Another First and, Hopefully, the Last

I had just gotten up and was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when I heard Kate scream. I was close, so I got there in a flash. She had gotten out of bed and fallen between a chair and the bedside table. She was frightened and hadn’t yet tried to get up. I first checked to make sure she wasn’t injured. She didn’t have any cuts or scratches. I asked if she was hurting. She wasn’t.

Having decided she was all right physically, I helped her into a sitting position before considering the best way to get her up. My first thought was to lift her from behind with my arms under her shoulders. The moment I put my arms in place, she yelled at me to stop. I had another idea. She was sitting by a chair, and I thought I might be able to get her on her knees with her arms in the seat of the chair and then help her up. She wasn’t able to understand or follow my instructions. That led me to think of getting her on her hands and knees. Then I might be able to lift her. She couldn’t understand that either even though I demonstrated several times.

I tried to lift her. She was frightened and wouldn’t cooperate with me. I have known others who faced this situation. They had called the fire department for help. I called 911 and explained the situation. I specifically mentioned the fire department, but the person I spoke with said they had to call EMS. I told her that was fine, but there was no need for a siren.

In less than five minutes, the doorbell rang. It turned out the EMS crew was in the neighborhood when they got the call. I briefed the young woman, Heather, and man, Kevin, on Kate’s Alzheimer’s. I explained that she can’t follow explanations and that she appeared to have suffered no physical injuries. In took almost no time for them to get her up and back in bed. Kevin got behind her with his arms under her shoulders while Heather positioned Kate’s legs. She responded the way she did when I tried; however, he moved more quickly than I did. She was on her feet in no time.

They asked her if she was all right. She said she was. Then she looked over and saw me. She apparently did not remember that I had been there at all. She immediately looked relieved and reached out to hug me. Kevin helped her into bed. She looked up at the two of them standing by the bed and expressed her appreciation. That was a few minutes before 8:00. She is still in bed at 11:30. All is well.

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