Sometimes bad news can be such a relief. No, I’m serious. It happened just today to both my mother and me – at the same time.
Almost a month ago, Ash Wednesday to be exact, my mother fell in our driveway at home when we were returning from church. I think she actually fell in the grass, but I didn’t the fall. I kept watching the kitchen door to make sure she made it inside okay before I drive the car into the carport, but she never made it to the porch. I finally got out of the car and found her lying in the driveway. She thought she was okay, but she couldn’t get up from the driveway by herself.
Eventually I did get her up on her feet and she was able to put her weight on her right leg and hobble into the house. She also insisted that it was very sore, but didn’t hurt that bad. We got her to her recliner and she was able to get up and down from that by herself so I thought she was just badly bruised.
But she didn’t get better. In fact she got seemed to get a little worse and after two weeks of hobbling from chair to bathroom to bed (repeat) I took her to the doctor and she was X-rayed. The doctor checked her out and confirmed that she was very badly bruised and it would take a long time to recover. He wrote her a script for a mild pain-killer and we went home.
A week later she was complaining that the pain-killer wasn’t really killing the pain. This was three weeks since the fall. So I called the doctor’s nurse and said I think she needs more tests. The nurse made an appointment with the Orthopedist, and that’s where we went today lugging all her meds, her cane, her purse, her insurance info, and her X-rays.
When the doctor came in he asked mother what was bothering her. She told him she had fallen and was still in pain. He took one glance at the X-ray and said, “Oh well here’s why, your hip is broken.” We were stunned. What? But why didn’t? Well at this point it didn’t matter. At least we knew, and somehow knowing was a tremendous relief. Okay, now we know what we are dealing with and we don’t have to worry that it is something else – some unknown evil lurking and causing havoc to her bones, her muscles, her tendons, her joints.
He sent us down to get another X-ray on his machine just to be sure. When the tech took the shot I said, “Wait! You forgot to ask us if there was any change we were pregnant!” She thought that was really funny but dutifully asked mother, “Ms. Vernon, is there any change you might be pregnant?” We all laughed. Even though she never asked me and I was standing right there for heaven’s sake.
When the doctor saw the new X-ray he confirmed that her right hip was broken where the thigh bone turned into the ball of the hip. Normally he would have made a date for surgery to put four little pins in the bone to hold it together while it healed, but after four weeks of being broken, the bone still hadn’t fallen off. That’s what he kept saying, “It didn’t fall off.” So he felt it was healing on its own and didn’t require surgery. If it does fall off, then she will have to have surgery but he assured me that if this happened she would be in so much pain that there would be no way she could hide it and no question of calling an ambulance. So he sent us home. We come back in two weeks for another X-ray.
She did get a brand new walker out of the deal. I don’t think she was thrilled about that, until she tried it and it was so much easier and felt so much better that she was like a kid with a new car. She came in hobbling at a snail’s pace and left as Speed Racer! No kidding, I almost couldn’t keep up.
So there was good news and there was bad news. The bad news was that her hip is in fact broken. The good news is that it is in fact already well on its way to healing by itself. The bad news is that she has to use a walker at least for a while. The good news is that it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as hobbling with the cane and she is much faster getting around. We both left feeling relieved and with smiles on our faces.
Today’s reading is Romans 4: 13-18, 22. I’ll give you a minute to go read that one and try to figure out how I will relate all this to the letter. Go ahead, I’ll wait….
Abraham thought his life was all but over, and yet God still intended that Abraham would be the father of many nations. There was still life in the old man yet. For many older people a broken hip is the beginning of the end. Sometimes they just give up, but there is still life left in my mother. She is already bouncing back and getting ready to celebrate her birthday in August when she will be 89 years old.