A few months ago I had the misfortune of experiencing a scary situation in my home. I fell twice the 2nd time I had blacked out, so I don’t remember most of what happened. The end result was a broken wrist that is also impacted and tilted back plus a 5″ cut on the back of my head requiring 7 staples to keep closed. The most disturbing and upsetting thing to me is, I was supposed to fly to California in 6 days for a week of beach life. That would not be happening for a few months now. I wish I could explain the chain of events of that evening in my home, mostly for myself, but there are a lot of missing pieces.
I remember the first fall and hurting my wrist. I remember bending over to get a bottle of brandy out of my liquor cabinet. I was going to make a Hot Toddy before bed. When I bent over, I felt like I was really, really drunk, I could barely stand. The next thing I knew I went down hard, and I knew I’d hurt my wrist. I remember not being able to get up since I couldn’t put any weight on that left hand. I was still in the rehab phase of knee surgery on my right knee, plus I’d torn the meniscus again on that knee the previous week in therapy, so I couldn’t kneel on it. I scooted myself on my rear end over to a recliner in order to get up. The next thing I remember is sitting in the entry to my kitchen in broken glass, a pool of blood next to me, the front of my shirt covered in blood, the rug runner had a lot of blood on it, and every time I moved, more blood would drip down the front of me. I didn’t know where it was coming from at this point until I reached my hand to the back of my head. My head did not hurt at all. From that point on it gets very sketchy. I remember things, but not in any kind of order or time frame. There were more things that are unaccounted for to be sure, I just don’t remember them.
- I got a brush and dust pan to clean up the glass
- Decided I should vacuum the floor just to be sure I got it all, I have a cat after all
- Wiping the blood off the floor
- Wrapping a towel around my head so my pillow wouldn’t get full of blood
- Wrapping my wrist in an Ace bandage
- Putting an ice pack on my wrist
- Watching TV as I waited to fall asleep
- Waking up to use the bathroom
- Realizing my wrist was broken due to the amount of pain and not being able to move my fingers without the pain being unbearable
- Deciding to drive myself to the Emergency Room at 4:00 A.M rather than wait until it got light out, why wait I figured.
- Attempting to wash the blood out of my hair in the kitchen sink instead of taking a shower, giving up because it was too matted and didn’t want it to start bleeding again
- leaving a note at my parents house – next door – should my dad, an early riser, see that my Jeep was gone. A note to the effect of; ‘if you go into my house, you may see a lot of blood but don’t worry. I’m fine I am in the ER
In the ER a nurse washed the wound and irrigated it several times. She said it wasn’t deep but the doctor would have a look. He confirmed it wasn’t deep but since it already had opened back up, it needed to be closed. Staples is what he decided, 2 or 3 he thought. He put in 7 and no, I didn’t have any type of anesthetic. As anyone knows, the shots of anesthetic can be worse pain, so I opted out. It wasn’t too bad, it hurt yes, but I’ve been through worse. I think the idea of staples being driven into my head and the sound was the worst part.
Next step was X-rays which confirmed my wrist was broken. The doctor put a splint on wrapped it up and told me to follow up on Monday with an Orthopedic doctor. The staples could be removed in 6 days. I did get a tetanus shot since I didn’t know when my last one was. During this time my mother had called the hospital inquiring after me, I assured her I was fine, they did not need to come get me, and I’d be home shortly. And off I went on my way home.
When I arrived at home, I was once again shocked at all the, carnage, is the word that came to mind. It looked like a crime scene in the kitchen. There was no other way to describe it. There was blood on the island counter, smeared all along the front of the counter trim, on the knob area of the stove was a blob of dried blood, the front of the oven was covered in blood, blood spatter on the wall behind the sink, the switch plate was smeared in blood, there was a pile of blood soaked towels on the floor, my bloody tee shirt, bloody socks and a blood soaked washcloth in the sink. I found more blood on the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen.
