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Help! I Can’t Get Up: When Mom Breaks Her Hip

March 28, 2020

Another Way for week of March 27, 2020

Help! I Can’t Get Up

So, in the middle of all the worry and response to news of the coronavirus spreading, what happens when you or someone you love needs to be hospitalized for routine health issues in the middle of a pandemic?

As I look back over the past month, the worldwide panic, fear, and pandemonium has spread so far and fast that it all swirls together in my mind and memory.

Mom having her spirits lifted by a therapy dog, the day after surgery while receiving a pint of blood.

About five weeks ago now we were called in the middle of the night with a message that many baby boomers fear regarding their parents: “Help, I’ve fallen, I can’t get up.”

Let me back up a second. My mother is 95, lives in a retirement complex in an independent apartment. Thanks to the good Lord and my sisters, Mom had recently gotten one of those arm “Mobile Help” callers (after the retirement complex quit including it in their package of services because of the expense). Mom fell in her bathroom around 12:30 a.m., realized she was in great pain and couldn’t get back up, and summoned help with the beeper. Within 20 minutes “there were men [rescue squad guys] all over me.” Helping of course.

My sister Nancy, a retired RN, called me about 3:30 a.m. with the news as she sat waiting with Mom in the emergency room. Her husband said, “Maybe you ought to wait until morning to call” but she responded, “If I’m up in the middle of the night, they can be too.” Honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted Nancy to wait. I began immediately plotting our next steps. How soon could we leave? My husband had an appointment that day with an orthopedic surgeon that we had waited months to get. We should surely keep that appointment. Who would take care of our dog? As I lay there worrying, I also held up my mother and sister in prayer for comfort and good decisions from medical staff. That was Feb. 19. The coronavirus was of course a concern to everyone but most of us had not yet begun to imagine the ramifications for our families and basically the whole connected world in terms of economy, travel, jobs, depression (monetary and mental).

Heading through western Maryland, we pass a ski lift making snow.

My husband and I left for Indiana the next day. When we walked into Mom’s apartment and the bathroom where she had fallen, the sight of her shower door knocked completely off its track punched me in the gut. The reality of her lying on that floor in pain, panic, and darkness hit home.

We headed to the hospital. Mom’s surgery had gone well in spite of it being risky because of thickened valves (also known as severe aortic stenosis). The doctor used as little anesthesia as possible as he pinned her femur to her pelvic bone in less than 15 minutes.

Mom doing well in physical therapy several days post-op.

She was in good spirits (still on pain killers from surgery) and I felt grateful we could travel so quickly. My other sister was unfortunately delayed because of ice at the Charlotte, N.C. airport, and had to return home to try again the next day.

When Pert finally got there late in the day, we caught up with each other visiting around Mom’s bed. By Saturday the doctors released Mom to the rehab unit of her retirement complex. We enjoyed helping settle Mom into her new temporary room.

On one of the days following Mom’s surgery, Pert and I took a walk in the healthcare section (separate from rehab) to see remodeling and updating they’d done since we’d been there last. It looked amazing but apparently it was an unwise move on our part. We opened several closed doors. Even though we were generally very careful about using hand sanitizers, after we left to go home, a total of four family members were eventually struck with a stomach bug, with a lingering unsettled feeling for two to three days after. But we were lucky. No quarantine, no weeks of isolation at that point. Rather, we soon began to feel better with the simple comfort of chicken noodle soup, crackers, and ginger ale.

My heart goes out to all individuals and families dealing with seclusion, staying away from family, friends and normal routine—or worse, a scary illness and loss of a loved one. We also lost, in one week’s time, a dear cousin on my husband’s side, a church friend, and a former coworker—not to the virus, but other causes.

Mom requested our “normal” Sunday evening meal: popcorn and balony sandwich. She loved it!

We must pull together, share our resources, and hold each other up in love and prayer. World strong!









What food sounds good to you after being ill or post surgery?


Share your best “pick me ups” during this time of quarantine and keeping a friendly distance between humans!


For a free booklet, “Praying When You Are Depressed,” send your request to me at or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  








  1. Silver, Beverly P - silverbp permalink

    I tried to send a reply and filled in my email address and my name. I do not know what was wanted in the third blank which asked for website . I do not remember seeing that blank when trying to respond to the blog.

    • Beverly, your reply and comment was posted just fine! Good job. No worries about the blank that asks for a website. That is a place for you to put in your own blog or website in case someone wants to pay a return visit to “your” website. Which you don’t have of course. You do a good job of trying to navigate FB and blogs and email, it isn’t easy. Thanks for your comment!

  2. As you know from my blog posts, we experienced this with Aunt Ruthie. We happened to be visiting and our brother Mark called that Ruthie had fallen as she was trying to get in the garage door. I’m glad we were there to help, but I remember at the hospital, she winced in great pain and no one seemed to be interested in giving her painkillers. Surgery was pending, so maybe the medical staff didn’t want to interfere with the anesthesia that was upcoming. I remember she said, “I’m ready to go!” at the time, but she lived more than 5 years longer, until she was 98.

    In this season, 60s and 70s, we experience loss of loved ones in both generations. God comfort you during this time. Stay well! 🙂

    We are enjoying Netflix series: one especially, a Julian Fellowes miniseries The English Game with football and some tangle now. love stories.

    • Yes, I imagine they were waiting to give her painkillers until her surgery. I know you valued and treasured your long relationship with your dear Aunt.
      We have not yet subscribed to Netflix. Those sound interesting. Not sure I caught what you mean about “tangle now” love stories. I guess if I was on Netflix, I would know. 🙂

  3. Sorry, should read: “some tangled love stories.”

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