Don't worry, it wasn't for me or my mom. On Friday we 3 (me, mom, & my aunt) went up north to pick up my 94 year old grandpa to bring him back down here to my aunt's house where we were all set to celebrate Christmas today.
We got to his house and saw his cane propped up in the doorway...something was definitely off. We quickly discovered he had fallen (yet again) and was laying against the front door. We managed to push it open just enough for me to squeeze in. He was laying with his head against the door and I helped him sit up, but he was in a lot of pain, especially in his neck. My mom & aunt were then able to get inside while I had my grandpa propped up against my right leg. He said he had no strength at all in his arms and couldn't get himself up. The 3 of us pulled and got him into a chair that was right there.
Then we started to piece together what had happened. The kitchen was a mess. The wood panel under the sink was busted in, there were books, coins, papers, and other items on the floor. From what he was able to tell us and what we found looking around he apparently had been eating breakfast (his bowl of cereal was still on the table, half eaten) and had then gotten up to change a florescent light in the ceiling of the kitchen! There was a stepstool in the kitchen, but there were also 2 large books and one of those was away from the kitchen and closer to the front door. Either way, it looks like he had gotten up on the stepstool or the books to change this light and fell from there. My impression then is that he wasn't able to get up and somehow crawled over to the front door. He did say he had tried to get up to reach the phone, but couldn't. He then somehow got the cane and wedged it in the partly open door and was yelling out the doorway. But of course his house is on a busy road and there's no way anyone could have heard him. We really don't know how long he'd been there on the floor, but it had to be hours because we didn't get there until 3 p.m.
We called 911 and a firetruck came within minutes (there's a station very close by). Grandpa also had a cut on the back of his head, but it looked like it hadn't bled that much. He also had a red mark on his forehead, but he told us that was from the hedge(?). Which means he was outside, on a ladder(!), trimming that damned hedge again. Gah!!!! Anyway, the firefighters took excellent care of him, put on a neck brace and put him on a backboard and soon Medic One arrived to take him to the hospital. Naturally, it was the same hospital he was taken to back in late July when he fell then.
He was in the ER for quite a while. He was conscious the whole time, which is good. But his arms had no strength whatsoever. They ran a bunch of tests, one of which was an MRI. Turns out his spinal column is severely compressed in his neck. The doctor said it was worse from the fall, but it's also been this way for some time and probably contributing to his trouble with his left leg and walking and standing, which has been getting steadily worse. I was the one back in the ER with my grandpa when the doctor came in, so I got all the info. up front. He had grandpa raise his arms and legs and his left leg, naturally, was worse than his right. His left arm is very weak, in fact, it's partially numb, though the doctor said he'd seen improvement from the first time he'd asked him to raise it. But grandpa still couldn't quite tell when the doctor grabbed his thumb on his left hand, or, oddly, his big toe on his right foot. So there's definitely some numbness and nerves getting pinched. They had him hooked up to an IV and heart monitor and all that, but he was awake. Not really alert, 'cause he kinda spaced out, but he does that sometimes anyway. He knew I was there though. He kept bending his right arm that had the IV in it and a nurse asked me to try and have him keep it straight so the fluid wouldn't be cut off. I managed to keep his arm down most of the time I was in there with him.
Oh, we did manage to go out and have some supper. Good old Denny's. Open every day, 24 hours. :)
Anyway, the doctor showed me the MRI and how the spine was all compressed in grandpa's neck. He said, that he wanted to admit him to the hospital and wait and see if it would sort of fix itself, as they do a lot of times. As the doc told my mom & aunt, right now grandpa is doing good and there's some improvement. He will have to have surgery though. But right now, so soon after the fall isn't a good time. They want to let him heal a bit and see how he improves and maybe do the surgery in a couple of weeks. However, if he worsens, they'll have to do the surgery right away. There's a risk with the surgery, of course, of him being paralyzed or dying because of his age, but without the surgery he won't be able to walk anyway. It's just a matter of waiting and seeing if they can operate under better circumstances than right now.
After about another hour they got him up to a room and we got to all see him there. He was more awake (he'd been falling asleep when I'd last left him) and he was happy to see us. He was off the IV and the other monitors so he's obviously stable enough that they feel he doesn't need to be kept track of all that closely. We have to keep reminding everyone that he doesn't hear very well. Sometimes he really doesn't understand what you're saying either. He's still in the neck brace, of course, which has gotta be uncomfortable, but he said he felt okay. At least, at the moment he's got the room to himself, which is nice. By this time it was midnight and we decided to head on home. Still had an hour's drive ahead of us. We made sure he was comfortable and that he knew where the call button was, so I felt a little better leaving him, knowing that we had that all straight in his head (hopefully). The doctor has my cell phone number and we also have all the doctor's numbers.
So this sure has changed things for Christmas...sorta. My cousin, K and her husband are supposed to be down here this afternoon. They don't even know about all this, nor does my cousin R. He won't be coming here for Christmas anyway, due to work. He's over east of the mountains, has been for most of the year. Anyway, my aunt's gonna call K in the morning and tell her what's happened with grandpa and see if they can come down here a little earlier than planned. That way we can still have our dinner and stuff and then drive back up to see grandpa in the hospital.
What a day. It was an interesting Christmas Eve anyway. Btw...he gets out of this and through the surgery? No way is he living at his home on his own anymore. No. Way. We gave him a chance last time, but now it's time for him to come live with my aunt. He's 94 for gosh sakes. Whenever we told the nurses and doctors that he's been living alone all this time they were shocked and amazed. But those days are now over. He had no business getting up on anything to change a friggin' light bulb! I know he loves his house (which he built, btw) and loves his independence, but he can't do this anymore and him being so far away from the rest of us isn't working.
Ok, I've blathered on long enough. I thought I'd just clue you all in on our latest family drama. I hate hospitals so much. I'm sick of them! Certainly never thought I'd be spending my Christmas Eve in one, though we certainly weren't the only ones. We'll see how things go today, but either way it'll be a long one. I still have some stuff to do tonight (it's after 3 a.m. now) before I can get some sleep. *sigh*
It's going to go down as a memorable Christmas, that's for sure.