August 13th, 2008

20111112, Marilee

Luke Falls Down the Stairs

I had just come back in from taking recycling out, paused just inside the door to talk to the cats on the heating pad, and heard Luke (my elderly upstairs neighbor) fall down his stairs. I grabbed his key from the kitchen drawer and knocked and unlocked at the same time. He'd fallen down 7-8 steps (I've never seen the upper rank) and landed on the landing, on his shoulder. He was conscious, but disoriented. He insisted on sitting up even while I told him not to. He said he was having some trouble breathing and I kept him talking while I called 911. This was so annoying, I know triage, but if I tried going up the lower stairs, they'd probably have two patients. I've run over in my mind many times how to handle it if he fell (thinking upstairs, mostly, but it works for the steps, too) and didn't get up.

I called his daughter (who had just left as I came in) and left a message and then when the EMTs came, gave them history. They kept asking me questions and I couldn't stand up anymore, so I pulled a chair to my doorway (didn't want to be on the stoop in the way and fortunately, the cats were terrified and hiding) and sat and answered. They got him on a backboard and then the gurney and took him out to the ambulance. I locked his place up and put a note on the door for his daughter in case she got the message and had already left for the condos and also called her again to leave a message (she told me later she had trouble understanding me, but other people don't seem to) that we were going to the ER. I followed the ambulance, but the nurse had me wait in the waiting area while they got him set up.

His daughter and son-in-law arrived just as they were letting me go in so I went with them to say Hi and when we got there, he was still a little disoriented. He hadn't known why he fell down the stairs here, but he'd remembered by then that he'd gotten up from his recliner and was disoriented and meant to go to the kitchen and instead slipped on the stairs (right across from the kitchen). He held my hand and said Hi and thanks and said he hurt a lot because of the backboard. I explained that he had to stay on that until he was x-rayed and they couldn't give him anything for pain because they might need to do surgery. I joked that there should be something that made us feel better and didn't interfere with surgery. I didn't want to stay and insert myself, so I made sure his daughter had my number and told her I wanted updates and came home. This may be what tips him into assisted living.

Janet and Manny and I are supposed to meet Jo at Union Station tomorrow and I've stood and sat up straight a lot today, but I plan to try hard to get enough rest so I can still go. I'll call Janet tomorrow morning if I can't. So I'm not reading LJ & ML tonight. I'll at least post tomorrow, even if I'm too tired to read.