The Silent Afflictions - Rachna cooks
The Silent Afflictions

The Silent Afflictions

elderly osteoporosis

She was hale and hearty. A bit overweight but all women of her age generally were. A happy and friendly soul she was. In her late 40s, she was in the prime of her life. It was a routine morning. The children were off to college and the husband was getting ready to leave. She went for a bath after hanging her clothes just like it was her regular routine.

The bucket had already been filled with water. As she bent forward to pour a mug of water, she slipped and fell. She tried to hold on to something to break the fall but apparently she must have not succeeded. She cried out in pain as she lay on the bathroom floor unable to move. Her husband carried her onto the bed as she was unable to stand.

A trip to the hospital later, it was found that she had fractured both her femur (thigh bone) and her radius and ulna (bones in the arm). They were not only fractured but shattered in multiple places. With rods fitted and heavy casts on the arm and leg, she came home in an ambulance. Yes, I am talking about my mother.

It was after this incident and the prolonged recovery during which she lost her father that had a spiralling effect on her health that went downhill from there. Depression was one of the by-products. She did recover but not completely and it took her years. What had kick-started this decline was the silent killer called osteoporosis which also means brittle bones. Apparently my mother was suffering from it and none of us had any clue of it.

Unlike today, we did not have health checks back in those days. Mums hardly ever exercised, forget weight-bearing exercises that arrested the loss of bone mass which afflicts women post-menopause. In those days, women did not care much for their own health, eating at odd times, putting the health of everyone in their family above their own.

We found out the hard way that she had a calcium deficiency and lack of Vitamin D (I got that some time back and it was horrifying) that aggravated her stagnating bone health. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

You will find the elderly especially women very prone to fractures and other bone-related issues due to osteoporosis. Please do monitor the health of your elders especially your parents and grandparents. Get them regularly checked and ensure that they get adequate supplements.

After all, we need to preserve these precious, fragile lives in their twilight years.

This is my entry for Day 3 “Fragile Lives”  prompt in Blog-A-Thon by Blog-A-Rhythm

weight not important

Featured Image courtesy: A and N photography at Shutterstock


34 thoughts on “The Silent Afflictions

  1. We recently had this happen with my grand mother. At 93 her recovery is going to be hard. But yes My mom has Osteoporosis and The amount of care that she has to take makes me wonder how did women do it in the days that modern day benefits were not available.

    1. At 93, it will be really difficult. I am sure a lot of our mothers and grandmothers suffered from many debilitating problems.

  2. Indeed we have to preserve precious lives in their twilight years.. and you are right mums always thought of others first before looking after themselves..

  3. Sorry to hear about your mother. It’s sad how one small thing leads to another and becomes a huge incurable malady. This vitamin D deficiency is way more common than we think. The other day my doctor SIL called me to admit very shamefacedly that she was suffering from it too and she’d given me such a firing when I tested low on Vitamin D! The thing is we all need to keep track and get regular tests done.

    1. Wow! Imagine that. I agree with you. It is way too common and so distressing. Also a shame as we are blessed with so much sunshine in India. Absolutely, getting regular tests is the only way of knowing if we are maintaining healthy levels. Thanks, Tulika.

  4. Hey Rachna,

    This is something I am talking about from so many days now. This is because I am witnessing many Women around having the same issues. I feel the same that they ignored their own health for the sake of others. The awareness was also missing in those days- No proper medication, no fitness regime and no tests.

    1. Absolutely, Upasna. There was no awareness in those days and our moms really neglected their healths. I am so happy that we are better aware. After all that is the first step to safeguarding our health.

  5. I feel your pain, Rachna. You know, a majority of women suffer from osteoporosis and a majority of people suffer from vitamin D deficiency with no idea at all, sometimes throughout their lives. Part of the cause is childbirth for women and in general, a lack of sunshine and of course, nutrition. I have a severe D deficiency and osteoporosis too, which is why I never skip exercise.

    A huge warm hug to you. I can imagine how it must hurt to replay the situation – because one never comes to terms with what happened. Sending you love.

    1. Thanks, Vidya. For the hug and warm words too. I am so happy that you are taking such good care of yourself. I am also worried that I may get osteoporosis especially with my already thin bones. Doing weightbearing exercises and taking supplements. Let’s see how that goes.

  6. We need more awareness about diseases that women are prone to like osteoporosis… Iwould sugges annual health check but I guess women in countryside can hardly avail that such facility. My friend too recently came to know that she suffers from vit D deficiency.

    1. It is crazy, almost every person I know has Vit D deficiency. I think it is an epidemic and we surely need to have more awareness drives and thinking around this problem.

  7. You know Rachna, I am currently reading a lot on the subject and I feel so bad that we know so little about it. Shouldn’t our daily diet and regime be a compulsory part our education? My mother is 64 and she’s been diagnosed with OA and OP. Knee replacement is recommended and of course weight loss….but how do you exercise when you can barely walk? Indeed a vicious cycle!

    1. Oh yes! I think her physiotherapist could help her out with exercises suitable for her. Yes, health should indeed be a part of a curriculum.

  8. My mom has very weak bones and she just doesn’t listen. I don’t know how to make her. I can’t say I know your pain, Rachna. But I know it’s painful to see your mother unwell. It was too depressing for me when my mother had that fracture two years back. Women are specially susceptible to Osteoporosis and we need to take care of our health too. I’m under treatment for Vitamin D deficiency and it is scary.

    1. It is such a common problem now, Naba. I hope you are taking your supplements. It will take about 3 months — 6 months for your Vit D deficiency to get better. And hopefully you will be more conscious. As far as parents are concerned, I understand how they can be so stubborn. I just hope she is taking all her supplements.

  9. I am so sorry about your mom! Sad that she had to go through so much of suffering. My mother was diagnosed with osteoporosis few years ago, she was on Alendronate along with supplements for a long time. Her weight created further issues. She is better but fending off falls is our main concern because you just cant get back the old bone strength and balance. Yes, taking care of ourselves from early on is crucial!

    1. True. It is very difficult to address this problem once we are elderly if we don’t start in our 30s. I hope your mom gets better, Shilpa.

  10. It was indeed a very thoughtful post Rachna. Putting other’s family needs prior does this to so many women. And sure after a certain age, the bones become weak and there exists a deficiency of vitamin D.
    Thanks for writing this one!

    Hugs to you 🙂


    1. Oh, it is really rampant. Watch your Calcium and Vitamin D levels and those of the elderly women in the family. All women must.

  11. Indeed! This is what happened to my aunt – she just turned 60 and she had a similar fall in the bathroom; and ended up with 11 fractures. It turned out that she has severe osteoporosis and recovery is going to take a really long time.

  12. My Naani fell in the bathroom and broker her hip. And then went steadily downhill after that. Osteoporosis is a terrible thing. Mom has it too 🙁

  13. So much we need to be wary of. I really think health should top everyone’s list. On priority. Hugs to you. I know how difficult this must have been to write.

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