I fell again because of the stroke almost 15 years ago, but this was no ordinary fall where I busted up my elbow or banged my leg. This was a bloody fall and I couldn’t see where the blood was coming from.
And I hit my head on the sharp edge of the night table which, in itself, means a trip to the hospital where I visit the CT Scan Lab (Computed Tomography). The CT Scan shows, among other things, whether I got another brain hemorrhage like the first time when I had the stroke.
I press the Life Alert button on the woven cord that always hangs around my neck. Life Alert is a must-have for me because I fall a lot. (The actual number always depresses me so I stopped counting).
The thing with Life Alert is the paramedics usually get here within 20 minutes that seems like 12 hours when I’m injured (unless the have a catastrophic accident elsewhere and take an hour, and that happened only once) and they do what they do–either Band-Aid me up and take me to the hospital which they prefer.
This injury meant a hospital trip because of the head and the bleeding wherever it was from which didn’t stop until one paramedic in the ambulance applied pressure to the wound. There had to be drops of blood in the hallway, the elevator, the lobby. And taking a blood thinner–Warfarin–didn’t help matters. Drip…drip…drip.
When I arrived at hospital, first things first. The CT Scan proved no blood vessels were disrupted, and it was an hour before I saw the ER doctor. He removed the very heavy, blood-stained gauze the paramedic used to stop the dripping. And the reason I couldn’t find the source of the bleeding was it was almost behind the leg.
Meanwhile, going on simultaneously, my personal caregiver, Melissa, who didn’t know about the accident, stopped by my apartment to see what I needed at the market, and found all the blood left behind on the now dreary hardwood floor. I wasn’t prepared for her response.
“Jesus!” She called me right away. “What happened here? A murder?” I couldn’t blame her. There was that much blood, about 6×8 feet all spread out. She saw the blood droplets in the lobby, the elevator floor, the hallway, never thinking the blood came from my apartment.
I wondered what happened to the apartment beneath me. I never heard anything. They had to look up, didn’t they?
Anyway, liquid dries, and Mellisa somehow got all the blood, dried or otherwise, off the floor.
So where did I go? The social worker from the hospital said I’d have to get better in a rehab center, and there was an opening in a small town near Portland. But 3 days after I arrived on January 13, there was a COVID outbreak and I was quarantined for 10 days as were most of the residents. A few therapists almost succumbed to the virus. Now, there is one remaining with COVID.
I go on here at rehab, and I have to work on my pivots and balance just to be where I was before the fall, in order to improve and move on.
That’s the thing about strokes–you’re never done.