911

“911, what’s your emergency?”
“My mom is unresponsive on the bathroom floor.”
“Did she fall?”
“No she slid off the toilet.”
“Did she hit her head?”
“No, she slid off the toilet and became wedged between the toilet and the wall.”
“Is she still wedged?”
“No, we removed the toilet; she got sick and became unresponsive.”
“Age?”
“Eighty four, please hurry.”

Keep in mind while you read on, my mom is okay. While you may think how can I laugh and make light of this situation, at the time I was scared and took it very seriously. Now that it’s over, I can reflect back and laugh. This is how I can keep going.

So let me begin.

When my mom got shingles, she was in bed sleeping for at least 20 hours a day. The rest of the time, she was in a recliner. I measured her fluids and was only able to get her to drink about 10-14oz. per day. She refused to eat anything but sweets. She hadn’t let me do a catheter for five days. 

On the morning of the 911 call, I was able to get her up at 11:30a instead of her usual 2:30p. She looked good and walked on her own to take a shower. After her shower, I dried her up, put lotion on her, and dressed her in a new nightgown. Before I was able to dry her feet and put her slippers on, the phone rang. I told her I would be right back. As soon as I answered the phone, my mom called my name. It was my aunt that called, so while talking, I started back to the bathroom. When I turned in, I saw my mom lying on the floor. I immediately hung up the phone.

From what I could figure out, while sitting on the toilet, she leaned back on the wall and slipped off onto the floor. Now keep in mind, the space she slipped into is only 7.75″ wide at the top of the bowl and about 10″ at the floor. Apparently she went in sideways, then went onto her back. Now how in the hell can anyone fit into a space that small? (Check your bathroom, I bet you have a wall or a tub about the same distance from your toilet.)

“Nancy, get me up!”
“Mom, I’m trying, but you’re wedged in and too heavy for me to pull up.”
“Stop playing around and get me up now!”
“Mom, does it look like I’m playing?! I cannot pick you straight up and over the toilet.”
“Pull my arm so I can sit up.”
“Mom, I’ll break your arm. I can’t do it.” 

So, I called my husband. he was over at Paul and Muriel’s. 

“Paul, my mom slid off the toilet and is wedged between the toilet and the wall. Hurry she’s really stuck, and bring Little Paul with you.”
I’ll come, but Paul is busy, you and I can do it.”
“BRING LITTLE PAUL WITH YOU NOW!!!”

It only takes four to five minutes between houses. When my husband and son saw my mom, they were shocked to see her wedged the way she was. They tried to turn her sideways, they tried to pull her straight out, but it was clear to all of us the toilet had to go.

My son put pillows under her head, my husband took the water out of the bowl, then laid on the ground. He reached behind the toilet to unscrew the bolts underneath my mom. And now the toilet is in the living room.

Free at last! They go to pick her up and all of a sudden she had problems at both ends. She started to throw up with non-stop diarrhea. My husband and son kept their cool and did not drop her, even though poo was EVERYWHERE. I yelled at my guys not to move her, lay her back down and wait for help. She looked so bad I thought maybe she had a stroke.

Thank you, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Paramedics, and EMT’s for coming so fast and for taking such good care of my mom. I give them kudos for not turning around and heading for the hills. When they saw this frail woman with the worse smelling bio hazard (poo), they looked like a deer caught in headlights. It took them a moment before one of them radioed for a plastic sheet. Thank you, Chris, for the tip of placing Ben Gay under your nose to help with the smell. I think this time we would have had to shove Ben himself up our nose. Dana, thank you for being the lead car in front of the ambulance your traffic breaks got us there faster.

Off we went. When we got to the hospital, I went into the emergency room with my mom. While I’m watching the paramedics put her on a bed, our eyes lock. I know the look and have seen this before. She’s dehydrated. The nurse’s start to clean her up, they put her slip and nightgown in a plastic bag to hand to me. Are they kidding, did they really think I wanted to carry a nightgown soaked in poo? She saw the look on my face and dumped it into the trash.

The doctor comes in and asked what happened. I told him the whole scenario and that she appeared to be fine until we started to get her up. She didn’t hit her head and nothing appeared to be broken, she just became unresponsive. He ordered tests.

Once they started the IV and gave her fluids she was back.
“Mom, do you know why you’re in the hospital?”
“I’m in the hospital?”
“Yes, you’re in the hospital, you’re dehydrated.”
“I’m in the hospital because of you. You didn’t take care of me.”
“Mom, I take good care of you, you don’t listen or take advice, that’s why you’re here.”

Then for the next hour, she complained about her pillow. Back and forth she wanted it under her head, and then under her back, she didn’t want it at all. Finally I had enough. I told her to make up her mind, did she want it or not? She wanted the pillow (again) under her head. Thank you, Dana for reminding me to put it under her head. 

Another doctor came in to tell us they were going to admit her into the hospital. She checked my mom and took off her gloves. At the same time, my mom did her impression of Mount Vesuvius, starting to erupt. The doctor backed up, since she no longer had gloves on, my darling daughter Dana (who will gag and throw up just by thinking, smelling, hearing, or seeing someone being sick) had her fingers in her ears with her eyes closed. No one was going to commit. I grabbed a bed pan, stood there, gagging, as my mom gave back the Ensure she had in the morning. This happened twice. Thank you both.

They admitted her into the hospital and she was there for four days. She under went CAT scans, blood tests, ultra sounds, etc. Through all that, she was still well enough to try and start arguments with me. The nurses and doctor saw her in top form. They offered assistance from a social worker to help. Even on the last day, when they were doing the paper work to release her, she was going on and on, driving me crazy. I shut my eyes so she wouldn’t see me cry. When I opened them the lady from admissions was standing at the door. She probably heard everything my mom said, and now knows what a hundred and sixteen pounds of mean looks like. She came into the room and asked me to stand up so she could give me a hug. She then told my mom that she wished she had a daughter like me to take care of her. It was very nice of her to say, but my mom wasn’t even listening. 

The results; Dehydration (we already knew that one), kidney infection (remember no catheter for five days), and pneumonia (remember staying in bed 20+ hours). Bottom line, my mom is basically healthy. All this was because she didn’t want to listen. 

So here it is; four days in the hospital, various tests, five hundred dollars. Ambulance bill probably fourteen hundred dollars.  Medication thirty dollars. Four days of not being responsible for mom? Priceless.

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1 Response to “911”


  1. 1 your BFF March 4, 2009 at 9:08 am

    My Dear BFF,

    You really need a break from all this. The social workers have the right idea. I don’t know how you can hold on to your sanity, and I doubt you can, doing this 24/7. It is easy when you have a pleasant appreciative parent to care for, but in your case the insults, lack of appreciation add up to a lot of pain for you. You can’t change your Mom or her attitude so please stop trying. No guilt, OK? Your family, friends, and God know you and love you….Can’t get it from Mom. Acceptance and surrender, that is all you can do and let it go. And the next thing is to come out to Colorado to spend time with us, the friends who love you. Time for a vacation. Love forever, your BFF XXXXXXXOOOOOOOXX


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