Friday, February 20, 2015

The Old Gal Is Slipping

This morning, I looked out the window and saw the hay truck skid up the icy farm road. The donkeys heard the noise and made a beeline for the driver. He got out of the truck, nudging through the animals, and opened the gate. My breath caught a little as he returned to the truck and drove forward. Would the animals follow him to the barn or sprint through the gate, into the frozen yard? The truck rumbled ahead. And the donkeys trotted onto the  driveway, a place too slick for man or beast.




The driver is elderly, so I put on my boots and went outside to help round up the animals. 
Mindful of the ice, I crept down the porch steps. Just yesterday, a good Samaritan had plowed the driveway, but a stubborn layer of ice had remained. I mostly walked in the grass. When I reached the driveway, I raised my arms to call the donkeys. Two seconds later, I was airborne. I and my fatness landed hard. The back of my head hit the ice-covered concrete.
Wampum.
Kaboom.
Ow, ow, ow.
Everything whirled. Pain sliced behind my eyes. I didn't lose consciousness--at least, I don't think I did. I was dimly aware of a donkey nudging my shoulder. I sat up. Hands and legs worked. Nothing broken. (No blood.) But my head was throbbing. The donkeys ran through the gate, towards the hay bale. The pain abated as I made my way back to the house, but I was totally flabbergasted. How had I fallen? Me, I was sure-footed as a donkey. Darn, darn, darn. Didn't have time for a mishap.  Needed to get ready for the ice storm. 

Inside the house, I flung off my coat and boots, angry at myself for not being more respectful of ice. I sat down. My ears felt clogged, but I couldn't feel any fluid leaking out. That was good. A humming noise zinged inside my head, but that's to be expected. Besides, the back of my head wasn't hurting. Just a twinge in my forehead--again, to be expected, because when a person hits his/her head, the brain slings in the opposite direction, sorta like a bowl of Jell-O. Damage can occur in either place. The technical terms  are "coup" and "contrecoup."

Sometimes I wish I didn't have a nursing degree. I got a mirror and a pen light. My right pupil reacted sluggishly to light. Now I was starting to worry, but I tried to make light of the situation: I wanted to say that I'd skidded into the Bermuda Triangle, but I couldn't find the right word for Bermuda and referred to it as the Bahamas. I was scared, so scared, but before I called for help, I set up the IV bag for Zap, because he needs daily fluids--it's the only thing keeping him going. I put the bag on the IV pole and purged the line. Later, I would have no memory of this. I wouldn't remember being steered away from the IV pole and out the door. Fifteen minutes later, I was at the hospital getting a CAT scan. 

I only had a concussion. My hard head had finally come in handy. I was sent home with instructions to take it easy and do neuro-checks for the next 24 hours--and to stay away from slippery surfaces.
A New Year's resolution was to see the beauty in winter. I do. But I also see the flip side. Old Man Winter, please go away. And don't let the door hit you on the way out.

If you are in the path of the ice storm, I hope you will be safe and sure-footed!

UPDATE: My accident was more serious than anyone guessed.  My neurologist said recovery could take 6 months to a year.5 months later, I still have blurry vision, tinnitus, and transient dizziness. Still can't read or work on the computer for long periods. However, I'm no longer walking with a cane, and that's a blessing. Thanks so much for all of the kind, caring emails and prayers. They lift my heart.

40 comments:

  1. Oh no....I have an irrational fear of ice, having fallen numerous times. Now with two bad knees, two bad shoulders and two bad wrists.......I see very limited beauty in winter! Glad it was not worse, and you are taking it easy. Feel better, Michael.

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    1. I share your fear--and I sure don't think we're being irrational. Mother Nature takes no prisoners. Thanks for your kind wishes!

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  2. Oh, no! I'm so sorry this happened to you. I know you can slip in a second with no warning. Glad to hear you aren't any worse than you are. Now you take care of yourself - really!
    Rest rest rest and milk this for as long as you can!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

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    1. LOL That's a good idea! I'm gonna do just that. xxoo

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  3. Michael Lee...OUCH! At least as a nurse you know what to check for and to go or call for help. Ice is so dangerous, as you already know. I just had to say it to acknowledge it myself. I have now been snowed in for a week! Bonkers! And KY is braching for another round...so says WBKO weather. I can only hope that the temps rise so that we actually get rain. Your ice pics look like some we had on our farm a few years ago. Be careful...and refrain from any more ice walks! So glad that your head is ok. We need you!
    Sheila E

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    1. We've had ice on the farm, but never like this. I think both of us are in for a rough night, weather-wise. Thank you so much for your sweet words!

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  4. Horrible!! But glad to hear you are on the mend!! Locally a woman dropped her keys, bent to pick them up, slipped and fell and was unconscious for several hours on her driveway and was found in our -7 weather by her neighbor. She was lifeflighted to a burn center (which is where they take those with severe frostbite) and unbelievably she is awake and talking in ICU - still dealing with the frostbite issues, though. I am so glad that someone was there to get you straight to the hospital! This weather is so scary.

