This photo is taken from the LANDING, halfway down.
They are REALLY that steep. 28 steps, if you are counting. There is a floor between the shops on the street level and our place, so it’s about 2 1/2 stories up. The original plan was that the stairs would keep me young, what with trotting up and down with groceries, general appointments, taking the dogs out four times a day. Some days, it is a longer trek than on others.
Two weeks ago Friday, I got up and went to look for my husband. It was early, so I thought maybe he was in the library. I know he hadn’t left the house, only because we NEVER any of us leave without telling ME or leaving a note. So I looked twice and couldn’t find him. When I returned to my bedroom, all three dogs were on the bed, looking at the floor with a look of alarm on their little doggy faces.
They were staring at Mike, who was unconscious and unresponsive on the floor, stone cold. His little feet were blue, which always just drives a spike in my worry-o-meter. I have no idea how long he was there but I do know that it takes under five minutes for the ambulance, fire truck and cops to get there. (We live literally a block from all three stations and are ten blocks from the hospital). They zipped him off the to hospital and ran every kind of test on him and watched him all weekend. There was not one thing wrong with him, according to his tests. Obviously, there WAS something wrong because it is very seldom I find him in a heap on my bedroom floor.
He was released Monday last; we stopped to see our primary doctor and came home. He was walking up the steps—all 28 of them, chatting with Ben while I collected the UFO’s in my car—you know, the flotsam and jetsam that accumulates inside the car, waiting for an accident to turn them into missiles headed straight for your head. It’s one of those never-ending three minutes pickup chores I can fill my entire day with. I couldn’t have been more than three minutes behind him.
When I opened the door, I hear this hideous roaring from my son, who is right at the last step. My husband had fallen down from the very top of the stairs to the front door. He was bleeding from his head, purple, unconscious, unresponsive, convulsive. Blood everywhere. Later, when I scrubbed the steps I realized he had hit every brass tread.
I ran next door to the hair salon to call 911. Two of the gals there ran over to see if they could help. As usual, my street is promptly filled up with fire trucks, police cars, an ambulance and about a dozen first responders. They get Mike stabilized and tell me they are going to AIRLIFT him to Fresno. I handed Mike’s info* to the EMT with a chart and off they go, lights, siren and all. I called one of the guys to drive me, because I am totally in any condition to drive or find Fresno.
Mike was sent to the Community Medical Center-Fresno, which is the best we have between Bakersfield and Sacramento. This hospital is in the middle of old downtown Fresno and was so busy it looked like a riot in a war zone during shelling. It was just wild…and I was in the big middle of LA when the Rodney King riots happened. TO even GET into the big Disneyland line to get INTO the ER, I had to leave my handbag in my car and could have my cell phone, car keys and some cash. All that had to go through a security search and then I walked thru a metal detector. Then another Disneyland line to get a pass to go deeper into the ER. It was an absolute maze, with security literally at every corner. I’ve never seen it so tight….and I worked at a maximum security prison!
Mike was way back in the back in Trauma I and stayed thee for almost 24 hours. I was sitting on a little step stool, tucked into the corner. He was alert but had several big goose eggs on his hard head, a 10 inch gash on his head (that where all the blood was from). He’d gouged a chunk out of his shoulder (We had no need of plastic surgery but that was who was on duty…so it won’t be a ragged scar) and broke 4 ribs (these were previously the only unbroken ribs he owned) but as far as broken ribs, he lucked out. They all broke about a quarter of the way in from the ends of the ribs, where they protect your organs.
I think in the next week, they ran every test they had a machine for on him. He didn’t have a stroke. Heart is just fine. Their best guess is that his blood sugar dropped and he simply fainted.
He’s home now and getting better every day. But I know this is going to be a long and winding road but at least we have a road to go 😛
*I keep a printout of all the medications we of us take, plus a copy of our insurance card in a ziplock I keep under the mat at the bottom of the stairs. I hand that to the EMT so most of the paperwork is done in the first few minutes of arrival at the ER. VERY HANDY. When Mike finally was admitted to the hospital, the first two visitors were the financial person and the social worker. First questions? “Do you have insurance?”