Last Thursday, my husband Kurt and I traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan for his stepmother’s 100th birthday parties on Sunday and Monday. (She still has “all her marbles,” and it was lovely to celebrate with her.) On Saturday morning we were getting ready to go out, so I was taking a shower in the hotel’s shower/tub. Suddenly, while getting ready to rinse my hair, I lost my balance in the shower, and fell onto the floor. (As I was going down, I was thinking, “This isn’t going to end well.”) Bad enough that I fell on my head. Worse was that there was a cabinet under the bathroom sink toward which I fell, and the cabinet ripped into my scalp.
(Did you know that head wounds produce a LOT of blood? I should know – I’ve had more head injuries than the average bear. When I was eight years old, I fell off a horse, and it proceeded to step on my head – six stitches. When I was fourteen, I ran full-force into a vehicle that was sticking out of a driveway one evening (broken streetlamp) with a load of lumber on top – concussion for about 12 hours. About 15 years ago, I lost my balance when roller skating at a rink, and fell on my butt before hitting the back of my head.
Fortunately I have a “hard head,” in more ways than one!)
Well, I immediately hollered out for Kurt, who was in the bedroom. (No concussion, thank goodness!) Fortunately, he is a rock in a crisis. He was able to get me up off the wet, bloody bathroom floor, and we started to stanch the wound. Then it was on to urgent care in Kalamazoo. The problem was too severe for them, so it was off to the emergency room (Kurt tells me there are only two emergency facilities in southwestern Michigan). We spent three hours in the waiting room before getting a hospital suite. After looking at the wound, the doctor determined that my skull would need multiple staples (five, as it turned out) to close the cut.
While the team was numbing my skull around the cut, they hit a nerve, and I had a bout of syncope (aka fainting). I’ve had syncope before, and it’s really a terrible feeling. When you suddenly “wake up” from the experience, you have no idea where you are or what has happened to you. After that, to try to get some color back in my cheeks (and because I had not eaten anything since breakfast), I was given some 7-Up and saltine crackers. A few minutes later, I suddenly started violently vomiting. Not only unpleasant, but very painful. After that, the doctor decided to give me an EKG and a CAT scan. Fortunately, those results turned out fine, and about 11 hours after we started this journey, Kurt and I were able to return to the hotel.
The staples in my head are scheduled to be removed on Tuesday afternoon. A friend who had a similar situation told me that the staple removal was worse than the stapling itself (no picnic), while another friend told me today it was not memorably bad. I guess I will find out soon. Just like I will soon find out how much all of this is going to cost me. But as I say, I’m lucky to be alive.
Unsolicited Suggestion #1: If you are showering in a bathtub shower in a hotel, make sure there is some grit on the non-slip pad in the tub (if there IS a pad in the first place!). If not, use EXTREME caution!
Unsolicited Suggestion #2: If you are showering in a hotel room and there is no one else in the room with you, seriously consider NOT putting the non-entry bracket on the door. If I had been alone and had that fall, it would have been a real hassle for paramedics to get in our third-floor room. Better someone steal your stuff than that you lose your life!