The big fall

Friday, September 30, was supposed to be an exciting day in our house. Leah had been planning to get her ears pierced after school for weeks. That didn’t happen. Fair warning, the description below will be detailed and a bit graphic.

That morning, I was in the shower and the girls were upstairs getting ready for school. Jen picked up the bag of recycling from the kitchen to take it into the garage. From our kitchen, there are two steps down to our concrete garage floor.

Jen slipped on the stairs and fell hard on her backside. She tried to stand up quickly. In doing so, she got lightheaded and passed out. Some time later, she woke up lying face down on the concrete floor with lots of blood around her and excruciating head pain. Apparently she fell face first onto the concrete, and did not catch herself since she was unconscious.

We’re not sure how long she was out cold for, as everyone else was upstairs getting ready. If I had to guess based on timeline, I’d say it was around 5 minutes. After she woke up, she staggered in to the kitchen sink to wash blood off, leaving a significant blood trail all the way. She managed to call for Molly, who came and got me out of the shower. Her nose was bleeding badly, busted lip, terrible head pain, repeated vomiting, bad tailbone pain, arm pain, and more. I came down and didn’t know what to do with her or the kids. I obviously couldn’t leave Jen, so we decided the girls would get the chance to walk to school unsupervised for the first time that morning.

Jen and I debated what to do. She was in serious pain and kept throwing up. Every time she threw up, blood would start streaming out of her nose again. We thought about calling for an ambulance, but decided instead that I’d drive her to the Emergency Room at Howard County General Hospital. Jen brought a William Sonoma mixing bowl to use as a barf bag. She threw up on the drive there, and again in the waiting area at the ER as we waited to go back.

Once we got back to a room, they said it sounded like all the normal symptoms of a concussion. They needed to do a head CT to check for anything more serious, as well as a coccyx X-ray to see if she broke her tailbone. They gave her some painkillers to help with the head pain, and treated an abrasion on her arm. To prevent her busted lip and nose from bruising/swelling, they gave her an ice pack for her face. She thought it was hilarious to have this giant thing on her face, which was good since she needed her spirits lifted at the time.

Ice pack

Thankfully, both the head CT and the coccyx X-ray came back clear - no broken bones, no internal bleeding. A concussion is no fun, but we were grateful it wasn’t worse. She had bruises in several places (all on her left side, so she evidently landed there), but no broken bones. As Jen rested, recovered, and let the medications take effect, she started to feel a good bit better. The head pain dulled and she stopped throwing up. We put away the William Sonoma mixing bowl (which received compliments from nurses and doctors).

They released her around 3:00, which meant we got home in time for me to pick up the girls. We were worried that they spent the day entirely freaked out after the morning’s events and not knowing how their mom was. They were, of course, perfectly fine. Their first question was how their mom was doing, but with no fear that something really bad might have happened. Leah’s second question was whether she’s still be able to get her ears pierced that day. She was disappointed when the answer was no, but understanding that it was just a short delay.

Jen then spent the next few weeks taking care of her brain so she could heal. No TV, no reading, no driving for a while. She then slowly introduced those things back into her life. For several days, she kept finding bruises she had not noticed before. And after a month, she’s now finally pretty much back to normal (though she still can’t quite do everything at the gym she used to thanks to the rear end injury).

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