I was going to write about the other night's "Tea Party"-sponsored presidential debate on CNN, but decided not to. You can read about Rick Perry coming out way ahead at Yahoo! News if you want, or an analysis about Rick Perry getting slapped around by the Vaudeville team that was the other candidates, in an analysis provided by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.
But I don't want to talk about that stuff anymore, for awhile. Last Thursday night, I got a call from my brother “Kevin” that (probably) went something like this:
KEV: Hey, Dave, it's Kev.
DLA: Yeah, Kev, what's up?
KEV: Well (pause), we just wanted you to know that, uh, Mom had an accident, and ...
DLA: Oh, s#!t, now what happened?
KEV: Well, the best we know is, she was going down to the basement, and she slipped and fell, got banged up pretty bad.
DLA: Just HOW bad?
KEV: She has a broken neck. Also a broken wrist, I forget which one. Plus, she has a lot of bruises on her head.
DLA: Oh, geez, was anyone else there?
KEV: Well, just Dad.
DLA: Yeah, but he can't do anything. How long did she have to lay there?
KEV: Actually, she, uh, managed somehow to get up the stairs and dial 911, and the ambulance came.
DLA: Well, good. Where is she now?
KEV: Well, they took her to Bethesda North at first, but they didn't have the facility for spinal care that she would have required, so they transferred her to University Hospital, where they have a specialist and a spinal care unit.
DLA: Okay, so ... is she alert? What's her status as of now?
KEV: Well, she's not unconscious, but she is in the ICU.
DLA: Do they know for how long?
KEV: Uh, no, nobody knows very much at this point. We'll probably know more in the next few days. Right now she's listed as in stable condition. Eventually they'll move her to rehab ...
DLA: ... yeah, right, but they're gonna need someone at the house all the time now, ya think?
KEV: Oh, yeah. We're looking at round-the-clock home care once Mom gets home.
DLA: And in the meantime, what about Dad?
KEV: Well, the three of us -- me, Mary, and Pat -- we'll just taking it one day at a time, and taking turns keeping an eye on Dad.
DLA: You've still got that gal coming in for the mornings, right?
KEV: Oh yeah. Definitely.
DLA: But what about ...
KEV: Dave, we just don't know. It's like I said, right now it's all touch and go until ...
DLA: Okay, okay. Um, should I come home?
KEV: Well, I suppose you could. It would mostly be just standing around until, you know, we know what's going on.
DLA: Yeah, fine, whatever. I'm just thinking maybe later this month or early October. Just for a few days. Maybe stop in and see Mom. Or somehting.
KEV: Sure, no problem. Whatever you can do. Just try to understand that, like, at this point we just don't know what's ...
DLA: ... what's going on. Yeah, I'll make a note. (long pause) So ... you're telling me she actually made it upstairs and called 911 herself? With a broken neck?? Are you f@#$ing kidding me???
KEV: (chuckling) Pretty strong stuff, huh?
It's always in the back of my head, getting through the day, every day, in a world five hundred miles from the heart's true home. My brother, my two sisters, have done as much as they can do at this point. Every finger is in a hole in the dike, when just one more leak starts up. That's when you run out of fingers and toes, and you start to wonder about the long haul. It's something every adult child with aging parents has to go through.
There have been other conversations since then, and I'll know a lot more later this week. At some point, probably when I'm there, the four of us will actually meet and go over our options. If one of you would say a rosary for Mom -- Dorothy, if you need the name in forming your prayer intentions -- I'd appreciate it. I'll be doing mine tonight, for someone else's intention. (Yeah, I get those too.)