My sister typically calls her every day, but our Mom did not answer the phone. (She and I live two hours away from Mom.) So my sister called my brother, who lives a few miles from our Mom, and asked if he would drive to her home to check on her. He did, and found her in back of the house lying in the mud, delirious, knees bloody from dragging herself along the rocks. He called 911 and the paramedics arrived and took her to the hospital.
|Photo of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital from Hollenback Cemetery, across River Street|
It took over 24 hours to get her hypothermia under control and her broken hip was replaced a couple days later. She’s doing fine in a rehab facility now, a week later, and should be home in another week or so. We’re going to get her one of those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” devices. My brother and sister saved her life.
Its brushes with death like this that get you thinking about, well, death. And how to prevent it. And what you would do if it were to happen. Knowing that we’re all going to die doesn’t make it any easier to accept; just like knowing that you must pay the IRS a large portion of your salary doesn’t make it any easier to do.
|Sunrise on the Pennsylvania Turnpike|
|Addition on back of hospital, facing Hollenback Cemetery|
Wilkes-Barre General Hospital is where my father worked as a laborer with a construction company doing building expansion, back in maybe 1990. He died here in 2004, from black lung he got while coal mining. While he was working there on that construction project, a patient jumped to her death off a roof. Death all around. It’s weird how the large Hollenback Cemetery is clearly visible out the hospital’s front windows. You wonder what the patients and their visitors are thinking.
|Hollenback Cemetery, seen from inside Wilkes-Barre General Hospital|
|Beverly Snyder, post-hip replacement|
It may seem morbid that I would be walking around in there with my Mom right across the street in a hospital bed. But it was a way of – believe it or not – getting my mind off things! I needed that distraction! I just wanted an hour to myself without someone throwing lingo like “power of attorney” or “life alert” at me. The photos you see throughout this article are from that visit. As I drove out of the cemetery and headed back to Philadelphia, Neil Young’s song “Long May You Run” came on the radio. You GO, Mom!