Hoarding Woes: Turn of Events…..

You never know how a day will end. I went to my Aunt’s today to aggressively take on a significant portion of the driveway. I felt good and figured I would make positive headway. But, my aunt decided to ‘help’ me. As anyone knows that tries to work with a hoarder, things come to a screeching halt. The mess was so smelly and wet that my aunt decided to retreat to finish up a gardening chore she had started yesterday.

I pushed forward and the progress was slow today. The section I dug into had a huge amount of debris and crap atop many layers of tarps and intertwined bungy cords. It took a long time to remove the debris, tarps, visqueen, plywood, bricks atop the wet cardboard boxes and brittle plastic bins. When I finally did make it down into the quad card table/rectangle camping table I found a lot of mildew and mold with very wet conditions. I worked hard on all this mess and accomplished a lot, but in the end I ran out of energy and decided to stop for the day and visit my aunt who was wrapping up her gardening project.

My Aunt 'helping' after the layers of tarps were removed.
Broken down card table quad, camping table remaining...debris
Garbage Bin of Quarters and Grit/Mold

The garbage pail of quarters was setting beneath tarps that were leaking into the pail. The bottom of the pail was cracked and rotten, which I discovered as I lifted the heavy container…it gave way as quarters spilled down into the driveway’s accumulated muck.

Typical mildew on metal pieces
The debris pile reaches the top of the fence
Aunt sweeping moments before disaster

I covered up the remaining pile, deciding to call it a day and visit with my aunt. I went out to see her sweeping up the edging and noticed she had planted flowers and weeded. She very much enjoys her gardening. I snapped the shot of her, went by her carrying a chair to place by her’s on the front porch so we could visit.

I stepped off the porch turned back toward my aunt, and she was down face first atop the stone edging pleading for me to help. I rushed to her and hesitated to move her. Her glasses were twisted and partly pushed into the side of her nose. She was moaning as I asked her where she was hurting and she said her knee. She asked me to help her up.

I secured a chair and brought it near. I considered doing what I knew I should do, let her be and call for help. But, I rolled her and gently lifted her. Back screaming, I lifted her and placed her into the chair. She was in pain. I went into the house to find ice, or frozen veggies. None. I found a frozen container of hot dogs and returned with them as an ice pack. For the next hour I assessed the what if’s. Should I try to see if she could walk into the house after awhile? What if she gets in there and needs to be carried out later? Was there damage to her leg, the knee in particular? The knee was swelling up quickly despite the frozen hot dogs.

After much self debate, I told my aunt I felt we needed to call 911 and have her transported as I did not believe I could load her into my car and drive her so great was the pain.

In the end, I did summon the ambulance and had my aunt transported to OHSU for the usual.

Aunt in hospital. No one is going to remove that wig!

After hours of waiting, the Orthopedic Surgeon arrived. The knee was fractured and the top of the fibula was broken. Osteoporosis and brittle bones. No surgery. Morphine. Not going home tonight. Decisions tomorrow on when she might go home to use a walker and wear an inflatable cast. A walker? Well, that begs the whole issue of wider trails inside the house and making an effort to move stuff that my aunt has never allowed. This disaster will test my aunt and our resolve. 

For all the worrying about my aunt falling over stuff in the house, she ends up falling outside while gardening. 



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