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My grandmother fell and broke her hip - and I'm venting

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hurtbs posted 1/10/2014 19:46 PM

I got a text from my father two days ago that my 93 years old grandmother fell and broke her hip. My dad's family is ridiculously passive-aggressive and suffers from incredible denial. A woman her age with a broken hip... worst case scenario is that she dies, best case scenario is that she is will be reliant on full-time care. She struggled to get around before this - used a walker, needed help getting up, etc. She also has age-related dementia.

People get annoyed when I ask for an update, "How is grandma doing today?" I get snippy responses like "No news is good news." and am told things like, "Oh, she'll be fine. She has surgery scheduled, a month of rehab, and then she'll be back."

Ummm... how do you expect a woman who didn't have muscle mass and has osteoporosis to begin with be able to engage in intense rehab to fully recover from a broken hip? How do you expect her to do physical therapy when it's excruciatingly painful and she can't remember a) why she's in pain, and b) what exercises she must do, and c) why should put herself in extreme pain to do them.

I'm not looking at making any health care decisions for her (it's their mother, not mine). I just would love to get a periodic text (maybe once a day) - "grandma recovery going okay" Is that a ridiculous request? I'm also really pissed about my dad's family that seems to be too focused on blaming one antoehr for her fall (why weren't aunt/uncle she lives with at home?, why won't they consider putting her in a home? - but god forbid they talk to one another about that shit) and their denial that she's fucking 93 and does need 24 hour care and that this is actually a really serious condition?

Grandma lives 3K miles away from me, so it's not like I can even go visit on a whim. I am taking a business trip to that state at the end of the month so I've extended my layover a couple of days in the hopes that I can see her. I'm also quietly (and without support from family) preparing for the very stark reality that grandma may very well be gone soon because of this. Again, she's 93. It's not unexpected, health declines, she's outlived her husband and all of her siblings and nearly all of her friends. She's had a good life, perhaps we shoudl focus on making the end of it as good as possible? I don't know.

Anyway, I'm just venting. Pissed... Sad... Annoyed... everything.

[This message edited by hurtbs at 7:48 PM, January 10th (Friday)]

metamorphisis posted 1/10/2014 20:12 PM


Guess where I am right now? At my 86 year old grandmas house.
She fell a few weeks before Christmas and lived on her own. So she lay on the floor and couldn't get up. My dad calls her every morning at 6 and when she wasn't answering the phone (he called and called) they sent someone over and she was taken to hospital. When she was released she came down to my parents place for the holidays. While in the hospital they found a large mass on her lung. She does not want a diagnosis, biopsy or any treatment. She has had breast cancer twice and it's her right to decide what she wants and doesn't want so we respected that.
My family and I made up a schedule and there are a lot of us, so she's covered 24 hours a day. She's doing ok right now but tired and sore from another fall. She doesn't feel dizzy or have any warning when she's about to fall, she just loses feeling in her legs and goes down.
You might have to make a bit of a stink here hun. Just to push them out of their denial. She needs an advocate and someone to say "Umm.. this woman can NOT live on her own here people.. wake up!". However, no matter how much denial they are in, I found the hospital to be extremely proactive. They set us up with palliative care and seniors services. My grandma has a personal support worker and an RN assigned to her and home services etc.
This was set up by the hospital. I don't think they will discharge your grandma without a plan, and I don't think they will allow your family to be in denial because they will be pretty matter of fact about what is happening.
And then there's all the feelings right? I am right there with you. Right there. Because you know if I see someone not hold a door for a senior this week I might punch them in the face. And I have big fat tears in my eyes writing this post. So lets just cry ok? And realize how much all of this sucks. And let's love the heck out of our grandmas. Go for your visit and hug her and tell her how much you love her. It's what we can do.

caregiver9000 posted 1/10/2014 20:17 PM



Group hug. I have tears too...

hurtbs posted 1/10/2014 20:36 PM

Thanks meta & caregiver - she actually lives with my aunt/uncle, but they have their own lives so she spends time alone. They won't have a care worker in their home.

Then there is the dementia. She doesn't have Alzheimer's. It's more "extreme forgetfulness." She knows who I am, but doesn't remember that I was married or that my brother is married and has a child. She can just kind of "identify" us. However, she absolutely cannot make her own medical decisions (unlike your grandmother).

I hope that you're right about the hospital. I'm also just pissed that no one will keep me informed. Again, I'm not asking for updates every hour on the hour. However, I don't think a once a day text asking "how is grandma" is somehow out of line and gets a snarky response. Ughh.

I'll see her (hopefully) in two weeks. I let two bosses know what was going on - just that she is very old and broke her hip. Let me tell you, no one at my job is going "Oh, she'll be up again in no time." They both told me that if I need to take off for a day or two to go. They basically look at me as though a sword of damocles is hanging over my had.


