Two broken arms and a concrete raised drive-way.

IMG_0154 Driveway

The raised concrete driveway where Helvi stumbled.

People might have wondered why the treats from Oosterman have been a bit sluggish lately. It is not that the words have disappeared or become obstinately peevish through ageing or elderdom, but more a result of a stumble that Helvi took last Wednesday at about the time I was bending over to my last bowling at the Moss-Vale Returned Soldiers Club here in New South Wales’ Highlands.

Helvi had, as has become a daily routine but always together decided, to take our Jack Russell, Milo, for a walk. This time though she thought of doing the walk by herself. The day was very nice with enough chill in the air to wear her padded short coat, sturdy pants, and her knitted beanie. Half way and about a couple of hundred metres from home she took a bad stumble over a raised driveway that had recently been built over the footpath to the main road. As she had not slept all that wonderful the night before which had tired her, she wasn’t looking down to notice the driveway not being level with the grassy verge and stumbled heavily onto this concrete driveway.

It took her at least twenty minutes to get upright. When one is almost an ‘elderly nudging Octogenarian’ to get upright from a horizontal position on a flat concrete surface can be quite  challenging. Milo was sweetly sitting next to her, still tied on his lead  and around Helvi’s hand. Cars drove by but no one stopped. Helvi thought, as is her wont to always think good of people,  that the passing cars did not notice her, or that they thought she was merely frolicking with her dog.  I am more sceptical, and can’t see how an elderly lady would sit on the concrete flat down on her back frolicking! Why did no one stop?

She managed to walk home where a neighbour noticed she was in severe pain and decided to open the door for her. Helvi’s pain was excruciating and could not turn the key. The neighbour called an ambulance and she was taken to the local hospital almost within cooee distance of our home. What foresight to have chosen our home so close, not to one, but two hospitals! My darling Helvi was in so much pain and could not contact me as the neighbour called me on Helvi’s phone number and not mine. After arriving back home I immediately went to the hospital where Helvi was waiting in a chair for X-rays to be taken of her arms. It turned out both are fractured.

She is now in Hospital with both arms in plaster. She hardly ever complains of pain but when she does it is serious. Her care is now needed for 24/24 hrs for the time till her arms are healed and out of plaster. One arm is bad but two? We are promised to get a care plan from the public hospital but we have been advised to shop around and try Baptist Care who are supposed to be good. Last year our Governments ‘aged- care’ package when Helvi was getting chemo therapy came to nothing at all. So… we wait for advice, but will need help.

I am getting advice on what to do but am brushing up on my Florence Nightingale nursing skills and get ready to do my best to care for Helvi as good as I can. We have to get the bathroom modified and lots of other things. I am good at cooking, washing, vacuuming but that is nothing compared what might need to be achieved, what matters are the personal care and keeping Helvi happy.

In the meantime I have to take some action over that raised driveway. Surely that doesn’t comply with safety! I have to go to council next. Never a moment of peaceful retirement, is there?

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41 Responses to “Two broken arms and a concrete raised drive-way.”

  1. freefall852 Says:

    So sorry to hear that news, Gerard…give Helvi my best wishes and regards..and I trust YOU will try to get some sleep…the best for you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. leggypeggy Says:

    I didn’t like this because of the news, but wanted you to know I visited. Give Helvi a hug from us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Hi Gez.

    Please give Helvi our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery. And a pat for Milo.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jennypellett Says:

    Oh, dear, so sorry for poor Helvi. Hope she is a lot more comfortable very soon. Shame on those passing car drivers. What’s wrong with the world?
    Best wishes to you both xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Again, I am so very sorry to hear this, Gerard! 😦
    Poor Helvi! 😦
    It really upsets me that no one stopped to help her. 😦
    Please let her know that we care, and we send our love and best wishes for healing…and for help while it’s needed.
    (((HUGS))) and ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Carolyn. She had pancakes with maple syrup this morning at the hospital. I have to learn to feed her slowly. She has no authority over her body and can’t wipe away her tears which sometime come when feeling both angry and sad. She is so brave and good.

      Liked by 2 people

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        Oh, my heart just aches for Helvi! 😦
        But, she will get through this! She IS brave and good and strong and so many other amazing characteristics!
        You are a good helper, Gerard!
        Give her some gentle hugs for me.
        (((HUGS)))

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Yvonne Says:

    What a bad thing to happen. Two fractured arms leaves Helvi very dependent on your attention for absolutely everything. I hope you hear promptly from the care people, and get some good help and advise. Love from me, and Minx. Tell Milo to be a good little fellow, as usual. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it looks we might go with the Baptist Care people. Next getting the bathroom adjusted. Milo is looking at me and shaking. He either wants to go for a walk or is missing Helvi !
      I remember you had a arm injured while in Napoli.
      We organized someone to clean our place for a few hours every fortnight. She can make beds and wash windows. How’s that?
      Thank you, Yvonne.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. shoreacres Says:

    Oh, Gerard. This news sickened me. Despite all the difficulties inherent in the situation, there is good news: she didn’t break her back, or experience head injuries. Nonetheless, it’s going to be a long slog.

    Another bit of good news may be that even with her other health problems, she’s seemed in pretty good shape. My mother fell while visiting me, and broke both her tibia and fibula. That was in January, and in four months she was back to full functioning — and was able to get around within a month. I hope Helvi has the same good fortune. I’ve been trying to remember exactly how old Mom was at the time, and I’d say she was 80 or 81.

