Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • The phone woke me Sunday morning. My 92-year-old grandmother had fallen. The nursing home staff let me know they’d taken her by ambulance to the hospital for x-rays. I wiped the sleep from my eyes and stammered through morning breath that I was on my way.

    I walked into her hospital room 45 minutes later and announced myself to the two nurses entering vitals into the computer. “Hi. I’m her granddaughter. How is she?”

    “Do you know if she has a DNR order?”

    I looked over at my grandmother, smiling from her hospital bed, happy to see me. She had a blood pressure cuff attached to her arm, but was otherwise unencumbered. “Hi, Mimi. How are you?” I asked, ignoring the nurses.

    “Oh, I’m just fine. I’d be better if I could go home.”

    I turned to the nurses and told them I didn’t know whether she had a DNR. It certainly couldn’t be relevant at this moment. They continued filling in data boxes while I sat down next to my grandmother. “Do you hurt?”

    “No,” she said slowly as I watched the wheels turning in her mind. I knew immediately that her dementia was in charge.

    “I got a call this morning that you fell.”

    She stared at me blankly. “I must have hurt my hands,” she said and held them up for inspection. I stared at them with her, checking for injury, though I already knew from the nursing home that it was her hips they were worried about. She’d complained of them being sore as they lifted her from her bathroom floor and called an ambulance. We were here to assess whether she’d had a stroke and/or fractured any bones. But I humored her anyway and examined her hands.

    “They don’t look swollen. Do they hurt?”

    “No, not a bit,” she said.

    “How about your hips? Or your legs? Do they hurt?”

    “No,” she answered warily.

    “Well, I think they want to do a couple of x-rays and make sure you didn’t hurt yourself.”

    She held her hands out in front of her again. “Well, they look fine.
    My knuckle might be a little swollen.”

    I peered at her hands again. “Maybe a little. Do they hurt?”

    “No, not a bit.”

    “What about your legs? Or your hips? Do they hurt?”

    “No. Is that why I’m here?”

    “Yes. You fell this morning. Do you remember that?”

    I could see by the confusion crossing her face that she didn’t remember. But Mimi was a master bluffer and always answered carefully, trying to cover the fact that her memory was failing.


    “Well, the doctor just wants to do some x-rays and make sure you didn’t fracture anything.”

    She held her hands out in front of her. “Well, I’m sure I didn’t. My hands look fine to me.”
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.