Posted by: chlost | March 17, 2013

A pouring blizzard

My life has now officially entered a new phase.

As a parent, I always dreaded receiving that phone call from the school telling me that there was a problem, an accident, or an issue. I only had a few of those calls over the years as my three children moved toward adulthood. The last one was when my oldest was in college.

Now that my mother’s care is my responsibility, my apprehension about the dreaded phone calls has shifted to her. I now dread the phone calls from her assisted living facility (a.l.f.), telling me of problems, accidents and issues.

And this week I received one of those calls.

My mother has an irregular heartbeat. As a result, there is an increased chance of blood clots forming during the delays between those heartbeats. That is what happened when she had her stroke a few years ago. Since then, she has been taking a blood thinner to reduce the chances of another blood clot.

This week, I received a phone call from the a.l.f. telling me that she had fallen in her bathroom. They said that she was fine, she had no injuries as a result of the fall. I was relieved, but went to see her after work that day. She told me the long, detailed story of how she fell, and seemed just fine. No bruises, no pain, no confusion. She did tell me that she hit her head when she fell.

Somewhere in the back of my mind a bell rang. Head bump. Blood thinner.


I called her doctor’s office for an appointment for the next day. He was completely booked, but they gave me an appointment with my doctor for her.

My doctor and I go way back. She knows me well. She agreed that there was a concern, and ordered a CT scan at the local hospital. The hospital told us they couldn’t get her in until the following morning. I took my mom home with plans to take her to the doctor in the morning. I called my office and found back-up coverage for all of my court hearings for the next day.

Shortly after I returned home, I got a call from the hospital telling me that the doctor insisted that they do the scan that evening. Merle and I picked up my mom again and off to the hospital we went.

We found out that there was a hemorrhage in the brain from that fall. The blood thinner makes such a bleed much more likely. So we were sent to the local hospital’s ER, then they sent my mom to the big city hospital ER, which then admitted my mom to the ICU. The bleeding needed to be stopped, so they gave her treatments to counteract the blood thinners. She also had a very low blood pressure and a low heart rate, so there have been many adjustments to her medications. She is being discharged this morning if all goes as planned.

While in the hospital, she still had no symptoms. She loved being in the hospital. She is a retired nurse, and that environment is like home to her. Throughout this entire ordeal, she has been more animated and engaged with people than I have seen her in months. She “entertained the troops” as I described it to my children. Cracking jokes,  Learned all about each nurse, tech and cleaning staff person. She knows their life stories, and tells us about them when we visit. Sarah and her boyfriend of 7 years live together in a house they own jointly. Kristy is a student nurse who has been shadowing Mallory since January, but yesterday was her last day-she will be getting a new job this summer.  Amazing for a woman who has a challenge in remembering her great-granddaughters’ names at times.

In any event, it has been a trying few days. And on top of it all, Merle’s uncle died late last week, and we have a funeral to attend later this week.

When it rains, it pours. Or, as is more appropriate for here, when it snows, it is a blizzard.


Update on weight loss challenge there has been no weight loss this past week, but at least there was no weight gain, either….I stayed the same. A victory for me.



  1. My mother is on Coumadin, one of the various types of blood-thinners out there… we have to go in for regular monitoring, to ensure the blood doesn’t get too thin, or, conversely, too thick, which can, as you mentioned, cause a stroke. Mom’s been on the blood-thinner for about two years now. She was on it for awhile after her heart-valve replacement surgery, because of a-fib, then, her heart seemed to go back to a normal rhythm, but, after about 6 months, she developed a-fib again.

    I dread the same thing happening to my mom. We’ve been lucky that she hasn’t fallen.

    I’m sorry to hear this about your mom, but, it seems you did the right thing, and she’s in the hospital where she needs to be.

    Sorry to hear about Merle’s uncle…

    Sending lots of good thoughts and energy your way…

    • Yes, coumadin is her medication as well. They monitor it monthly and her levels have been good. Now she is off of it for at least the next week or so.

  2. It’s too bad they can’t just give her a permanent room there at the hospital – she’d probably love that.

    • Yes, that would work out well for her, I think. It is certainly not a place where I would want to spend time.

  3. I hope your mother will be all right soon.

    • Thanks. She is home now and seems to be doing well. We will be doing follow ups to hopefully avoid any other problems.

  4. Trying for you, but a lovely outing and lots of positive attention for your Mom. Your quick thinking and action saved her. Glad she is okay. Parents who are aging are a complex challenge, but at least you have your Mom. Try to enjoy her, even though its hard sometimes. Please give Merle my condolences.

    • Yes, a lovely outing! Merle thanks you for your kind wishes.

  5. Oh, crikey. That’s so scary. SOOO scary. Dwell on the silver lining here: her chance to have a lively at-home in the hospital and feel more herself than she has in ages.

    But still. And my condolences on the death of Merle’s uncle.

  6. Glad you were proactive. You would think the medically trained professionals around your mom would have connected the dots right away.

  7. What a scary incident. I’m glad something struck you about this and you took it upon yourself to seek help. (Also glad she seems to be doing okay.) Maybe it’s just me, but I’m a bit concerned that the ALF didn’t put two and two together and get her checked out, since they knew about the blood thinners, and I would think they should be aware of the risks involved. Scary!

  8. […] been out and about doing father/sonly things, and has had a setback or two himself. And it seems Chlost is so comfortable with her as of last update healthy lead, so is going on about her life. But I […]

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