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    1. Miss Merry, thanks so much! While at the hospital, I heard scary stories, and I felt grateful!

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  5. Good heavens, and you were being so careful! Damn ice! I hope you recuperate quickly and with loving caretakers by your side, I'm sure you will.

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    1. I can't even think of a way to compare this ice. It's something beyond slippery. Almost an entity, a creature waiting to slip you upside the head. It's snowing now, and soon it will turn into ice and freezing rain. Then, the temps are supposed to rise. My roof won't be happy to see the rain that's coming, but I will be thrilled to see the last of this ice.

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  6. Hey, you take it easy! You're grieving, probably distracted. Doesn't matter how sure-footed you are. You're human. Try to relax and read for a couple of days, okay?
    Brenda

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  7. Yikes...you were lucky no bones were broken! Take care and stay inside.

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  8. Michael Lee, I glad to know you are home again recuperating in the warmth and comfort of your home. So dangerous. You are lucky you didn't split your head open or break any bones. I slipped several times this year on thin wet mud that was covering the terrace at the base of the stairs. I now keep a mat there.
    Take care and feel better soon!

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  9. Oh my! Please stay off of that ice. You are getting what came thru here earlier. Looks like you got more snow than here. Hoping the expected rain and higher temps tomorrow will melt the inch or more ice still on part of my patio and front walk. Five days of this is way to much. I agree with Winter go away and don't let the door hit you. LOL
    Take care of yourself!

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  10. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this, Micheal! Take care of yourself, and I'm sending you lots of healing vibes. If it was possible, I would send some warm weather too.

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  11. Good God woman! Please be more careful. My mom once went out to see what the the dogs were barking at, when it was raining, and she got knocked over by them when she was all alone. She hit her head on the brick stairs and thank God she had the phone with her.... she called me when she came around. She had a concussion too. The doctors said she was lucky she didn't hit it in the wrong spot or she would have been dead.

    I really hope you're okay. Take good care of yourself, my friend.

    love you,
    rue

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  12. My goodness, you sure need a break!

    Hope your'e feeling well soon.

    - Alma, The Tablescaper

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  13. Poor you. So glad you are o.k. A couple of years ago I went to feed out chickens in the snow and ice. And to get down from the field we have steps and gravel. I was careful on the steps but did not realize the gravel was covered in ice so over I went like you. I did not hit my head but hit my lower back. I was in a lot of pain and layed there for 20 mins in the cold. There was noone at home and where I was noone would see or hear me so I knew I had to move.
    Lucky I was just bruised but it taught me to always carry my mobile even if it is only to feed the chickens. I must admit when the weather turns I get nervous going over that gravel... Take it easy and I hope the weather improves soon.
    Rosezeeta.

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  14. Oh, that's horrible! Definitely a good reminder to take care outside, we're buried in snow and ice here. I'm glad you are ok! This reminded me of my bachelorette party, where I slipped off a curb and slammed my head. I felt much the same way, scary. Of course, I fell for other reasons :) I hope you start to feel better, and be careful!

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  15. I'm glad your not hurt any worse. Hard as it may be to do give yourself time to rest. I fell on the ice in front of our garage several years ago. I pancaked on my front side narrowly missing my face slamming the surface. 24 hrs. later I had real good case of TMJ starting- then a lot of discomfort in one ear when I laid down. It took a long time to get through it. You may feel different aches today. Ice is mean because without warning you're going down! Now we keep a couple of buckets filled with a salt mixture outside so we can toss it around when needed because snow and sometimes ice is a normal around here. Take care, Liz

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  16. Oh no! It's treacherous out there, our steps and drive are like a skating rink and even the dogs are slipping and sliding. Comfort food and cake are definitely in order, take care and stay indoors. ♥

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  17. I just read about this on your Facebook page. What a relief that you are going to be okay and that you are a nurse. I would have been frightened silly. Kick your feet up, take it easy, plus take all of the pampering that comes your way. I'll be thinking of you.
    Sam

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  18. Ok, you have had your trio of bad luck, well and then some, but truly you should be getting a break for a while... ice is something to be revered... from afar. I grew up in tahoe, times when you would get 5' of snow overnight and had to use the second story window to climb out. We would be living with blacked out windows and still go out, but ice, oh that dreaded ice, I never trusted it... I have done exactly what you did... twice, once on stairs. I can still feel the pain in my tail bone and skull. I am grateful someone was there to help you, I too still have no recall of my events... darn scary! Perhaps next time you must go out carry a flame thrower...

    I do hope you are being pampered and cooed over with every desire and whim satisfied. Thank heavens you made it back inside, I love happy endings!

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  19. Oh my goodness, Michael Lee, if your week wasn't bad enough, now this! Take it easy, my friend, and pamper yourself. Yes, Old Man Winter can take a hike! xxoo

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  20. Concussions are no joke. I hope you will have a quick recovery and not have headaches for the long term. You are right, this weather stinks. There's a post floating around Facebook saying, "I'm giving up winter for lent". I hope it works.

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  21. (please) Do take care, it would not be the same without you!

