On February 6 at 4:30 AM my 98 1/2 year old mother-in-law, Mildred, fell down a flight of steps fracturing 4 vertebrae and sustaining a small brain hemorrhage. She was swiftly and professionally administered first aid by the Gloucester Fire Department, taken by ambulance to Beverley Hospital where she was further stabilized and then transferred to Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital in Boston. After what seemed to me to be a ridiculously short 5-day stay she was discharged to Den-Mar Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Rockport where she currently resides.
I have known Mildred for 55 years, longer than the 53 years I have known her daughter, my wife, Barbara. In fact it was Mildred who “arranged” our first meeting. Before the accident, Mildred had lived with us for nearly 8 years. During all of that time she had been self-reliant, alert and strong.
For the first month at Den-Mar, Mildred was encumbered by neck and back braces. She often drifted away from reality and was frequently not able to participate in the rehabilitation program. Once the braces were removed and she had greater general comfort, she began, very, very slowly to improve. Although she needs assistance, and sometimes gets confused, she can walk for about 10 or 15 minutes at a time, engage in conversation with her fellow residents and show clear signs of the wisdom, humor and compassion that have endeared her to all who know her.
I would like you to meet Mildred through these photos; I hope her story will be an inspiration to all of us when we face tough times. For me, watching Barbara’s devotion to her mother (with whom she shares a birthday) is inspiration enough for a lifetime.
If all continues to go well, Mildred will come home to us next week.