SoCS: sad shape

It’s actually Friday and I just read the prompt which is the word “shape”.  I figured I needed to write now, because my time is very unpredictable these days, so here we go.

My mother-in-law is in sad shape. I don’t know if that is a term that people are using now or not. I remember hearing it when I was growing up.

A backache she woke up with on Sept. 7 tuned out to be from a compression fracture of her L1 vertebra. By the time we got to the neurosurgeon and they did an MRI, the vertebra had collapsed. She spent two days in the hospital in order to have a procedure where they inject bone cement to stabilize the bone fragments. If the procedure had been done when it was still a compression fracture, they would have put balloons in and injected the cement to stabilize and shore up that vertebra, but once it is collapsed, it isn’t possible to retain the function. Also, the chance for fast pain relief would have been much better.

As it is, progress is very slow. She is on strong pain meds and does best when she is lying down, except that she needs to be up and about to get stronger so that she can start physical therapy and build her core muscles and leg muscles so that she can function and perform daily tasks.  Unfortunately, she didn’t have a big appetite before and this has reduced her to not having an appetite at all, so she has lost weight. It’s all turned into a muddle of meds and side effects and one thing making another thing harder to do.

As you might expect, my spouse and I have been up there a lot and have been bringing her to appointments and running errands and talking to the health professionals and trying to get her to eat and helping with laundry and bringing in the mail and so forth.

This afternoon, I kind of hit the wall. I can’t tell the whole story – privacy and such – but I do think that I may finally have gotten her to realize that she has to be the one to actually make up her mind to get better.  She has to stop saying “I know I need to eat and drink more” and actually do it, instead of making excuses. If she doesn’t, she isn’t going to maintain her weight, much less gain what she needs to. She has to want to get stronger and make up her mind to do it, instead of putting energy into self-pity.

We can’t do this for her. She has to do it for herself.

I am exhausted by it all and really wanted to have a good cry about it, but couldn’t quite manage it.  The eyes watering while cutting up some onions to make ham and scalloped potatoes for dinner doesn’t count.  Maybe later…

This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. Join us! Find out more about it here:

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Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

10 thoughts on “SoCS: sad shape”

  1. I think it’s pretty darn good that you were able to write this post with all that’s going on. But maybe you needed to write this, so you could get some of it out. Like, it’s amazing that you were cooking ham and scalloped potatoes with onions. But maybe you needed the distraction of cooking and the onions to help release some tears? Remember to take care of you!


    1. You’re right that I did need to write this, and the stream of consciousness helped to get it out without the lengthy thought/write/edit process I usually do with my posts. Being able to make dinner at home was nice – we have been variously eating with my mother-in-law, bringing food in or picking it up from the dining center at her senior community – and ham and scalloped potatoes is comfort food, something my mom used to make when we were growing up. I am trying to take care of myself, too, but I admit that I am tired.


  2. I agree with JoAnne; you need to take care of you as well. It’s difficult to remember that sometimes. I do hope you’ve managed to convince her that she needs to help herself. State of mind is essential in these things. I wish you all the best, Joanne.


    1. Thanks, Linda. Unfortunately, any progress I thought I had made Friday evaporated yesterday, which was a bad day for her. She has always tended toward pessimism, which is unhelpful when the going gets rough. We stayed home this morning and raked some leaves. Not sure what the afternoon will bring.


  3. Stress is chaos, thus like trying to keep a sandcastle intact during a storm. Letting go is harder still, go figure, but perhaps, just maybe, you let some of that sandcastle crumble yesterday…good for you Joanne. You are right about people having to take responsibility for themselves…in so many matters. Prayers of strength for you all.


      1. I have not experienced a fracture like this myself but have seen many patients when I was in Home Health suffering with these fractures. The pain could be terrible. I hope she has some healing soon.


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