Chapter 67

My stepdad called me early in the morning. Thank God I was up! My mom had fallen down. Jimmy watched the dogs while I rushed over there. When I got there, she was still on the floor. I couldn’t lift her by the shoulders, since it looked like she had hurt her arm, so I had to grab her by the waist.

I gave her a good wedgie, but at least I got her off the floor and into a chair.

“She was getting up, she was going to get her shoes, and she just fell,” said Pete.

“What do you want to do?” I asked.

“What do you think is best?”

“If we take her to a hospital, drop her off at the door, with this virus, that will be it.”

We called Orthopedic Associates in Westlake. I was not happy with the doctor. I don’t think he was happy to see a patient, at all. I was hoping it was just a dislocation, but after he x-rayed ger, he said it was broken.

I had to keep propping her up because her arm swelled up so fast and so big it was unbalancing her.

“She really needs surgery,” the doctor said.

“Is there anything else?” I asked

“We can put her in a sling.”

“OK.”

He sent a girl in from his staff. She put a sling on and told me I would have to tighten it when we got her home.

“No, I don’t know how tight it’s supposed to be. You do it.”

“I can’t, it’s too swollen.”

When we finally got her home, the next thing I know, mom collapses. Fortunately, she fell on top of me.

“Pete, her legs aren’t working. There’s something more wrong.”

“She very dramatic,” said Pete.

My dad used to always say that. “She used to be dramatic,” I said.

We got her into a recliner, put ice on her arm. I was trying to tighten the fucking sling, but her arm had gotten so big and heavy and her fingers were like giant sausages. It was bad. We gave her pain medicine and more ice and as the day went on, she started becoming OK.

I decided I was going to move in and sleep next to her on their little love seat couch. That way, if she needed something, I could grab it. Brian came every morning, helped me get her to the potty, I would change her diaper and pad, put her back in the chair, and make breakfast. He came back every dinnertime and we did the same thing all over again.

It was a lot of work, but after a month I could tell something was going wrong.

“We’re losing her,” I told Pete. “She’s going to die on the ship. I honestly think she needs to go to a hospital.”

“Well…” said Pete.

“She’s hardly breathing. It’s either that, or she dies in this chair.”

“Yes, call the ambulance,” he said.

“Thank you.”

When they show up, my brother is part of the squad. He’s on the department in North Ridgeville. I’m a mess, but he walks right past me, like I don’t exist.

“Piece of shit,” I said to myself.

They took her away on a stretcher. My brother told my stepdad she was near death. None of us knew why. I called Orthopedic Associates and left messages for two days, but nobody called me back. Finally, I reached the doctor on the third day. I told him she was going down.

“I’ve had it,” I said. “You’ve ignored our calls and we don’t know what is going on. Nobody dies from a broken arm. If she does. I’m coming for you.”

They took her to the Cleveland Clinic on Lear Road in Avon. There, it turns out, for some stupid reason, one of the doctors put her on a potassium supplement. My mom loves bananas. She eats 50,000 of them a day. She eats them with her bacon and toast first thing in the morning. She doesn’t need any more of it. Her potassium levels were sky high, her afib was out of rhythm, and her kidneys were shutting down. It was a very dangerous thing. She was in the Intensive Care Unit.

When they did blood work on her the hospital doctor said it was killing her. The reason she was having kidney failure was also because she had been an addict most of her life. She was a nurse and loved her codeine.

Thank God her kidney specialist was on call at the hospital that day. He told us he was going to try something.

“If this horrible thing I’m going to do doesn’t bring back her kidneys,” he asked, “what do you guys want to do?

“If she needs dialysis, put her in a coma and let her faze out,” I said.

We were all on board with that.

He gave her a shot through her IV and BOOM! Her kidneys kicked right back in.

“Now they can address her arm,” the doctor said.

Because I threatened his staff, mom’s doctor at Orthopedic Associates refused to do the surgery. There was another doctor at the Clinic, also from Orthopedic Associates, who took a look at her arm.

“I’ll do the surgery, no problem,” he said.

He did a great job. When she was well enough, they took her to the Lutheran House in Westlake for recovery.

“She’s going to need a cane, I told Pete, “because she won’t be able to get around on the RollAtor.”

“I think you’re right,” he said.

I told him I was thinking of taking care of her all of the time, but I was bothered by how I almost killed her, waiting so long, torturing her.

“Well, we didn’t know what was happening.” He said he might be good with it.

“Are you sure you want me to?”

I was sure I wanted to.

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