15 January 2017

I fell and I couldn't get up - Another entry in the "Learn from My Mistakes" series

She fell but she had LifeAlert, so she could get up.
After a great and very busy week in one of my favorite places, Mexico City, I was looking forward to a relaxing night at home with the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML this past Friday. I'd been home about two hours when I realized I needed to get something out of my work bag, which was down in my basement office. As I started down our steep wooden, carpet-free stairs, I gave nary a thought to the fact that I was wearing a pair of socks that are all kinds of slippery. This was, with apologies to the great Ron Burgundy, "a bad choice."

As I hit the third to the last step, both feet flew out from under me with a force not seen since Kris Kardashian abandoned all her morals as a parent and sold out her children and I sailed over the last three steps and slammed onto the floor with my back taking the full brunt of the impact. Mercifully, I didn't hit my head and with my lungs struggling to recover from the wind that was knocked out of them, I managed to scream out a stream of mild profanities as the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML came charging down the stairs to see if I was dead. Dead I was not, but pain I was in. I lay on the floor writhing for about 15 minutes before I managed to get up. Once up, every step sent daggers of pain up and down my back, so I decided to make my way upstairs and crawl into bed.

Once in bed, everything hurt. Pain was radiating all over the place. Every movement was a heaping slice of agony. I took a couple of Aleve, which alleviated nothing. A heating pad, even at its lowest setting served only as an invitation to burns on my back. At this point, it was time to throw in the pain towel and try to sleep. Sleep was furtive (my Fitbit showed I was restless 28 times through the night) and at around 530AM, after hearing me cry out in pain yet again, my wife decided it was time to go an urgent care facility. Getting out of bed was an act of contortion that any circus freak would have been proud of. As I finally stood, it was clear I was going to need a spotter. After a couple of steps, my legs gave out and I was down on the floor, now literally unable to move. Like the elderly stars of the LifeAlert commercials, I was not getting up but I had no monitor to push to get someone to get me up. As SML pondered our limited options, she decided it was time to call 911. She called them, explained our dilemma and asked them to not roll up with sirens and lights blaring. Because who needs that drama at 6AM on a Saturday.

In our little town, 911 calls are pretty exciting because we had two policemen in our home before the paramedics arrived. They were an interesting lot, these two. One took the role of determining if I had been drinking, thus causing the fall. He didn't seem to believe my slippery sock story. The other quizzed SML to determine if she had pushed me. Seriously. They were delightful, in the same way Donald J. Trump is delightful.

The paramedics, on the other hand, were great. I was so embarrassed by the position that I was in, both literally and figuratively, and they could not have been cooler. Because of the narrowness of our hallways, a gurney wasn't an option to get me out of the house, so they went with a stair chair. Once they determined they could move me without exacerbating my injury, it took the two paramedics and SML to get me up. I'll admit I hollered like an angry stuck pig as they got me into that chair. They got me downstairs pretty fast and into a gurney. As they got me into the back of their "rig," the paramedic who was driving was excited to tell me that this was the newest rig in the fleet. As far as paramedic rigs go and given my vast (none) knowledge of them, I will tell you I was impressed. As we drove to John Dempsey Hospital (my choice Cantonites - I like that hospital), the attending paramedic took my blood pressure multiple times as it was skyrocketing as they moved me and he was glad to see it lowering.

Once we got to the ER, we were turned over to the hospital staff and shenanigans began. A nurse came in and asked me to put on one of those breezy, flappy hospital gowns. This meant two things for me A) sitting up and 2) taking my fleece over my head and those were two things I was in no condition to do. I told her in no uncertain terms that I wouldn't be doing that. She said, "Oh you're the back guy. It's OK." Darn right it was OK. The ER attending physician came in and said I'd be going to X-ray shortly and then a nurse breezed in with Percocet and a muscle relaxant. Unfortunately for me and the X-ray tech, they took me to X-ray before either pill had kicked in. Going from the gurney to the X-ray table was an exercise in controlled rage. Then when the poor X-ray tech told me I had to roll over onto my left side, to say that I was displeased would be the understatement of the year. Mercifully, she was able to get it done very quickly. I was wiped out at that point and the Percocet was kicking in, so once back in the ER, I was in and out sleep. The doctor returned and told us that the X-rays didn't show a break and that I was, and this is my interpretation because he kept talking about my injury in words that sounded like names of superheroes (lots of words like echo, exo, and skelton), pretty banged up internally and that I was lucky that it wasn't far. At this point, I felt like a total spastic that I had to have the paramedics get me out of my house. He assured me it was a valid injury and that the muscle spasms I was having, and going to have, were heaping piles o'agony. Tell me about it...

So what have we learned from all this:

  • Wearing hospital socks with the grips on the bottom is now a requirement in the house
  • Carpet runners for the stairs will happen and soon
  • Percocet takes far too long to kick in and pales in comparison to the glory of Dilaudid
  • It is stupid to wait hours to get yourself checked after you've hurt yourself

Yep, that's me in the back of the Canton rig

Hospital Thug Uniform 
Learn from my mistakes people, learn from my mistakes.


Utah Ducks Unlimited said...

I am so sorry you are in pain, but I have to say, my life would be dull without your brilliant self in it. I am very thankful you are not permanently injured and am sending love and maybe wine to SML.

susan stewart said...

Having had similar experiences I know the pain.You make everything funny though...why was I laughing??Doesn't feel right somehow.Feel better soon.Bristol Hospital has red socks for people at risk of falling,red is for apples and apples fall.

Franklin Sorenson said...

That's rather an expensive and time consuming way to prove that gravity still works. Speedy recovery.