We are not a hospital-prone family. In fact, I think I can count on one hand the number of times family members have been to the ER. Keep in mind I have 8 brothers and 2 sisters. We grew up in the country, on a construction site, using large machinery and a lot of power tools. And some of those brothers do crazy things some times. But we are not hospital people in general. People get bumped and bruised, but people don’t break bones and need the hospital. Let’s see, from what I remember, Fiona got her finger slammed in the door so the tip came off at age 2- trip to the hospital, repair the finger, pink cast. Brendan cracked his wrist in middle school, hospital, cast. Garrett broke his leg at camp in middle school, hospital, cast. I think that’s about it on the major stuff. And then in the last few weeks, with my whole ovarian cyst saga, and I was in the ER twice before surgery, then major surgery, and then a couple days recovery in the hospital. That’s more hospital than most of our combined history (babies being born excluded from this total).
And then there was Monday… it started as a normal (post-surgery) day. I woke up, made coffee, sat down to work on the couch with my laptop. My dad brought me Communion and stayed to visit awhile. And then my mom called to say she’d penned up her free range chickens (that my dogs like to eat) and would I like to come for a visit. Um okay. I wasn’t planning on it, but it does sound like a good idea, and the dogs do really wear out when they are there. So eventually I told the pups we were headed for Grandma’s (an announcement that sends them into dancing, howling, leaping pleasure) and we set off.
I pulled in to find Owen at the end of the driveway, it took a few minutes to understand what was going on, but he was waiting for the ambulance, Mama fell. I raced up there. Mama was laying on the last couple steps at the bottom of these outside concrete steps. Lisa, our neighbor, was with her. There was blood pooled on the steps above. Woah, this is serious!! I remember thinking the pools of blood should gross me out more, but I had apparently switched into Emergency Mode (which I am quite good at). Lisa had been there gardening with my mom, and suddenly my mom had lost her footing or something and tumbled down about 8 steep concrete steps and had passed out. Lisa ran in to get the phone and said my mom was conscious again by the time she got back out. Well, that’s something.
In Emergency Mode, I realized there are now 4 dogs outside running around- including my parent’s dog Rocky, who is a great watch dog, and thus not a great ambulance-is-on-the-way dog. I got my two and Rocky into the house, while Lisa grabbed Gus (the little rat dog) and threw him into the house. Of course Rocky managed to bolt out the door again to greet the ambulance, but we finally got him contained. The ambulance arrived, I led the EMT to my mom, explaining she’d been unconscious for only about 2 minutes but had clearly lost some blood and hadn’t moved. They started working on her, bandaging her bleeding head, checking vitals, and figuring out how to move her. As they sat her up, she started vomiting. Not good. The firefighters arrived and the four of them strapped her to a backer board and got her to the ambulance. Everyone said commented how the kid at the end of the driveway was the best- pointing them in the right direction. Yay Owen!
My dad had left work, but once I was there I called him and he went right to the hospital to meet us there. I grabbed my purse and got to ride in the ambulance, lights and sirens the whole way. And that’s when I was thinking that we really aren’t hospital people. We don’t really do this. In fact, we’ve never even had an ambulance out to the house before. And we’ve lived there for over 20 years. Hmmm.
As we drove, I asked about her blood pressure, if it had bottomed out because of the blood loss. Nope. Instead it was really really high. Their concern was bleeding in the brain with blood pressure that high. Not good at all. My dad was standing at the ambulance bay when we arrived and we were able to be in the room with her. As usual, being in the ER means a lot of hurry up and wait. The blood pressure was a major concern (it was really really high when we got there) as was checking for broken bones and internal bleeding. It looked like the gash all the way across the forehead was the cause of all the bleeding. After hours of waiting and tests and more vomiting… the CAT scans showed no fractures and no internal bleeding- praise Jesus!! More waiting, trying to get her to stop vomiting and comfortable, and yet more waiting. It turns out she is very bruised and sore, as you’d expect. And has a concussion, as you’d expect. And has stitches across her forehead, as the gash required. But they got the pain and blood pressure to a normal place and sent her home late that night.
You know you’ve been in the ER too much when you recognize the people there, that cute tech with the tattoo, the check in girl, a few nurses. And I’m pretty sure that in the last couple weeks we have now fulfilled our Cous’s at the hospital quota for the next several years.
And coming through something like that just leaves me incredibly thankful. My mom could have landed wrong and died. Something could have gone horribly wrong. She could have been alone. There are so many “what ifs.” But God sent the right people to be with her. And protected her fall. And continues to be faithful in all things. And maybe she’ll finally recover from her bout of pneumonia now that she’s required to take it easy again.