Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Be Careful...

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.
After nearly three months "home bound" and rarely leaving the house, Workers' Comp decided I no longer needed an aide, therefore I am no longer stuck in the house-I have been freed! I can drive short distances, like to physical therapy.
I felt like a bird whose cage has suddenly been opened.
I decided I had to do something exciting now that I was out. I chose the Annual Neighborhood Progressive Christmas Dinner for my exciting event. It is a party that follows Christmas. We start at one house for appetizers, a second for salad, a third for entrees, and a final house for dessert. The celebrants include everyone who live in the fifteen houses in our little Historical District, kids, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, grandparents, partners, anyone who happens to be around. It is a chance to catch up in winter, when most of us hibernate. 
For me, the exciting part was to be getting all dolled up to go-my first shower alone, nice clothes, make up, real shoes-as opposed the my 5x sweats and Birkenstocks I've been hanging out in. I planned go out and knock my neighbors dead with my whole get up. A few had all seen me grubby, cranky, and in pain, most had not seen me at all for the few months. Now I would have the opportunity to show off a bit, my whole weight loss, my one set of nice clothes that fit. And I knew it would get me out among people, a real struggle in my present life.
I was looking forward to it all week. Saturday dawned gray and gloomy, but I was happy. I went to physical therapy, discovered that driving on bumpy roads (the only kind we have in CT) is quite painful. I didn't care. Came home, took a nap, then a shower. In my 5x bathrobe, I wandered into the kitchen to start making the appetizer I was taking. My time line was set: make food, get dressed, find and apply makeup, find shoes, take cane and food and set off up the street.
Thinking of all this, I opened a my pantry door, reached in, then felt myself take a small step backwards, then another larger step. First I was surprised. Then the news flash sliced through my brain: "Oh sh*t, I am out of control."  And in that split second, I was. I reached for the doorknob, and missed. Blasting through my head was a mantra like cry: "Don't fall on your right shoulder!" I turned left, aiming for the table. My feet seemed to have a life if their own, pirouetting in a complex series of shambling moves over which I had no control. I missed the table because I was now moving faster and faster, reminiscent of an out of control whirling dervish.
By now I knew that I was going to go down. Unfortunately I was headed towards the edge of the kitchen counter. After that things got too complicated to document clearly. I know I hit the edge of the counter, turned enough to eventually land on my (left) buttock. Somehow or other, I scraped my inner arm (left), banged my left chin and shoulder, then landed on the floor, hitting my head on the pantry trim on the way down.
When everything came to a stop, I lay on the floor, holding the top of my head, trying to assess where I hurt. At first I thought I had just banged my shoulder and head. But when I sat up there was blood on the floor. I took my hands away, and the were bloody too.
My first thought was: "There goes the party."  I have promised Meg that anytime I fall, bang my head and bleed, I would call 911. So I did, grabbing a handful of napkins to staunch the flow of blood. The 911 operator told me to stay where I was. I told him I'd had to stand up to reach the phone, so I might as well go sit in the living room where I'd be comfortable.
Luckily I could grab some laundry in the dining room, because I did not want to greet the EMT's in my huge bathrobe. I found I had grabbed 5x sweats, but put them on anyway, trying to keep pressure on my wound, and talk to the 911 operator all at once. Then I sat there holding the phone and shaking.
But by now I was seeing the funny side of all this. The ambulance would arrive just as the entire neighborhood was heading toward cocktails. Sure enough, the ambulance rounded the corner and half a dozen neighbors came to huddle around the ambulance and worry. Claudia, God bless her, barged right past the EMT's to see if she could help.
So off to the hospital I went, giving the royal wave to neighbors as we bumped out of the village. [As an aside, if you have never ridden in an ambulance, and I hope you never do, the ride is very, very bumpy.] Sometime in the middle of all the chaos I had managed to call Meg, too, because she called Peggy, who
eventually arrived join me at the hospital.
We arrived at the ER to discover the waiting room overflowing, every cubicle filled, people lying on gurneys in the hall, nurses looking stressed, and the triage nurse frantic. She looked at me for 30 seconds and gave me my first big break of the day. She told the EMT's to take me right into Fast Track. As I got on the gurney, I began feeling silly... I shouldn't have called 911, I shouldn't make a big deal about hitting my head, there wasn't that much blood...
Peggy arrived and told me to shut up (that's what friends are for), and soon after, the doctor came in and said the same thing, only more nicely. He asked a lot of questions, peered at my head, and announced I had a mild to moderate concussion and needed stitches(!)  After rummaging around looking for the surgical stapler, he gave up, and actually put in three stitches. Soon after, I was out and on the way home.(This is Fast Track at its best, but, alas, one needs to arrive by ambulance to get into Fast Track quickly!)
I did actually make the third venue of the party, clean, but scraggly haired, in smaller sweatpants, but size 5x on top, so I didn't have to bother my head, no make up, wearing white socks and Birks, with a headache to end all headaches, and Peggy along to prop me up. I made a quick round to tell everybody that I was okay, while Peg ate some dinner, then retired home quickly to my recliner, where I am still sleeping these days. 
Such was my exciting event. Rather different from the one I had in mind. 
I am still grappling with this, my third trip to the ER due to bloody falls in the last year. I have ordered an emergency button to wear around my neck, which will be good if I ever fall and am not able to get up, but does nothing to stop me from falling. I am unwilling to say so to Meg, who worries way too much about me, but I'm falling way too often, and (so far) none of the dozen or so doctors I've talked to have as much as a suggestion to help-except to be careful.
And I am!
Unfortunately, it's just not possible to be aware every minute. Most of us spend a lot of time spacing out as we move from one room to another, or reach into the cupboard. And as soon as I drift a bit, my feet start drifting, too, off to one side, or backwards, because I have no sense of my feet, and where they are. This leads to not having a real sense of where I am in space, a dangerous thing, in my experience.
And this does  not take into account of my BP which drops twenty points when I stand up. This is easier to deal with- I just stand still for ten seconds until the dizziness passes. Except when I'm in a hurry and forget. But really, I'm much better at this than thinking about every step. My cardiologist actually put me on meds to raise my blood pressure, but it hasn't helped.
And such is life. I keep reminding myself that although I didn't have the 
experience I wanted, I'm still free from my stay-at-home constraints. I am not exactly jumping with joy in my life, but tomorrow I will drive myself to p.t. again. Maybe by next month I'll be strong enough to put my walker into the car, so I can go walking at the Casino or mall. By spring, I'll be into onto other things. And if I fall? I'll haul myself up, once again, and keep going. As usual.
Blessings, Margo


