Since July 12, Catherine had fallen three times and subsequently landed a fractured sacrum, and a hairline crack to her hip. I found Catherine sitting in her chair awaiting my arrival. She could not move without experiencing excruciating pain. I thought it best she call her son while the ambulance took her to the hospital. Being very proud, Catherine insisted that her family not be informed. I sat in the emergency area with my old friend for more than 3 hours before a nurse could look in on her. Finally moved to triage, we waited another hour before a series of tests, x-rays, and scans could tell the damage ensued from her falls. I was heading out of town the following morning, and regrettably could not be with Catherine much longer, so once she was issued a room and comfortably sedated, 8 hours had passed, I bid sweet Catherine goodbye. I made the decision to call her son Paul, as I could not imagine Catherine lying alone in a strange hospital. No matter how proud or private she may be, she was someone's mother and deserved her children by her side. When I returned from the weekend, I would find Catherine lying alone and scared to death. There was immense sadness in her eyes, and a hopeless sense about her, believing this was her final curtain call. Of course, I had other plans for her. Visiting every day for 9 days, caring for this old gal seemed as though I was caring for my own mother, and couldn't imagine it any other way. Finally Catherine was discharged and moved to a respite care floor in the building she was living in. Convincing her to be hopeful was a rather difficult task, especially with the amount of pain she was living with. As time went on, I'd take Catherine for short visits up to her own suite, where we watered the plants, checked the mail and collected the newspapers. Eventually Catherine was allowed home, and much preparation had to be done to accommodate her fragile frame, and her weak sense of confidence. She unreasonably feared that her family would find her unfit, place her away somewhere where she would be robbed of the little bit of independence she had left. On the contrary, her sons managed to look in on her, which made all the difference in her recovery.
It was time for Catherine to meet other women her age. I planned a simple old fashioned lunch at our cottage on the lake, invited my dear friend Pat, while my endearing husband Thomas tagged along, as Catherine was quite smitten by his Italian charm! We laughed, opened gifts of friendship, ate a whole lot, and waterlogged ourselves on tea and lemon. Catherine and Pat were very much alike, both being over 75, and shared a great deal in common. Both had lost a sister, Pat's sister was murdered at 33, and Catherine's sister died of a brain tumor at 34, both leaving behind small children and a lingering sorrow shared. Within minutes they had become fast friends.Thomas made the girls giggle with his wit and jokes, and I had the pleasure and honour to dote on these remarkably courageous and classy women for the afternoon.
Not that a higher power encouraged her falls, but without doubt made way for many to carry her through her healing, and convince those like Pat, Tom and I that we need a Catherine in our lives.