“Can we go in and see her?” John had just arrived at the hospital after hopping the first flight he could out of Ottawa. He still had his coat on and was wheeling his suitcase behind him as he came into the waiting area. Catherine noticed his hair was tousled and his eyes were red. It was scary seeing her brother like this as he was always so calm and well put together. “Not yet. They’ve taken her for another test.” Catherine was fidgeting with the hem of her sweater, absolutely guilt ridden. “I can’t help feeling like this was all my fault.”
“Stop blaming yourself,” John said as he looked around the room at nothing in particular. Catherine couldn’t tell if he was reassuring her or himself. Finally, John took a seat beside her. “Where’s James? Is he on his way?” Catherine sighed, “I just got off the phone with him. He’s trying to figure a few things out. I even offered to cover the cost of the flight, but he seemed hesitant. I’m supposed to hear back any minute.” The two of them sat quietly for a moment, Catherine still preoccupied with her sweater, and John bouncing his left leg with impatience.
“She’s back in her room now.” Charlie’s voice seemed to come out of nowhere, startling both Catherine and John who were lost in their thoughts. John was ashamed that he hadn’t even thought to look for his dad when he came in. “It’s good to see you John, I hope the flight was ok.” John got up and hugged his father. “The flight was fine. How’s mom doing…how are you holding up?” Charlie let out a nervous chuckle. “Don’t you worry about me. Mom’s doing ok. She’s been in and out. No clear answers yet.”
“James might be on his way, Dad. I’m not sure yet.” Catherine took her phone out of her pocket and checked to see if she had missed a text. She hadn’t. “Can we go in and see her now?,” John asked as he paced across the floor.
“I just got kicked out of the room for a bit as they set things up for her in there. The nurse told me she’d come and get us when they’re done. She’s in a lot of pain and pretty foggy, but medically stable. That’s the good news.” Catherine and John both let out a sigh of relief.
“So, what’s going to happen next?,” John asked hesitantly. Charlie raised an eyebrow, “What do you mean?” “Well, you and mom were set to move into the new place in less than three weeks. I suppose that isn’t going to happen now,” John explained. Charlie scoffed. “Well, we can’t exactly go back to the house, so I guess we’re just going to have to figure things out at the new place.” Catherine shook her head. “What if mom can’t live at the new place? After this, she’s probably going to need long term care. I’ve been trying to do a bit of research…hold on, there goes my phone.” Catherine took the phone out of her pocket and made her way towards the hall to get better reception as John and Charlie continued the conversation.
“Can you get your deposit back dad?,” John asked worried. “Of course not! And what are you two worrying about? We haven’t even heard from the doctors yet. You two are getting way ahead of yourselves.” Charlie shook his head. From what he knew so far, Hazel had hit her head pretty severely and there was swelling. She had also broken two ribs. But no one had mentioned anything about a diagnosis, prognosis, let alone long term care needs. It seemed as if she simply had an “oopsie” as Hazel would call it. “I think we just need to focus on letting the doctors do their thing right now and get mom back to normal.”
“But what if back to normal isn’t possible dad?” John’s voice shook.
“James is on his way.” Catherine announced as she made her way back into the room, only to see her brother and her dad quietly staring at the floor.
Sudden injuries to loved ones can cause all sorts of reactions in families, as they struggle to get answers and know what the next steps might be. Hospitalization can be a time of panic for many, but also a time where families can come together to support and reassure one another.
John and Catherine are panicking, thinking that their mother may require additional care and how that might impact the upcoming move. Charlie seems to prefer the “wait and see” approach. Perhaps Hazel’s care needs can be adequately met in the new place with some supports. What are your thoughts? Be sure to share them below.