Another bout with injury

Last Saturday evening, Dec. 2, when I went out to our garage to put a pizza box in our recycling I never imagined what would happen next.

I still don’t remember it, but as I was going up the steps back into the house, I grabbed for the railing and missed, falling backward from the top step of two and hitting the back of my head on the front tire of our car, which was parked in the garage.

The next thing I remember was walking into the emergency room at Hills­boro Community Hospital.

Nancy tells me she heard the commotion and came out to help me into the house. I asked why I had a headache and some other things that didn’t make sense—with words that also didn’t make sense—so she loaded me in the car for the trip to the hospital.

Dr. Schmidt was on duty that night, so she ordered a CT scan of my head and it showed that there was bleeding on my brain.

I was in rare form telling jokes, but I can’t remember any of them.

Dr. Schmidt ordered Lifewatch and asked if I wanted to go to Wesley or Via Christi. I said I knew people at Wesley so I wanted to go there. Why I said that I do not know, because I didn’t know anyone at Wesley although I do know quite a few now.

I protested when Dr. Schmidt ordered Lifewatch, but she explained she had spoken to the trauma docs there and I needed to be there as quickly as possible in case something went south—and I would be there if I needed that kind of help.

I thought at first it might be cool to get to Wichita in 23 minutes, but not so. I was strapped in next to a double door flat on my back and all I could see was the Super Moon. They gave me headphones with a mic so it wouldn’t be so loud and I could hear the pilot. He asked me why I was holding on to a post toward the inside of the copter and I told him I didn’t know if they got both doors shut.

After spending Saturday night through Wednesday afternoon at Wesley—two days in the trauma room in Surgical ICU and two days in the regular hospital—they recommended I go to the Newton Medical Center Inpatient Rehabilitation, which had the services I needed, so I would be as safe as possible at home when they were finished with me, so we stopped there on the way home.

I think there were about eight others in Rehab in Newton and one of the requirements is that everyone there eat in the dining room together. We sort of introduced ourselves and the woman sitting next to me was Lael. That name was familiar, but I couldn’t figure out why.

The light eventually went on and I determined that Lael had worked at Moridge in Moundridge as a steel and printing buyer.

I had called on her as a printing salesman for Multi Business Press regularly in the early 1990s. Small world.

It is a week later and I am at home getting stronger and hoping to get back in the flow soon. I met some wonderful, caring people at every hospital, but don’t wish to repeat this episode.

Did I mention the two cracked vertebrae I have?

At Wesley, they discovered I also sustained compression fractures in my T1 and T2 vertebrae and now I am in a neck brace until sometime in January. I am to stay vertical at all times. I can’t take it off even to shower, and it is already making me crazy.

If you wish to share your comments or ideas, my e-mail address is joel@

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