We must do what we think we cannot
As women age, their hips are their most vulnerable part. My mother had her first hip replacement when she was in her 60s and by the time she was about 70, both of her hip joints were no longer her own. My mother has never been overweight and remained active through her 50s and, to a lesser extent, into her 60s. No one is sure why she has such bad osteoarthritis. My theory is that she was the middle child in a large family born during the middle of the Depression. Who knows for sure. Whatever the case, during the past 10 years, my mom has gone through hip hell. She has had both hips replaced and she has had multiple hip dislocations. Most recently she fell and fractured her right hip - a hairline fracture of the greater trochanter.
Her first stop was the hospital and after a few days she was transferred to a Rehab Center where something - yet to be determined - happened which caused my mother's hemoglobin and blood pressure to drop. Two days later, her hemoglobin was still dropping and she was transferred to the hospital and the last three days have been a marathon of waiting, tests, and one horrible sleepless night preparing for a colonoscopy. The night from hell, I call it. That was the night before last, and today - so far- has been a better, less stressful and eventful day.
Hips. Can't live without them; can't live with them when they're broken. Every year thousands of women fracture their hips in countries around the world. Indeed, 75 percent of elderly people who fracture their hips are women. Sadly, a significant number of these women will die during the first year after their hip fracture. The highest mortality is in the first three months after the fracture; the second highest mortality is the second three months. In other words, the first six months are the most important. That's the main reason I'm here now, doing all the extra things I can do to make sure that my mother isn't one of those statistics. So far, she can't walk, but I'm hoping tomorrow that I can get her up into a wheelchair and take her for a spin around the "block" - around the floor of the hospital she's in. She's blessed that this hospital - St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital - has beautiful artwork on many of the walls and plenty of light. And research agrees that walking is essential to maintaining health in old age.
If all goes well, she'll soon be on her way back to the Rehab Centre where she will continue therapy and achieve her goal of being able to walk again. The orthopedic doctors who are following her are hopeful about that goal. But, of course, that's doctors jobs: to express optimism to the patient and keep the mortality rates to themselves. And, walking is one of life's greatest pleasures, no matter what age we are, how rich or poor we are, or wherever we live. I want my mother to have that pleasure again; and - with luck and hard work - I think she will.