More moments captured from “The Day the Wheels Fell Off”


Like a choreographed dance the ambulance arrives as we reach the back door. Someone must be watching over us on a day that feels devoid of any such oversight. The crew ushers my mother into the back of the rig without resistance and rush off leaving us in the eerie stillness of the night sky.


At the local hospital I walk into the ER cubicle where my mother is waiting. She looks so small surrounded by the technology of the emergency room. I take a moment, close my eyes and fill my consciousness with the mother of my youth: tall, brunette and full of life.




But the sound and smell of the ER drags me back to the present. Under those covers and lying on that gurney is a frightened old woman. A woman incapable of understanding the world she currently finds herself occupying.


To the doctors, I describe details: medical history, medications, and her dementia support team. I hear myself in full caregiver role but oddly this time it hits me hard. I’m the perpetual caretaker of my mother’s life. Her history, her allergies, her likes, her dislikes, her hopes, her dreams, her regrets – custodian of all the small and large details of a life’s journey.


Hours pass before the ER doctors release my 80 year-old-mother to the Psych Ward. Protocol requires a security escort and I’m not allowed to go. After this long and emotional day I lean down to give her a hug, it feels appropriate in the moment.


It’s however not my mother’s idea of appropriate. She pulls away grabbing a box of tissues from the table behind me and awkwardly I mumble, “I love you, Mom.”


I watch as the nurse rolls my mother’s wheelchair down the hall, around the corner, and out of sight flanked by two large security guards sporting handcuffs and guns.

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