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Aug. 6, 2014, Port Severn, Ont. – Have you ever found yourself pleasantly surprised to realize that your life is actually going really well, and that everything seems to be falling into place? That all of your hard work is paying off and you are able to pause long enough to enjoy the fruits of your labour?

August 7, 2014
By Jennifer Grigg

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Aug. 6, 2014, Port Severn, Ont. – Have you ever found yourself pleasantly surprised to realize that your life is actually going really well, and that everything seems to be falling into place? That all of your hard work is paying off and you are able to pause long enough to enjoy the fruits of your labour?

In my case, we’d worked all summer on our house and almost completed our two new decks (one of which was a huge undertaking because it runs the length of our house and hadn’t been built to code by the previous owners). We had holidays starting on the Friday after the long weekend, and our family of five (including my 80-year-old mom) were all excited about our trip to Alberta to see family.

I was sitting in the sun in my PJs on the front deck on holiday Monday and enjoying a cup of coffee as Earl was just about to start cooking my favourite breakfast – blueberry pancakes, lost in thought about how happy I was and how nice it is to be able to just totally r-e-l-a-x.

That is, until I happened to check my phone and see a text from my sister.

“I just called the ambulance for Mom. She fell at my house and may have broken her hip.”

“We gotta go!” I yelled as I came barrelling in the front door.

In a flurry similar to that of being woken up by the pager in the middle of the night, I quickly got dressed and we headed into town. I felt like I was in a fog. I sent message after message to my sister. Where did she fall? Is the ambulance there yet? Do we meet you at the hospital?

I wondered what the chances were that my 80-year-old mom with osteoporosis didn’t just break her hip.

After what seemed like hours, it was finally confirmed by X-ray that Mom had broken her hip. We were really hoping that it may have just been dislocated and that we might still be able to go to Alberta. Mom would require surgery, but she would have to be sent to another hospital to have the operation done by an orthopedic surgeon. However, because she was on blood thinners, they wouldn’t be able to operate until she had been off them for a couple of days.

To make matters worse, Mom had a reaction to the morphine they’d given her for the pain and was very dizzy, and then very sick. The ER nurse managed to find something else for the pain that Mom seemed to tolerate better, but when she was moved into her own room on another floor (with a new nurse), she was given morphine again for the pain, even after she said that she couldn’t take it. The poor thing was sick all over again.

I was sunk. I felt so bad for Mom. At 80, this was her first broken bone, and it wasn’t going to be fixed right away.

I felt bad for my kids because they were so excited about the trip, but I also knew we couldn’t go without Mom. I felt bad about everything.

I also realized that we hadn’t gotten cancellation insurance on the flights.

Fortunately, we were able to explain the situation to the company through which we purchased the flights, and we’ve been given a time frame in which we’re permitted to rebook. Supremely thankful for that! We also had to cancel our dogs’ stay at the kennel without having to pay for the full booking at such late notice, given our circumstances. Very grateful for the kindness of those two companies.

It has been a struggle to maintain my equilibrium during the past few days. Many unknowns, many what-ifs and several fearful moments. However, when many of my coworkers heard the news, they sent texts and well wishes. We were lucky to reschedule our flights and the kennel for the dogs. So there’s good in the bad. I’m sure we can still do something fun on our holidays with the kids, but stay close enough to be near Mom.

I wrote this on Wednesday and Mom was still waiting for her operation. She was transferred to the other hospital Wednesday afternoon, so at least she’s gotten that far.

It has been an enlightening experience being on the other side of patient care. I am very grateful for the compassion and care that Mom been shown and I especially appreciate those who treat her as if she were their own family member.

And I know whenever I’m doing patient care, I’ll will be sure to treat the patients as if they were members of my own family, because they aren’t just patients, they are someone’s loved ones.

Jennifer Mabee-Grigg has been a volunteer with the Township of Georgian Bay Fire Department in Ontario since 1997. E-mail her at jhook0312@yahoo.ca and follow her on Twitter at @jenmabee


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