My original thought was that I cut my head on the broken glass, however, it wasn’t a big enough glass, or any pieces big enough, to create a cut as long as it was. I discovered another of the same type glass on my nightstand, with the remains of the Hot Toddy in the bottom, so somewhere along the line, I’d gone ahead and made it and drank it. This means I somehow actually went up the stairs, with a glass in my hand, even though stairs are rather difficult for me for a few reasons. The MS makes them difficult especially if I am carrying anything, I am not always stable on them, and because I’d just torn the meniscus again, it was pretty painful so I don’t know how in the world I got up the stairs without falling down them because I must have been even more unstable right? Or one would think with the gash on my head?
After seeing the stove and oven door, I thought, Ah ha! that’s where I hit my head. But…the blood was in between 2 of the knobs and they were not big enough or sharp enough to cause this kind of wound. Then there is the question of, the cut is a fairly straight line from behind my ear, up the back of my head. If I hit my head while falling, I cannot imagine what position I would have been in for the cut to be where it was.
Of course, this is but one of many questions. Why did I black out, was it only twice? why was I not at all concerned about there being that much blood, why did I just go upstairs to bed, how did I get upstairs and not leave any trace of blood on the way, I really walked around enough downstairs to go ahead and make the Hot Toddy?, when and why had I moved the clock radio ahead one hour, (I discovered later that day), why did I think it was OK to drive myself to the hospital, and why did I leave such a cryptic note for my parents? why indeed? A whole lot of ‘whys’ need to be answered!
On that Monday I saw hand specialist at the same facility that my knee surgeon is and that I go for therapy. I love this place because it is, as I like to call it, One Stop Shopping. There are 8 doctors all specializing in different parts of the body (all orthopedic). They have x-ray and MRI facilities there as well as the entire top floor is Physical Therapy, Sports Rehabilitation and Occupational Therapy. I love seeing the doctor, getting your X-Ray done down the hall and returning to the room and your doctor to get the results. Don’t have to waste time with seeing a doctor, scheduling an x-ray somewhere else and making a return visit to find out the results. (you do have to schedule the MRI, that is not done the same day).
Anyway, I had a cast put on and the next day I made the tough decision not to go on vacation. I couldn’t lift anything with that hand and I soon found out I could do very little with it. My thumb was exposed, and my fingers were, but because of how the cast was wrapped, I could just barely touch my first 2 fingers to my thumb. If I did try to do anything using those fingers, it was quite painful. I found I was really fumbling around trying to do things. Pretty much came down to I had 1 hand to do everything with. I could get the staples removed at any ER or Urgent care, but would it be a good idea to go stay in 2 different houses that I’ve never been in before, by myself, for a week? I realized despite how stubborn and independent I am, it really wasn’t the smartest thing to do. I contacted each property and told them what had happened and said that I still wanted to come, but it would have to be at a later date. Both owners were SO understanding, one of them even called me to see how I was. I was so fortunate to have found not only great properties, but fantastic property owners as well.
I have since seen my regular doctor, had a brain CT, echocardiogram, EKG and blood work. Everything came back normal. I had a feeling it would but was relieved none the less. It was, it would appear, just one of those fluke things. I did have some issues with being mildly dizzy any time I bent my head forward for about a week or so, but certainly, nothing like that night. I’m no doctor but my diagnosis was that I had some kind of inner ear thing going on making me so dizzy and loose my balance. It doesn’t explain why I also blacked out, but oh well. It’s done and over and I’m no worse for wear! My parents still bring it up from time to time telling me I’d better never do anything like that again – not let them know. I’ve had some friends get on my case as well for not calling. But that’s just me, I don’t want to bother or worry anyone, which was my thought that night. I figured if I went to the ER before they got up, everything would be fine. Right?
I did go on my trip but I stayed the whole time in just one place and it was the best vacation I’ve ever had, besides Italy. I was thinking about a return trip even before I left, it was Paradise.