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Marilee J. Layman

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10:04 pm: 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.

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From:ckd
Date:August 14th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC)
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Sounds like it was "good" timing (not that there's really a good time to fall down your stairs) since you were nearby to keep things from getting worse. Luke has my best wishes.

Take care of yourself. I hope you're getting a good night's rest and have enough energy tomorrow for Union Station.
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From:mjlayman
Date:August 15th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I realized later that I had actually forgotten to stop for my mail, and if I had, he would have fallen before I came in. I hope he would have pounded on the stair wall (which is also my living room wall, with extra space) and I would have heard it.
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From:soon_lee
Date:August 14th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
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Well done. Reads like you did what you could without jeopardising your own welfare.
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From:mjlayman
Date:August 15th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
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Thanks!
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From:kaffyr
Date:August 14th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
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I'd be happy to have you living nearby if I were to be in trouble. You have an incredibly level head. Glad you kept your own health in mind!
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From:mjlayman
Date:August 15th, 2008 11:03 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I am unusually level-headed, pretty much all the time, and I had already thought through what I would do if I heard him fall and not get up (although I anticipated upstairs, not on the stairs).
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From:kaffyr
Date:August 16th, 2008 01:54 am (UTC)
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Man, the only thing I've ever thought about in advance goes along the line of "always carry your Swiss army knife in case everyone in the office is held hostage by maniacs/abducted by aliens...you can use it to escape the aliens, kill them and/or gut food ..." and after that it gets even stupider.
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From:mjlayman
Date:August 16th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
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LOL I actually have lots of little maps in my mind for things that might happen. I think this started when I was a kid -- if I knew how mad my dad was, and for what, I might be able to minimize what he could do to me. When I was a teenager, I started sleeping with my back against the wall, so I'd have a few more seconds to come awake when he came in to throw me around. (This is why I'm a light sleeper, too.) It just extended to other situations as I got older, and a lot of the maps are adaptable to similar situations.
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From:kaffyr
Date:August 16th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
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That's a set of maps I'm sorry you had to draw.
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From:mjlayman
Date:August 16th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
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Yeah, but the later ones have come in handy.
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From:dd_b
Date:August 14th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
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It's important that you don't make yourself another patient for the EMTs. Sounds like you were prepared and did what you could. Too bad he wouldn't hold still, but fighting to hold somebody down isn't a sensible option even if you *are* up to doing it. With luck nothing serious is broken, and he'll be better soon. Leaving just the slight question of how this whole episode started.
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From:mjlayman
Date:August 15th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, we're still not sure just what happened. As I reminded his daughter, he didn't break his hip, which statistically would mean he wouldn't leave the hospital alive. I think he was too disoriented to really listen to me -- he just wanted to be off his shoulder and sitting up.
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From:skylarker
Date:August 14th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC)
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It soounds like Luke is lucky to have you for a neighbor. I hope his injuries aren't too bad.
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From:mjlayman
Date:August 15th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
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Well, that's why I have a key to his condo!
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From:kip_w
Date:August 14th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
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Good job with the helping.

Does Union Station still have the Americas cafe? They used to have black bean cake with sour cream and salsa, and I got it every time I went there. Hi to everybody from me.
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From:mjlayman
Date:August 15th, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
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Sorry, I didn't read this until now. Yes, and I told Janet and Manny that Jo really liked it last time and might want it again, and she did, but they had a long line so we ate at Center Cafe. Jo's time just kept shortening.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 16th, 2008 01:40 am (UTC)
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Oh dear. That does not sound good. I hope Luke is okay in the long run.
Doris
[User Picture]
From:mjlayman
Date:August 16th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
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Yeah, me too, but I do think it's probably time for assisted living.
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