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  22. OH NO!!! I am so sorry you fell! I hope you are taking it easy and resting. COMFORT food is in order, have YOUR Doctor prescribe some:):) Glad you were not seriouly hurt. XO

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  23. I am so sorry you fell. I live in Hermitage, just outside Mt. Juliet, and oh boy the ice this week has had me crazy. I almost slipped several times yesterday. It's raining now and I pray a lot of this stuff melts. You get some rest and please be careful out there. Carol

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  24. Oh no Michael, that is the pits -- and very scary!! I just read this, and I'm so sorry you fell. Our upper driveway is still a sheet of ice and even our GRASS of all things is slippery slick. Our dog slides around all over the grass. I'm so afraid my husband or I will fall every time we take him out. If we can make it to the street, it's fine, but getting there is a bit treacherous.

    Please take care and rest, and I know we're all ready to wave good-bye to winter this year. I'm glad you're okay!

    Hugs,

    Denise at Forest Manor

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  25. I'm so sorry sweet Michael Lee - pamper yourself for the next few days....You are right - this weather is not fit for man 'nor beast. We are getting blasted once again today here in Cleveland, Ohio......Roll on Spring !

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  26. Yikes!!! I'm glad it wasn't more serious! I drove an hour and a half (round trip) to get my parents' mail out of their box and up to their house so my 88 year old Dad wouldn't try to get it. The driveway is way too long to shovel and it's solid ice now too. Hope you have a quiet and uneventful night! I'm ready for spring!!! :)

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  27. OH NO, ML!!!! I am so sorry you hurt yourself. Thank the heavens you didn't break completely.

    OK, same scene last year for me - running out with a freshly paid for by a customer package to meet the mail lady before she drove away. I like catching them and getting those boxes away to their new owners asap......oops, didn't see black ice on the steps. I woke up with the mail carrier and my husband looking at me and kinda freaking out.

    I didn't bleed, break or have a concussion, but using a concrete step as a sleeping pillow is not fun - it's scary. PLEASE please please do as you are instructed and rest. Your life depends on it, my friend. Healing hugs. ♥

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  28. So glad that you are aright. Concussions can last a long time. So glad that you didn't break any bones or cut yourself.
    I fell off the ladder 2 years ago as I was taking down my fall decorations. The ladder broke off I went backwards hitting my head full force. I don't know if I blacked out, but I could not move. I was so dizzy that I couldn't sit up or move at all. I had my cell phone clipped to me waist and I called my friend and she came right over along with the neighbors. They called the fire department as they are the paramedics and off to the emergency room I went by ambulance. The least bit of movement made me so sick and dizzy. No bleeding or blood clots. Gave me medication and finally I could sit up and my friend took me home. I still get a little dizzy when I turn on my right side laying down.
    The Dr said that do to my age it takes a lot longer. I am not allowed on the ladder anymore. They threw that one away and I really am afraid to get on one. It was a terrible experience. So Michelle, take care of your self and no ice sliding. It's hell to get old.
    Stay in and be nice and warm and cozy. Wish I could send some CA sunshine your way.
    Mary

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  29. ML, I am soooo sorry to hear about your fall & subsequent concussion! Thank goodness you didn't break anything either. I'm so glad you went to the ER, too.
    I, too, fell on our icy steps last month going out for our newspaper, but I didn't hit my head, thankfully. I didn't have my cell phone on me at the time, either, but I sure do keep it on my person at all times now! (Ern would have come looking for me but now that I'm alone, who knows how long I'd have to lay there with a broken hip or leg?)
    I'm really, REALLY glad you're okay.

    Warm hugs,
    Rett

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  30. So sorry that this happened to you. Hitting your head is never good. I live in Elizabethton, TN and we have had ice for a week......I HATE it, so dangerous. Praying for you, PLEASE be careful.

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  31. I was so sorry to read about your fall, hope that you are feeling better. It always amazes me what we will do for our animals, I have few scars to show for it. Take care my friend. (((((((HUGS))))))

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  32. I hope you are feeling better by now. We are expecting sleet & ice in the morning. I plan to stay IN! Be careful!

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  33. Oh I cannot believe I am reading this!....I am so glad that you are home and there was no concussion...however, you were hurt enough to land in the ER!....this ice has been awful...the ice caused us to be confined to the house for almost 5 days!...We learned a lesson to have our driveway treated when an ice storm is predicted...when we were able to have someone come out and treat the driveway, it was hours later and we were able to get the car up the driveway...I am so happy that you are OK...well, OK enough to be home and hope that there are no more complications....thinking of you!

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  34. You have had enough trouble for a while, but it seems that is how life can go. We can commiserate , then count our blessings. Ice is so very tricky, in a blink you go can go down. We use yak tracks here, don't solve all the worlds troubles but do help stabilize. Attach to your foot wear, check them out. Hope you heal without complication. Both head and heart.

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  35. I've been spending time this morning catching up on "the renovations" ~~~ so sorry to learn you took a tumble and relieved to learn all is well!
    Helen in Bend OR

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