Nan Down (3)

We'll often leave our 'Nan down's' at home, if they haven't injured themselves then it is more risky to take them to hospital than to leave them at home.

This one we would have to remove from her spotless house and take her to hospital. She would be staying, probably for a long time.

Out patient, until the moment she fell, was normally very mobile. She would walk down to the shops to buy her food, she was able to keep her house clean and squared away. There was no need for a stair-lift, nor other mobility aids. Given my knees she was probably more mobile than I am for much of the time.

But suddenly, one evening, her legs had given way on her.

When we picked her up, her fingernails left crescent marks on my arms, she was so frightened of falling. She was barely able to take a step, it was as if she had aged twenty years in a minute.

It wasn't the fear of falling again, that much was certain. Instead something had happened that had completely removed her ability to balance properly.

My assessment didn't show anything neurologically wrong with her, but it would seem most likely that she had suffered a stroke. Something that affected her balance and had struck out of nowhere was unlikely to be an ear or urine infection.

She had no next-of-kin, no carers, no support. She had gone from being able to look after herself to needing hospital treatment in a matter of moments.

Yet she was lucky, if it was a stroke it had left her mind untouched, she was able to communicate, to read, to carefully smoke a cigarette. But her legs were 'gone'.

Hopefully it would resolve itself, with time and work from the physiotherapists I'm hopeful that she would be able to regain the ability to walk.

She might need a bit of help, maybe a bit of support. A community alarm and maybe some handrails. Maybe a stairlift and someone to help with the shopping.

And one day I hope that she'll be able to go back to her home and live like she did before she became a 'Nan down'.

14 thoughts on “Nan Down (3)”

  1. I've no idea why, but the end of this story has made me really sad.I suppose I was hoping for a “happy” ending. I really hope she's ok and doesn't lose too much independence.

  2. Reminds me of my Gran.She was knocked down by a reversing taxi (reversing into a oneway street the wrong way) and whilst nothing was broken, the mental impact was huge. She was like a different woman after that.

  3. It's sad, but it is so often worse. It must be so hard not having family in that situation, not only did she have to rely on people for support afterwards, but complete strangers.I hope things work out okay for her

  4. Stroke is my field of work and it sounds as if your lady may have had a cerebellar stroke, Thankfully they usually do pretty well.

  5. Whilst there is sadness in this story, had not you been there it would have been tragic and so someone was watching over her as my Mam would say, who fortunately has 5 kids in walking distance

  6. We picked up a case this week where a mobile, fit and well 82 year old lady was making herself a bedtime drink when she fell and got herself wedged in a space next to a radiator. She layed there all night getting colder and colder, unable to free herself from her predicament. At 6am the heating came on and at 8am her daughter telephoned. Concerned she couldn't get an answer she hurried around. By the time we got there the woman had devastating burns across her back, buttocks and leg where she had slowly cooked. Most of her skin remained on the radiator as we gently moved her out and took her to hospital.One moment. One fall. An active mind, an active life, the retirement we all hope for. Over.

  7. That's just horrific, does that kind of thing happen often? Radiator/fall injuries, I mean. Surely, all stupid ideas aside, there has to be something people can do to stop this – if this was affecting children, I suspect the press & the general media would already be on it as an issue.

  8. Sad as it is smoochie accidents like this do happen, and it could have been falling down stairs, stuck in the bath or falling on a fire, or well, just about anything. (my mums 'best one' was falling off a stool, whilst putting the fairy on top of the Christmas tree, she had asked us to do it but as so often, we weren't quick enough in responding, ?8min? so she attempted to do it herself; which is part of the frustration she feels, at not being as able as she once was.The real help would have been if the person was able to call for help, by use of a pendant alarm. But I think many elderly people see them as an admission (to themselves) that they are becoming more dependent, and they understandably don't like it.

    It usually takes an accident for them to realise the value of an alarm. You just have to hope it is a small accident or a 'bit of a fright' rather than the full on tragedy of the lady mentioned.

    The sad thing is that they are actually an aid to independence,if the person can just overcome the mind set that they are sign 'failure' (and it is also really important that they don't leave them hung on the back of the bathroom door, where they are as much use as a chocolate fire guard!)

  9. Heck, I often live on my own for short periods and I'd jump at wearing one!My back can go out with no notice (yeah, okay, except the 2 – 3 weeks beforehand when I've been too lazy to exercise, but y'know what I mean) and on a couple of occasions I've been reduced to crawling about for 2 – 3 days, barely able to reach a tap for a drink of water.

    At my age, and because I work etc (and this only happens if I neglect myself) I wouldn't expect that kind of support, but get me to retirement unscathed and I'll be signing up asap, regardles of how otherwise fit I am.

    I totally agree it's an independence helper rather than anything else, it's surely not that much different to having a phone.

    People, eh? :-/

  10. You don't need to wait until retirement smoochie. If there is a need for it then why wait? Your right, it isnt much different from having a phone, only it's a phone you can wear on your wrist, round your neck, on a clip to your belt, or just popped in your pocket. You don't need to main unit to be on display on a wall or anything, as it is rather loud when it is activated, so it isnt sat there as a topic of conversation unless you would want it to be.I'll sell you one if you like 😛 Good price my friend good price *wink wink*

  11. Good idea! The thing is, I could neck a few whiskies or twist – my leg – JUST that way! [crunchie sound] – and be fine. In a shockingly short period of time! :o)(Or, just stay fit and not have to feel like I've been shot in the back on a regular basis….)

    Besides, never underestimate the fun of learning to keep a few packets of custard creams and some cider tucked away under the bed!

    But (seriously) thanks, and I will bear that in mind if it gets out of hand – so to speak! 🙂

  12. Ahh Cider, one of the best painkillers known to man :)I hope it doesn't come to that obviously, that wouldn't be a fun day out!

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