“Exactly a year before he passed away, my father fell and broke his hip.
When he called to tell me of his fall, we never imagined it would be something so drastic. And because he never complained, never let us know how bad the pain was, we never imagined it was as terrifying as it turned out to be.
He was a careful man and understood his body well. In the end it was his body that betrayed him. Parkinson’s freezes muscles very often and very randomly. The messages that the brain sends out never get translated into action and the body continues to do the run up to the action often without follow through.
So when he wanted to get up and walk to the table for lunch , his brain said lets go and his legs said we are on our way and the next time the brain said lets go the legs didn’t obey . So he froze between taking two steps and lost his balance.
I reached only 3 days later after he was diagnosed with a broken hip. Till then he quietly and calmly bore the pain and never let us know that his heart and head must have been so frightened. I can tell you how terrifying the next several days was because I was there.
The ICU in a big hospital in Kolkata sometimes, is just a room that you have to take your shoes off to enter. Nurse, ayahs, relatives all stream in and out as if it were a waiting room in a railway station. No rules are followed, no hands are sterilized, no shoe covers and masks can be found. To operate on him, they first had to take him off his medicines for Parkinson’s.
As soon as they did that he started to go into such violent seizures that the entire bed shook and moved halfway down the ward.
Every day 11 doctors would crowd his bed and argue about what was best to do. None agreed.
We were lucky.
The doctors we originally were referred to were magicians. One of them a childhood friend who lent me his Doctors badge so I could almost live in the ICU next to my beloved Baba.
In the 2 weeks that my father and I rollercoaster our way through, I learnt many things. But the most important thing I learnt was that a fall in anyone over 65 years of age is not something they can walk away from.
Research indicates that a fall among the elderly usually results in death within a year. No one knows why. No science can prove it. But there are many of us who are witness to this.
Let me share with you the little thing I learnt in the one month I lived with my much loved father. If you have a parent, aged and vulnerable look after them even if you are not close by. Be mindful of their needs even if you live across oceans.
Because the best way to prevent a fall is to prevent a fall. ”
Get your parents the best caregiver that will take care of them with compassion. Tribeca Care provides support for Elderly parents in Kolkata. Find more information for Elder Care services.