make sure she doesn’t fall; and she can’t bend at the waist more than 90 degrees in relation to the front of her thighs to keep her hip from popping out of the socket.
When she went home from the hospital last week, I stayed with her to take care of everything around the house and to keep an eye on her lest somebody find her standing on a chair with her one good leg, trying to change a lightbulb.
This is the third time I’ve stayed with my mom after surgery and we’re a good team. She tells me what to do and I do it.
The problem is that my 93-year-old grandmother lives just around the corner and she wants to help too. She wants to come over and bring food and take care of the cats. That’s fine and very understandable. Even when you’re 77, your mommy still loves you and wants to take care of you. That’s good news! But the bad news is, sometimes Grandmother makes questionable decisions that worry us and can make things harder instead of easier.
Now don’t misunderstand. My grandmother is probably the most hearty 93-year-old you’ll ever meet. We find her out in her yard regularly digging holes during a rainstorm or watering trees in 100 degree weather or sweeping the endless pinestraw off her driveway in the freezing cold.
They had a walking race at the Douglas County senior citizens picnic a couple of years ago and she was PISSED that she finished second. Rock on, Grandmother!
Since she’s not allowed to drive any more, and because she likes to get her exercise, she’ll just walk down the side of the road and around the corner to my mom’s house. And none of us think twice about it.
But apparently people driving past do.
My mom and I were sitting in the den last week when a huge gray Chevy dually pickup with chrome exhaust stacks pulled up to the house. We had no idea who it was. They parked and my tiny little grandmother hopped down the two feet out of the backseat carrying her grocery bags full of ice cream and tuna and biscuits and Edwards chocolate pie. The people who lived down the road from her had seen her walking down the road and picked her up. They were nice folks and turns out the woman and her daughter were from a family we’d known from way back. We thanked them profusely and shook our heads and just laughed.
A few hours later after lunch and visiting, Grandmother headed back home.
About 15 minutes later, my cellphone rang and it was my brother who lives across the street from Grandmother. “Where’s Grandmother?” he asked urgently.
“She just left here to walk home,” I said.
“Well there’s a beat up gray car in her driveway,” he said. “But I see her getting out of it now. I thought somebody was trying to break in her house, but I guess somebody just picked her up and brought her home!” And we sighed and shook our heads. I mean, really, there’s nothing you can do to change her.
But since my mom won’t stop trying, she called and lectured her about riding with strangers. She told Grandmother someone was going to kidnap her and carry her off. And Grandmother agreed (yeah, right) to not get in the car with people she doesn’t know anymore.
But I started thinking about the poor people who’d try to kidnap my grandmother, and this is how I imagine it going down. Bless their hearts.
They’d pick her up walking down the road to take her to her house, but then they’d want to rob her. But they’d have to yell really loud about ten times to let her know their intent because she’s stone-cold deaf! “Let us in your house! This is a stick up!” “What?” “LET US IN YOUR HOUSE! THIS IS A STICK UP!” “What?” “LET US IN YOUR HOUSE!!! THIS IS A STICK UP!!!” “You want to come in and hang my new pictures up? What sweet boys!”
So now they think this is going to be a cake walk. “My God!” they think. “She’s just going to welcome us right in!”
But then she can’t get the garage door open. “This keypad hasn’t worked right in months! Do you think you could fix it for me while you’re here? That would be so nice of you! I’ve got the garage door opener here in my pocketbook somewhere. Would you boys like a butterscotch? Here, hold this used Kleenex and this paperback book and this lipstick while I look for that opener. The keypad hasn’t worked right in months! Do you think you could fix it for me while you’re here? SUCH sweet boys!”
They’re starting to have second thoughts, but they know they’re getting really close.
Grandmother finally opens the garage door and unlocks the back door to go in the house. But an alarm starts blaring. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!! She’s flustered and anxious and getting a little panicky. “Boys! There’s something beeping, but I can’t figure out what it is. Can you look and figure out what it is? BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!! Maybe it’s my carbon monoxide detector. Could it be my answering machine??? Is it my oven timer? BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!! Did I go off and leave the oven on???? BOYS! I CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHAT’S BEEPING! CAN YOU FIX IT??? And can you figure out how to reset my thermostat? It’s one of these fancy adjustable ones and I can’t figure out how it works. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!! And can you help me move this furniture out onto the screen porch? And would you flip my mattress….”
They know this is not the woman they want.
They flee out the back door, right into the arms of the waiting Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy who was summoned by the burglar alarm she still hasn’t figured out how to turn off. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!
She doesn’t even realize those men had any ill intent. The officer resets her alarm. Grandmother thanks him for turning off the beeping, bemoans technology, follows him out to his car and asks him if he’d like a Coke – which has an expiration date of 2006. He politely declines and carefully backs his cruiser out of the driveway and back onto the street.
Relieved to finally be alone, and relishing the peace and quiet, she goes back into the house, changes into her outside clothes and heads out to the backyard. As she hacks at the kuzdu with a slingblade, she smiles, and thinks to herself, “Such nice boys! Such nice boys!”