Yesterday morning, I got news that my maternal grandma had fallen while playing ping pong at the senior living apartments where she lives. She plays ping pong regularly with the people there, and is reigning champion. I guess what had happened was that she fell mid-game, hit the back of her head on the ground, and then another person fell on top of her. She experienced dizziness and trouble standing/walking, but refused to let them call for an ambulance. So my mom was contacted early Sunday morning, she and my dad rushed over, and THEY called 911. By the time I found out about this, mom, grandma, and a family friend were already at the ER.

Grandma was released later the same day — no concussion, no evidence of blood clot/stroke/aneurism, but she did sustain a minor lower back fracture. There’s no way to put a cast on that, so she was given painkillers and told to take it easy. I called my grandma to check on her soon after my parents took her back to her apartment. “It’s the first time I’ve ever ridden in an ambulance!” she told me with almost child-like glee. She explained that there was nothing else wrong with her except for the small fracture, and that she considered the event an opportunity to get her entire body checked, and came out clean. Such a well-adjusted tough old bird. “Your mom was soooo mad at me,” she said discreetly.
“Why would she be mad?!” I asked. Grandma didn’t get into it, but soon got off the phone to take her usual afternoon nap. I figured she misunderstood my mom’s concern.

I talked to my mom today, and mom mentioned that grandma had been really happy I’d called her. I said, “She said you were mad at her!”
“I was sooooooo mad at her!” my mom corroborated.
“You were? Why?”
“She’s a 91-year-old woman, she was already scheduled to have foot surgery on Tuesday, and I TOLD her to stop doing stupid things like playing ping pong! She doesn’t listen! She’s like a child! And you know when she plays sports, she’s aggressive and competitive, she won’t just play casually. This isn’t even the first time she fell. And the person she plays with! They’re always fighting for the ball and pushing and shoving each other. I told her to take it easy and not play but she said she won’t be able to play after her foot surgery so she wanted to get this last game in!” I could picture my grandma (who taught me my killer unreturnable serve, but whom I’ve NEVER been able to beat at either ping pong or tennis despite being 1/3 her age), crouching low at her end of the ping pong table, eagle eyes keen on the ball, about to slice some poor ball invisible before it whacks the opponent on an unsuspecting body part.
“Is she still going to do the foot surgery tomorrow?”
“Yeah, I’m taking her tomorrow. She’ll have to rest completely for a month or so after the surgery, and I told her to take it easy NOW and not go out, because if her driving is impaired by her back fracture and she gets into an accident, she’ll cause more damage to herself AND to someone else. But when I called her earlier, she DIDN’T PICK UP THE PHONE! So she didn’t listen to me AGAIN and SHE WENT OUT! I’m SO MAD!!”
“You don’t know that, maybe she was napping and didn’t hear the phone.”
“She didn’t call me back and I left a message!”
“Did you try her cell phone?”
“No, because I know her — if she’s driving and her cell phone rings, she’ll pick it up! So I never call her when she may be driving.” My mom’s unsaid I-told-her-not-to-drive-and-talk-but-she-doesn’t-listen hung in the air.
“So what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to wait until closer to her nap time and then call her again. She’s just like a kid!” Someone’s gonna get yelled at. Poor grandma.

Mr. W found this whole thing to be HILARIOUS. Not grandma’s fall and injury, of course, but the whole dynamic between my mother and her mother. “Let her live and have fun!” he said.
“Not if it’s causing her injury and risking her life,” I said. I agree with my mom on that point. But mom and I are more conservative than Mr. W and, apparently, grandma.
“I wish I hung out bars where people play ping pong and stuff so I can actually say to people, ‘You call that playing ping pong? My grandma could beat you!’ ”
“Um, people don’t play ping pong at bars.” Maybe in Chicago, where he’s from. But that is a pretty cool concept. We’d tell some cocky table tennis player that my grandma could whip your ass at this thing, and then we’d go to the car and bring out nonegenarian grandma, and she’d proceed to whip his ass with lightning ball blurs. King’s Court was never fun with Grandma, cuz she’d beat me and every one of my friends in succession, then gawk at us when we’re too tired to keep playing her.

If she recovers soon and defies my mom again to play ping pong with the same ridiculous competitive pro attitude, I’m gonna try to video her and post it on YouTube.