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Monday, 03 January 2011

The Day Mom's Hip Popped Out

By Kathleen Noble of The Dassler Diaries

I was reading the delightful Millie Garfield's blog in which she talked about how she couldn't bend down after hip replacement surgery to tie her shoes. Her story reminded me of a favorite family story about my Mom, Dorothy Morse.

Mom lived in the same house from 1945 until she died in 2005 at age 91. She had been a widow for many years and lived alone with a young relative coming in several times a week to help her a bit with housecleaning, etc.

Several of my brothers often checked in on her. Her neighbor, Ruby, and Mom kept tabs on each other every day. Mom had her hip replaced but it never was the same after the surgery.

One day Mom was trying to shave her legs in the bathroom and her hip popped out. But she was tough so she thought for a bit about what to do, then dragged her naked self IN PAIN out through the long kitchen to the nearest telephone in the dining room so she could call 911.

Now neither of my parents believed in replacing something in the house that worked perfectly fine, so she still had an old wall phone instead of the cordless variety. She drug herself as close to the phone as she could, picked up her cane and used it to knock the phone down to the floor.

Do you see the problem with this? Now the phone was off the hook and she couldn't dial it since the dial was on the wall!

Phone Dial Now it so happened that the phone in the living room, just a few steps away, was on a low table and she most likely could have reached it from the floor, but it was too late. Anyone calling in would just get a busy signal.

I should mention that this happened on a Sunday around noon so since Mom lived next door to a big church, lots of people were walking by our house after parking on the street so they could make a quick getaway after church without fighting the crowds in the huge parking lot. Do you think that she would bang on the window and try to get someone's attention? NO! She said later, "I was NAKED!"

Instead, Mom dragged herself into the living room, wrapped one of her home-made afghans around her, got out a cigarette and turned on the Seattle Mariners game on the TV with the remote! And waited. And by the way, the Mariners lost to her disgust! She was a true fan of the Ms!

As luck would have it, my brother who usually stopped by on Sunday couldn't make it that day and it wasn't until around 4:30PM that her neighbor, Ruby, decided to bring my Mom some of the casserole she had baked for Sunday dinner. She came in and found Mom, replaced the phone on the hook, then called 911.

Mom soon received the gift from my brother of one of those emergency buttons that you wear around your neck, but she usually forgot to wear it!

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


What a great story about a true survivor - and a loyal sports fan.

I love stories about how strong women used to be. I just hope we all can follow their example.

Women didn't "used to be strong," we still are..Do you think we live longer, mostly alone, because we are weak..c'mon Girls, the days of we coulda, shoulda, hadda, are long gone. I am 70 and much more worried about my daughter, who thinks only men can change a light bulb, shovel a front walk, take the heat..and she's an attorney..my secret is I went to all girl's high school so I always knew girls were smart, actually thought we were smarter than boys and that has stood me in good stead till today..I love men and would help them in any way I can, but I can take care of myself.."How strong women used to be" Pshaw!

The story of your mother reminds me of some of the stories I heard of my ancestors. They were amazing. I also agree with Mary. That strong spirit still resides in all of us. Thank you for sharing.

Not only is this a story of a 'gutsy' lady, but there is an important message here.

Several years ago on Thanksgiving Eve I fell on the way to bed and broke my hip. Because it was a holiday and my neighbors would all be gone I was afraid that it would be days before I was missed.

My phone was across the room and I realized I had to get to it to get help. That meant turning my body and flipping over so I would be in the right direction to pull myself to the phone. It took me 9 hours to accomplish this task.

I waws in rehab with a woman who broke her back and was not found for 21 hours.

Both of us had salesmen waiting when we got home to install a medical alarm system. I never take my alarm pendant off and have had to use it twice since then. It doesn't do you any good if it's on a table in another room when you fall.

The message is, anyone living alone should have some sort of system to alert someone when you fall, or are in trouble.

Oh, Darlene! You make a really good point! Thanks!

What a TOUGH lady your mother was! And what a problem she had - I understand that when the hip pops it is very painful.

After my hip surgery I was VERY CAREFUL to do exactly what the therapist told me what I could and could not do.

At the time my cousin who had had hip surgery had her hip pop while she was giving the eulogy at her mother's funeral!! (and she was just standing there)

Sometimes, it doesn't matter how careful you are, you just have to be lucky that all goes well.

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