    As my mom’s caretaker during that time, I feel for you. It can seem a little overwhelming. I wish you were real neighbors — I’d be there in a jiffy to help out. A couple of years ago I took a tumble onto a brick sidewalk after tripping over a sprinkler head that hadn’t retracted as it should have. I was mostly undamaged, since I hit my own head on the sidewalk — and that’s possible the hardest part of my body!

    Give Helvi my love, and don’t wear yourself out. I hope you can find good assistance soon. Do let us know how things are progressing, even if it’s only a few words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Linda. A fall whereby she now has no authority or say over her own body. Can’t wipe her own tears or scratch itchy nose.
      The good thing is that she is now soon getting one arm freed from her hard plaster and given some pliable alternative. It is her left arm, which will make a big difference. We don’t know when she will be getting out, hopefully within the next few days.
      Hospital is understaffed so I toilet her and feed her, use Sally Awes tiger-balm to massage her back.
      I’ll let you know how things are going. Thank you for all your well-wishes and kindness.

      Like

  8. freefall852 Says:

    Yvonne said..: “Two fractured arms leaves Helvi very dependent on your attention for absolutely everything. “……..While not wishing to appear frivilous in the face of such calamity, Gerard…I suppose this may be that opportune moment to try out some of those more exotic Dutch cooking recipes you have been wanting to infli…sorry…INTRODUCE..Helvi to but have been rather reticent to tempt fate on….you now have a “captive audience”…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Julia Lund Says:

    I’m so very sorry to read this. I shall be thinking of Helvi and you. I hope her pain quickly subsides and that her healing is swift and without complication. Sending my very best wishes to you both ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Forestwood Says:

    Stumbling like this is so very easy to do, especially as we age. No doubt Helvi will lose a lot of confidence when she is walking on uneven ground now. Do take care – both of you. Why do you need the bathroom modified? My parents are in the same position as you and got RSL Care now Boulton Clarke to help out. They received one of those alarms to wear around their neck in case something like this happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, went to council to complain. Bowral has an ageing population and raised obstacles to walking should not be there.
      The bathroom needed a hand held shower in case she came home quickly. However Helvi is still in hospital with a low blood-count that needs fixing.

      Like

  11. elisabethm Says:

    Oh no! Poor Helvi! Hope she recovers soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. rangewriter Says:

    How awful! Poor Helvi. Poor Gerard. Poor Milo! You will all need to adjust for the coming months. Having both arms out of commission is cruel and unusual punishment for taking the dog for a walk. I wish you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Chris Hunter Says:

    What a bugger. Get well soon Helvi. I had a similar experience on a ‘faulty’ walkway some years ago, breaking an ankle. Not nice.

    On a brighter note – twenty years of Oosterman Treats, congratulations are in order!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It was a bugger, especially when she had a chemo treatment the day before and was given some good news from her oncologist.
      The stumble was unnecessary after so much else.
      Thank you, Chris. Twenty years!
      My goodness.

      Like

  14. Robert Parker Says:

    Very sorry, rotten luck. I know what people say about 20-20 hindsight, but when the bones have knitted – – after a couple of falls in the woods, my parents now always take walking sticks, and are big boosters for them. They’re very light (the sticks, not my folks) and almost like ski poles, and I think they’ve saved them quite a few bruises and maybe worse. I hope you can dig up a decent home aide, some of the ones that helped my grandmother were a tremendous help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Robert,
      The hospital is getting a ‘care package’ together before Helvi is allowed to leave. This depends on her low blood count getting higher. Apart from this Hospital package we will also get another ‘care package’ through the private sector but, probably funded by state government. There is a lot to be organised.
      Yes, we will both get those tall walking sticks. I like the look of them. Who knows, we might be skiing next. Helvi is an optimist who sees a glass always half full.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. janesmudgeegarden Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about Helvi’s misfortune. I fell over in exactly the same way while walking around our area where there are no footpaths and driveways stand proud. I went down like a ton of cement and was quite shocked. Luckily there was no damage and apart from a couple of days of aches, I was right as rain again. It’s so easy to fall in this way, and such a bore to have to walk along thinking about where you’re stepping instead of admiring the scenery.
    I hope Helvi is feeling more comfortable now, and enjoying attention from you!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. algernon1 Says:

    That’s not good news Gerard. A speedy recovery for Helvi. I hope she gets her independence back soon.

    Mrs A fractured an elbow last October and we’re still waiting for the all clear so she can resume activities. Hopefully Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Algernon,
      Helvi just wishes to get rid of that bag of cement she feels she is carrying around her arms. One arm, the left, is now just firmly taped up. I could not believe the bruising, and that is her good arm…

      Like

  17. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Thinking of Helvi, and you, Gerard. Good thoughts for help and healing.
    HUGS for each of you, and PATS for Milo

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Carolyn. Poor Milo knows something is going on. I give him extra treats but haven’t been able to take him for a walk for the last three days.
      Helvi is starting to walk around the corridor with the help of my arm so, that is good progress.
      I am spending all day with her and I am now accepted as a patient and get full board. Today was some kind of lamb-goulash but not a hint of garlic or spices.

      Liked by 2 people

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