Tuesday night, I was in bed, reading a book and getting sleepy, when my phone rang. It was 10pm, so I knew it was not a normal call. Sure enough, it was Dad. His voice was shaky as he told me he was following an ambulance to the hospital. Mom had fallen down the stairs. I asked him if it was a bad fall (as if any fall down the stairs isn't), and he said it was, that she was in bad shape. He said that he would call us as soon as he had any news, and he asked me to let sister Angie and brother Darren know what was going on. He figured they were both asleep and didn't want to wake them up.
My mind was all over the place as I hung up the phone. Daughter Melody, who was still awake and had heard my phone, came in the room and I told her what was going on. She quickly texted Angie and we found out she was awake, so we called her. I told her what was going on, and asked if she could come over to our house (she lives a mile away) and stay with Melody while I went to the hospital. She said she would. I quickly got dressed, and headed out the door with a mug of coffee as Angie arrived. Angie told me that Darren had texted her and said he was on his way to the hospital, too.
I got to the hospital in 20 minutes. It was raining hard, just a lousy all-around night, but I found a parking spot near the Emergency Room. I saw Dad in the waiting room right away, and he looked very surprised to see me. I asked if he knew anything yet, and he said he hadn't, but he relayed what had happened.
Mom was going up the stairs with her hand full. She wasn't holding the handrail. She had a box of nail polish in her hands. She lost her balance about ten stairs up, and fell backwards. There is a wall at the bottom of the stairs, and she slammed hard against it. She never lost consciousness, she said. Dad was in the basement and heard her fall, and he raced up to find her. She was in serious pain, and nauseous. Dad called 911, then asked her what happened. She told him.
The EMTs arrived quickly, and took charge. She was in too much pain to move herself, and in order to be safe, the EMTs put her on a backboard. Once she was loaded into the ambulance, they took her vitals and stabilized her before leaving for the hospital. Dad wanted them to take her to the hospital the normally use, but they told him that, because she had fallen more than five stairs, they had to take her to a trauma center, and the closest was in the opposite direction, a hospital with a terrible reputation.
Mom had a bad gash on the back of her thigh, in addition to severe back pain. It turns out that many of the bottles of nail polish had broken and she landed on the shattered glass. The back pain was the real concern, though. She had feeling in her extremities, and while she could move her legs and feet, she could not sit up.
After waiting with Dad for about an hour, they let us go back to see Mom. Because of security concerns at the hospital, we had to be escorted. Mom was alert, but very uncomfortable. The initial CAT scan indicated a compression fracture to the L-2 vertebrae, and the gash in her thigh required stitches. We chatted for a bit, and Mom shared a few details about the fall from her perspective.
Darren had arrived, and they only allowed two of us in the trauma room at a time. I said goodbye to Mom and headed back to the waiting room. I gave Darren a quick update, and then he went back to see her. Darren came back out about 30 minutes later, and told me that they were going to do the MRI and were planning surgery. That was a surprise to me. Darren was going back to Mom & Dad's house to crash and make sure the house was locked up, since Dad couldn't remember if he even shut the front door. Darren had to work early the next morning.
I walked him out, then awaited security to escort me back to the trauma room. That was when I got the details from Dad. The doctors feared that there may be internal bleeding, and they were going to do an emergency MRI in order to see if they needed to do immediate surgery.
At 2:30am, they took Mom out for the MRI. Dad and I waited. I was happy that I had brought a mug of coffee, since it was keeping me awake. I kept talking to Dad to keep him distracted and awake. The nurse brought Mom back in about 45 minutes. It was another 30 minutes until the doctor arrived to give us his prognosis. He said that they were ruling out surgery, at least for now, that she was bleeding enough to be a concern. Mom was getting pretty drowsy from the pain meds, and since nothing else could be done that night, we agreed to go home and catch some shuteye. Dad planned to be back by about 9am to meet with the doctors. I had a dermatologist appointment the next day, so I was able to get out of work for the day. We said goodnight to Mom, and Dad and I went out to the parking lot.
I told Dad to keep me updated on things, and I went home. Angie was still awake and watching TV when I walked in. It was 4:30am. I normally got up at 4:40am on weekdays. I gave Angie all the information I had, and sent her home to sleep. Then I went to sleep. I was up an hour later to get Melody up and ready for school, and I gave her an update on Mom. At 6:30am, I called the folks at work to let them know what was happening, then I tried to sleep a bit more.
More to come on this story. Mom will have surgery tomorrow (Friday) afternoon. Good night.