The other frustrating part is that this isn't even a financial decision. She has Medicare and supplemental insurance as well as a nice nest egg to help other coverage. She can afford this. However, the "grown ups" making the decisions are fucking nickel and diming. I don't even think it's the inheritance, I think they're going "Oh, she's got to live for another 30 years on this money."

[This message edited by hurtbs at 8:36 PM, January 10th (Friday)]

metamorphisis posted 1/10/2014 20:38 PM

Shake their shit up. They don't want to think about it so they get snippy when you ask. Oh well. I agree with you.. you are going to have to push to get info and that sucks.

caregiver9000 posted 1/10/2014 20:47 PM

I suspect that you are getting snark as a "guilt" response? They don't know because they haven't checked. They are compartmentalizing to avoid pain and you keep bringing it up? It is not unreasonable to inquire, and I am sorry you are getting such negative vibes.

I am glad work has been supportive. Yay for compassion!!

little turtle posted 1/10/2014 21:08 PM

(((hurtbs))) my grandma died 8 years ago. speak up for her as much/best as you can!

Sad in AZ posted 1/10/2014 21:10 PM

Don't think all is lost; my grandmother fell at 89 and recovered, living well till a month before she turned 99.

hurtbs posted 1/10/2014 21:17 PM

@Sad - my grandmother was not living well before she broke her hip.

FaithFool posted 1/10/2014 21:18 PM

Hugs to both of you. We went through this with my mom in 2007.

She was 87 and quite frail and living with us at the time.

My eldest sister is the "manager" of the family and came down to get her into care, as the house wasn't suitable for an elder with a broken wing.

We had a falling out because she went kind of overboard with the micromanagement and basically accused me of trying to rip my mom off on our share of the house.

Ugh. It was hideous.

But the outcome was that my mom got placed into an assisted living situation where she didn't have to do much other than show up for meals, and if she fell there was someone to call the ambulance.

She had a fairly good three years there relatively pain-free before she fell and broke the other hip.

After that she survived another three months and made it to her 90th birthday.

She refused rehab and that was her prerogative.

I'm so sorry you have this on your plate. Getting old is not for the faint of heart, and longevity isn't all it's cracked up to be, unless you're super proactive and doing yoga or some serious weight training. My mom was a gardener until the day she fell, and could move boulders around single-handedly.

She was also very tough and didn't complain about any of it. God love them all.

nowiknow23 posted 1/10/2014 21:22 PM

(((((hurtbs & grandmother)))))
(((((meta & grandma)))))

purplejacket4 posted 1/10/2014 23:22 PM

Yes, she very much needs placement in a Nursing home. In her condition about 25% of people die within the first year, 50% remain bed bound or wheelchair bound needing 24/7 nursing care and only 25% recover to only their former level. No one improves after a broken hip.

I realize you are the second generation removed but sometimes you need to be forceful in your opinions to snap older ostrich-in-the-sand relatives out if it.

She definitely has a moderate dementia if she can only just recognize you. To be honest THAT IS Alzheimer's unless she has multi-infarct dementia (after several strokes) or she has Lewy Body dementia (where there are visual hallucinations and parkinson like symptoms). I'd give her a 95% chance based on what you wrote that's it is indeed Alzheimer's. Understand it cannot be definitively diagnosed without an autopsy after death showing the tangled protein plaques of the brain. If she hasn't been placed on aricept and namenda her doc should consider it.

I know I espouse myself as an adolescent med doc but I do do inpatient medicine two months a year so I do have a good bit of knowledge in this area. PM me if I can answer any questions.

hurtbs posted 1/11/2014 07:40 AM

@purple - she has had several small stroke (at least 3, probably a couple of more). I know that she sees a neurologist and mental health specialist for her dementia.

Finally got a message that her recovery went well and she is being transferred to a care facility. I Keep getting told it's temporary, but I'm hoping that they keep her.

Kelany posted 1/11/2014 09:11 AM

This happened to my husband's grandmother last year at 87. She fell, broke her hip, had surgery, was transferred to a nursing facility to recover, ended up getting e-coli and salmonella (don't ask) and fell out of her bed one night and broke her arm, trying to get her walker across the room. SIGH.

She was in the facility for a few months, then booted out due to insurance.

She lives with MIL, uses a walker but falls often. It's really difficult. Basically, everything is in one room now so she doesn't have to walk or get up and down much.

Her dementia also got worse after this. She's managing, but, barely.

I definitely don't think it's too much to ask for updates, not at all.

unfound posted 1/11/2014 09:51 AM

oh hurtbs , I'm so sorry. It's hard enough when you're close by and have supportive, realistic family around you, but to be so far away and not having people who will keep you in the loop or see what is really happening/likely to happen.. .

((hurtbs and grandma))

Gottagetthrough posted 1/11/2014 12:49 PM

I am so, so sorry that you and your family are going through this.

no, you are not wrong to want updates. Especially with texting, they can just text a quick update.


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