Blast from the past

I think of this loverly little document (click to embiggen) from time to time and have kind of wondered where it might have wandered off to. Wouldn’t you know, The Commander saved it. Can you guess what it is? (I’ll tell later on.)

It dates from the winter of 2006. That was the loverly winter that my then almost 87-year-old coot fell and smashed his pelvis. He was taking his daily walk down the escarpment in Sault Ste. Siberia to get the mail and newspaper. After some fiddly-doodling around that I won’t even try to explain, a very nice policeman located The Commander and Grandroobly was somehow convinced to take an ambulance ride down to the ER. Where they promptly prepared the parental units for an air ambulance ride to the Henry Ford Hoosegow in downtown Dee-troit. We can do regular old hip replacements here. You’ve got something more complex. Alas. The Commander was given a half hour to go home and pack.

He was at the HF Hoosegow for 23 days if I’m remembering accurately. He survived two long surgeries to reconstruct his pelvis and spent 11 days in the ICU. Naturally that meant that The Commander was there for that whole time too. I think she had managed to grab ONE sweater before she got hustled onto that air ambulance. I was not gainfully employed at the time and I managed to make it over there from here (45 miles or so) on The Planet Ann Arbor all but a couple of the days they were there.

The Commander was virtually trapped at the hoosegow. She had an “apartment” there but she had no car and, given that the hoosegow is in downtown Dee-troit, taking a walk was not advised. The HF Hoosegow is a world class teaching hoosegow but it is also the kind of place where vee-hickles fairly routinely drive up to the ER, dump people with gunshot wounds out, and drive away. Now, The Comm grew up in the Dee-troit area and began her career working at the downtown Hudson’s store but after 60 years in the Yooperland? Things have changed just a wee bit in Dee-troit. Hmmm… Mom, stay on the hoosegow campus. I actually didn’t have to tell her that. She had no intention of leaving that place. Not even for an overnight with us on The Planet Ann Arbor.

Communicating with her? That was a problem. She had a cell phone but it did not have service in Dee-troit. There was a landline in her “apartment” but it was unfamiliar as was the apartment and she struggled with it. One day, I could not for the life of me locate her down there by phone and I ended up DRIVING down to make sure everything was all right. After that, we resurrected an old cell phone that one of the beach urchins had before they took off to college in Kalamazoo — where *their* cell phones didn’t have service.

If you haven’t guessed, this was the “user guide” I made for The Comm. And guess what? It worked!*

My dad? He survived both operations and made it back to his beloved Sault Ste. Siberia (by ambulance) where he was to go through rehab. Alas, he lived about another 3-4 weeks. It was his time. He lived for being able to move. Walk, run, ski, sail, drive, fly, you name it. Sitting in a nursing home / rehab facility? Not so much. A younger person may have survived. Dad didn’t have the will at that time. Stopped eating, developed horrific bedsores and died of sepsis. When people start trying to push nutritional drinks like Boost or Ensure upon an elderly person, it is probably getting around to be that person’s time.

I’m not gonna save the paper version of this artifact but I’m glad I found it again.

*The Commander was legendary in terms of using technology in later life. She was good at beating up on computers and, at her request, we helped her buy an iPhone a couple years before she died. She could use those beasties up until her health began to get the better of her.

One Response to “Blast from the past”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I sometimes still need these instructions. I’m NOT good with buttons on cell phones. I think my husband is getting to that Ensure time and it makes me sad. His will to live without any energy or ability to do what he enjoys is being sapped. 🙁