Mom had a bad week. She had an ultrasound and it turns out her sternum is cracked. The doctor gave her tramadol for the pain.
She's also been having problems with being very shaky, not just unsteady on her feet but shaky in general. I actually didn't notice anything like that when I was there at Christmas, but she said it's getting worse. Tuesday she couldn't walk very far at all, even using the walker, and she sounded really confused when I spoke to her on the phone. She hadn't been down to the dining room at all for meals because she couldn't walk that far (they were bringing meals to her apartment), and couldn't sleep. My brother and sister were talking about looking for assisted living homes for her to move to, and getting a motorized wheelchair for her.
I was pretty upset at work. I can't help but think that, at her age, any serious physical problem might be the end. I walked around at work that day all teary, trying to lose myself in thinking about work stuff so I wouldn't just worry pointlessly. It was hard. That night when I called she said she couldn't do the crossword puzzle she does every day, which scared me a lot.
But on Wednesday things got better. The tramadol was messing with Mom's brain, she stopped taking it and has been herself again. Her doctor thinks the shakiness is because of a thyroid problem and is sending her some new medication. He also arranged for a home health nurse to check on Mom a couple of times a week, and a physical therapist to help her get back to walking (with a walker) again.
I spoke with the nurse ("You're her daughter? Oh, your mother is just so sweet!") and they seem to think she'll be fine, that with the medication and therapy she won't need a wheelchair. The physical therapist told Mom she'd be walking to the dining room again within a week. Mom said she was going to throw away the tramadol.
In the meantime, she hasn't left her apartment, but her friends Mickie and Wilma and Marie are coming by to visit and help her out, which cheers her up.
I'm trying to calm down about the whole thing, but it annoys me tremendously to be so far away and to not know every single detail about exactly what is happening. Despite multiple phone calls and emails with my sister, I still don't understand what the doctor thinks is wrong with her thyroid and why it would cause her to be so shaky. But things are definitely better.