Saturday, July 20, 2013

I've been known to be sort of accident prone.  It's ironic that my middle name is Grace, because rarely do I live up to the expectation it may precede for me.  Usually this adds up to funny, self-depricating, occasionally embarrassing moments that I can chuckle about and turn into a good story later.  And, while I'm about to tell one of these stories, I'm not quite laughing about it yet.

Ten days after we made our gigantic move across country from Southern California to Nashville, Tennessee, I fell down the stairs.  But, I mean, I really fell down some stairs.  Obviously, I've lived to tell about it, so I'm fine. (Thanks, Jesus!) And usually I wouldn't want to linger on something so depressive...but, this really made an impact on my life (pun intended) so I'd be remiss not to share the experience with you.

It was stupid, really.  I wish I had a glamorous tale to tell of how it all happened, but I don't.  It was about 10pm and I was already in my jammies heading to bed.  Mind you, I'd been reprimanding my daughters ALL WEEK about stair safety and they even had a small topple of their own that led to some stern talkings-to about how we behave going up and down the steps.  (It's okay, you can laugh at that!)

I had heard our cat Zuzu (the painfully shy one) running around upstairs, so I went up to snag her.  No reason.  Just simple, stupid, normal-life stuff.  I went upstairs and picked her up, and turned to go back downstairs.  On the second step, I felt my left foot slip and in one of those awful-slow-motion-moments, I knew I was falling.  It was a perfect slip-on-a-banana-peel sort of klutzy move that perfectly landed me on my back about five steps down from the top, and then I slid a few more steps on my back.  If I was auditioning for a Buster Keaton film, I definitely would have nailed the part.

I gasped to draw breath for a laugh, when instead my face turned to utter anguish as I felt the most debilitating pain I've felt in my whole life.  I'm not kidding.  (And I've gone through natural labor pains for hours and hours.  I've felt pain!)  Josh was at the bottom of the stairs, his facial expression a mixture of disbelief and fear.

"Call 9-1-1.  Something is wrong."  I've never uttered those words in my life, so he knew I meant it.  I couldn't move the right side of my body.  He couldn't move me to the couch.  I was stuck on the stairs, crumpled over on my side, and my lower back and right hip felt like they were on fire.  What in the world did I do???

By the time the paramedics arrived, I was in shock.  I had vomited and nearly blacked out, and they couldn't find a pulse or my blood pressure.  But, I could move my toes and state my name...Thank you God, I thought.

Moving me was excruciating.  I've never heard myself sound the way I did.  I kept involuntarily screaming in pain, tears bursting out of my face.  I was screaming at the top of my lungs and my daughters' bedroom was 15 feet away where they were sound asleep.  And I'm the person who, on a normal night, will mute theme songs and commercials on the TV a whole story away just to ensure they don't wake up from the sound of the television!  It is a miracle in and of itself that the girls slept through the entire ordeal.  Again, thanks be to God.

I'd never ridden in an ambulance before.  I barely remember it because my eyes were shut almost the entire time as I focused all my physical resources towards tolerating the pain.  My brother had rushed over as soon as Josh called him (after calling 911) and so, he stayed there until my sister-in-law and their kids came over to stay at our place to be with the girls in case they woke up.

Josh and my brother followed the ambulance to the medical center just a couple miles away (though, it seemed like one of the longest rides of my life).  Everything was bright and weird and blurry and unsettling.  I just wanted answers.  Answers and massive amounts of pain killers, please.

Two CAT Scans, an IV, a catheter, and about six hours later, I was released with a very boring diagnosis.  A bruise.  Okay, not exactly just a bruise...a to-the-bone-deep severe contusion on the right side of my lower back/hip.  The muscle had basically been ruptured by the blow of the fall, and so I was sent home with four prescriptions of pain killers and muscle relaxants.

I had no idea what was in store for me when it came to recovery.  All I knew was, I'm going to be okay.  And for the moment, that was enough relief for all of us.  The healing process would be a whole other ballgame.

(Stay tuned tomorrow to hear what I learned through my recovery and how I'm doing now.)

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