lisa41076 said...

Awwwwwwwww Margo I'm so sorry you fell on the night you were looking forward to so much.Glad you have an emergency button on order, I worry about you living alone, Wish we could go to the casino together sometime, Hugs Lisa

dklars said...

Oh my goodness.  When it rains it pours, doesn't it?  I'm glad you got to enjoy a little of the evening you were looking forward to.

toonguykc said...

And here I was all ready to blog about the mild headache I've had all day.  I'm such a brat and I take my health for granted.  Thank you for giving me a little reality check.  Please be careful.  There will be other events where you can show up looking fabulous!!  

careful hug,

ukgal36 said...

I am glad you are okay Margo..I have to say though this made for some entertaining writing...;-)
be well..

hope5555 said...

Wow Margo, I'm sorry that your event turned into something different than you had hoped for. I'm glad that you were able to be fast-tracked and that you at least got to visit with a few people later.  What causes the falling and the lack of balance, if you don't mind my asking?  I'm wondering because my mom's balance has been really bad ever since she had a stroke a couple of years ago.  Take care - I'm glad you are OK.

dbaumgartner said...

Despite the trying events of the day, your post made me smile.  You came through all of this so valiantly.  You were grand in your exit and just a bit disheveled upon your return.  You were a true Queen of the Ball through all of it.

Hugs my dear friend.


stetsonsswtheart said...

((((((((Margo)))))))))) What happened, happened and you carried it through with STYLE girl!!!! I'm proud of you :)  You just keep hangin' on ok? and you keep planning on your outings and you go for it... even when you feel you need to wiggle your nose and produce a extra set of feet to kick you out of the house...lol  I have to do that for myself otherwise I wouldn't go out and see another living human soul (for the exception of Cindy) ya know?  Brightest of Blessings, Teresa

csandhollow said...

Pump your feet before standing or getting out of bed. Do it for at least 30 seconds. This will help raise your BP.
take care darn it!

firewolfrn said...

(((((((hugs))))))))  Wow, you have had your lion's share of bad luck.....I hope and pray that you do not fall anymore, have pillows all around if you do, and feel stronger soon.

aka CheyFire

reconcilinglife said...

Dang Margo, That really sucks!!!! I hope you are feeling better COUNT TO 10 when ya stand up PALEEEESE! Bam

lrttklly said...

Oh, Margo...
I fretted and laughed through this while reading.
Being "shut-in" I know the curse of the sweats and white socks. Today must have been the day meant for me to read this, because I squeezed myself into control top nylons, new pants, a beaded sash and a nice top... even though I am alone all day... just because.

You are on one of those journeys where I really think this is something people need to experience to even begin to comprehend your courage.

I am truly sorry for the falling, and it can be really scary...
but, you have been blessed in your heart with joy...

You really inspire me!


thebaabee said...

I did the same thing as Loretta when I read this entry.  Mainly because I see me. And, I too, know the sweats and socks wardrobe all too well.  I'm sorry you fell.  I am impressed that you went out.  Hugs, LuAnne

luvmort said...

Oh dahling!  I am so sorry.  At least you have a sense of humour about it.  
Only you!