My Mom hasn't been out of the house since her hospital stay in last month, and she was carried out on a stretcher for that adventure. Prior to that she'd had a doctor's visit before the snow fell. A handsome young physical therapist came and made her walk and gave her exercises to do, which she faithfully did....in his presence, and not once since. Memory loss does that. I confess that I did not add "Making Mom comply with her exercise regimen" to my "taking care of Mom" list along with: Cleaning the cat boxes; getting the cats to the vet; keeping the house stocked with food, water bottles and disposable panties; sorting her pills and changing the doses weekly based on current daily weight history and recent labs; daily insulin adjustments and blood sugar readings; coordinating nursing visits, PT visits and nurses aides....you get the idea.
Yesterday she had a visit scheduled at the pacemaker clinic. She hasn't had the pacemaker checked in months. We no longer pay for a land line and it can't be checked on a cell phone. I know it is still working because while she was in the hospital she had a coughing spell so hard that her heart stopped beating and we saw the pacemaker take over on the monitor. Because she is not usually pacer-dependent the battery will last a long time but...the last time she had it checked she'd broken a wire and had to have it replaced, remember that?
So I got her dressed and started moving her toward the car a solid 40 minutes ahead of the appointment, which is 10 minutes or less away. She had to use the bathroom first. Her memory has gotten so bad that she couldn't quite figure out how to manage both panties and slacks and needed help. It took my sister-in-law and I both to get her down the back stairs. And then....
She missed the car seat when she sat down and landed on the car's door frame. Her knees no longer bend beyond 90 degrees, so this was NOT a comfortable position. Some quick thinking got a plastic crate stuffed under her before she could slide to the ground, and we pulled her feet out from under her got her more comfortable, but nothing we could do could get her up the extra 8 inches into the car, let alone up onto her feet. We didn't have a lot of room to work in - the open car door was just a few inches from her left elbow.
My SIL has an excellent sense of the absurd, and despite the obvious what-the-heck-ness of the situation we were laughing a LOT over the next 45 minutes as we worked on what to do next. Finally she thought of the obvious: Forget about lifting the old lady - lift the CRATE.
Hubby got some sturdy rope from the camping supplies. I got down and threaded it into one side of the crate while SIL got it through from the door side (she's WAY younger than we are, and still flexible, thank God). With a well-coordinated heave from three sides we got her up, and took her back up the stairs into the house (with her mystified, "But weren't we GOING somewhere?" at every other step).
I called the pacemaker clinic 27 minutes after our scheduled arrival time to let them know why we hadn't come.
"Would you like to reschedule?"
The question nearly brought me to tears. How in the name of all that is holy am I going to GET her there? Even if we had a ramp she might have failed the transfer to the car, and what if she had fallen at the other end when I had no help? I nearly needed the 911 boys as it was. Getting her transported home from the hospital in a medivan cost $54, and they did not really assist her into the house. If my brother hadn't been there she wouldn't have made it in.
Gravity is not our friend here.