Saturday, August 25, 2007

Falling 2

I didn't see her fall
A sound to my left
Thud and bounce of body
There was no cry, no shout alarmed
Only thud and bounce of body
on beam and walls and steps and floor

Well-travelled steps
to laundry and family-room
Each day we climb a hundred times
Well-travelled steps
No cry, no shout alarmed
A body lying on her face

The path we all travel someday
loomed suddenly in front of me
I saw the road we follow unwillingly, unwittingly
beside her body, face-down, unmoving

"What day is it?" "I don't know"
"Do you know what year it is?" "No"
In light from common-place questions
the road not yet travelled fades
No stroke, no broken bones (what miracle!)
Bruised and concussed
she heals and walks and sits and lies
with me still

I take well-travelled steps
down and up
a hundred times

As often my hand reaches out
Touches the beam that struck her head
Relives the thud and bounce of body

In mind's eye I see replayed
The fall I never saw
A silent loop of film, no cry of alarm
Fall into the road not yet travelled

Daryl Climenhaga
25 August 2007

Postscript: The prose version appears in the post before this one.

Monday, August 13, 2007


A week ago last night, Sunday August 5, my life spun round for a bit. It was about 10 pm, we had just finished talking to Nevin on the phone (trying out Skype, with mixed success), and Lois went upstairs for something. On the way back down the steps, we (Kyle and I) think that she slipped or tripped or somehow lost her balance. She pitched forward, hitting her head on something. She then fell, quite relaxed, bouncing from side to side, the rest of the way down the carpeted stairs and lay on the carpet of the basement floor. I ran over to her, and found her unconscious. She did not respond to my calls, and made a sound as if snoring. Kyle Burgess (with us for the summer) immediately called 911, and the paramedics arrived within five minutes. Lois had started to regain consciousness. They asked various questions. “Where are you?” “I don’t know” What day is it today?” “I don’t know” “Month?” “Don’t know.” “Year?” “Don’t know.

They immobilized her on a hard board, checking for other injuries as they did so, and carried her up the stairs and out to the ambulance. Kyle and a friend of his (Jason) helped carry. Lois threw up on the driveway, and then they got her into the ambulance and drove off to the hospital, about two minutes away. Code Amber: with my limited knowledge I think that means serious, but not critical.

At the hospital between about 10:30 pm and 2 am, the emergency personnel did a cat-scan and an x-ray of Lois’ neck. They also kept checking her eyes, ability to respond with her extremities, and asking questions. By 12:30, she was able to point out that it was now August 6, not August 5, because it was after midnight. So her mind was clearing. At about 2:00 I went home and to bed. Lois slept most of the night in emergency. Other cases (an overdose, and a baby who didn’t want to wait for the doctor were two that I remember) meant that they did not move her to a room until early morning, maybe about 6:00. Lois called me at home at 8:30, and I joined her at the hospital at about 9:30 am. She was obviously much better, and at 3 pm, after the doctor on duty had checked her, she came home to rest and recover.

Lois had significant bruising on the right side of her face, and on the outside and inside of her upper lip. We went out a few days later briefly, and the looks we got from passers-by were noticeable. But now, a week later, the bruising has faded; one wouldn't know that for a few minutes my world was reeling on its foundations. "I feel the earth move under my feet" -- but I don't think this is what the song was referring to.

So what could have been very serious has been just a bit scary. Lois is doing well, and I'm recovering. One realizes quickly how we elevate relatively unimportant things in our lives; and such shocks restore needed perspective. We are grateful and thank God for life and health and for each other.