documenting the fall of Man (and Mena)


I took an ungraceful ride down my first-floor stairs on Friday night. As I don’t remember anything about the actual fall, I can only say that I was performing a routine chore just before taking my dog for a walk in the backyard. Every night, I gather up the recyclables that pile up in the kitchen and bring them downstairs to a large plastic container in the basement. I clearly remember walking with a small plastic container toward the top of the steps. The next thing I remember was the wail of a siren and the flashing lights of an ambulance pulling in front of our house.

I don’t remember the EMTs rushing in, the ambulance trip to the hospital, or my arrival at the ER. I do remember being told that I was being taken for a CT scan, and remarking that I had visited the same Radiology department earlier that week for x-rays as a follow-up to my back surgery.

My wife Mary, who has been my rock throughout this whole ordeal, tells me I never lost consciousness — and in fact kept telling her “I’m okay”  — when it was pretty clear to her that I wasn’t. Evidently I had traveled the length of my steps and hit my head against the front door frame of the house, further complicating matters by cutting my forearm on broken glass trying to sit up. By the time Mary had come to my aid, blood and glass was all over the place, and she alertly called 911.

The Wayland Fire Department should be commended for their swift response, not that I remember any of it. So too the emergency room at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, where I had my back surgery a year ago nearly to the day, and where Mary also spent some time in recent years. I didn’t have to wait too long for the doctor to come in and patch me up. All in all, it was 10 staples in the skull, 8 sutures on the forearm, and an adhesive on my eyebrow. As the EMTs had cut off my clothes, I left with the gift of a hospital smock and matching pants.

Less than 48 hours later, I haven’t experienced any headaches or dizziness, so I consider myself extremely lucky. My secondary injuries — the contusions on my shoulder, arm, chest and upper back — actually hurt more, and have left me very sore. But it could have been much, much worse.

The moral of the story? Be green — but be careful.

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