Mummy fell by tripping over the living room carpet, in Brahmanpalli, the village in Andhra Pradesh, where my parents had lived for twenty three years, before my father passed away, and she shattered her right hip bone. Tali, my daughter and I, went to Singapore in the first week of January 2007. Mummy had her fall on the 10th of January 2007. A dire message was waiting for me when we returned to Pune where I live. Tali left for the States where she lives, and I ran and booked myself onto an Indian Airlines flight for Hyderabad. Jeanne, my sister, called from Bombay and decided to change her flight to the same one I was taking. She came down to Pune and because of all her professional connections we had a car waiting for us at the airport when we landed. But Mummy had already had her hip replacement surgery at the Secunderabad Military Hospital.
Deborah our youngest sister, was already there. The three of us sat at the dining table, with a sense of anxiety mixed with the hope that my father had received from the doctors that she would be walking again soon. Mornings in Brahmanpalli were always beautiful with birdsong and coolness. After breakfast we were setting out for the hospital about 56 kilometers away in the town. Then the phone rang.
Mummy, they told us, had taken a toss while attempting to walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night And had fractured her thigh bone, the same side as the hip injury. That was that, there was nothing to do now but for her to lie in bed and wait for it to heal over a couple of months. This was the start of her bedridden years, till now, February 2014. We stumbled about in those first days and weeks, trying to figure out how to go about caring for her.
My father, Denis, bought her a wheelchair, a walker to assist her recovery in the future, other things like a portable toilet, clothes that could be put on and removed easily. It wasn’t possible for everyone, but since my husband Uday worked in Nigeria and my children both grown now, lived in the US, I could, so I stayed on for about four months’
So this blog is going to be about this. How we, individually, or together, worked out how to care for my mother. There have been tremendous changes in these last seven or so years. What do I talk about? Not just her health, her diet, her coping , her temperament, stress, our ideas and abilities. The strain my father went through. How she actually did not, for the longest time, get that this was going to be the rest of her life for the longest time.
Next time some details of things we did and still do, to cope. Longevity, seniority, venerability, so so much. Maybe because I have a living parent my own age doesn’t seem such an issue. Or who am I fooling?