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.


Denise said...

We continue to rejoice with you that Lois was not hurt any more seriously than she could have been. Life is precious and should not be taken for granted – although we do. We have sent several prayers of thankfulness heavenward for all of you.

KGMom said...

How is Lois now? I know you say she is doing well--but has bruising gone away? And has she had any subsequent balance issues?
How about the steps--is she avoiding them or not?
Thanks for the update--whew--that was a scare.
Let's see--she had a car accident a couple years ago, now this. Tell her to take a rest, will you!

Climenheise said...

Lois is doing well. Some slight bruising remains, but the puffiness is gone, and outward signs of the fall are hard to see. I don't think there have been balance issues: I'll have to ask.

She has been working around the garden and in the house this week more than last. But she can't drive until next week, or ride a bicycle. The advice is: "Listen to your body. If you're tired, rest!"

I've wondered about the car accident and now the fall. I am certainly more solicitous after these; do I need to be more so beforehand? Perhaps. At least I need to be sure never to take her (or anyone else) for granted.