I was upstairs in a teleconference for work, when I heard a whole lot of commotion and yelling from down stairs. BR was down there with some friends making dinner, so at first I just assumed they were having a good time and "getting happy." In the second wave of shouts, I could make out my name and a sense of urgency. I stuck my head out the office door to see what was going on. "Bobrobert has fallen off the porch! Get down here quick!" A choice expletive and a quick good-bye to the conference, and I was flying down the stairs.
BR was laying on the sidewalk at the foot of the porch stairs, his iBOT on its side and partially on top of him, sounding the all too familiar "red alarm." I powered off the chair, and tried to lift it out of the way, but it was good and wedged on the railing. So I turned my focus to BR.
"Are you OK?"
"Yes." He sounded a little shaken up.
"Did you hit your head?"
"No, sir." Whew. I felt around his scalp just to make sure.
There was no blood and only a few noticeable scrapes on his elbow. At this point, I wanted to ask, "How did this happen?" but realized there would be plenty of time to play Monday morning quarterback later.
Given BR's recent osteoporosis diagnosis, we were all a bit concerned that he may have broken some bones. Without moving him too much, we got him comfortable on the sidewalk with a blanket and the wheelchair cushion for his head, then called the hospice after-hours nurse for help. He took our information, then advised us to call 911, because BR would likely require x-rays in the ER. While a neighbor called, I had Jordan gather all his medication, and I grabbed his DNR. The ambulance arrived and soon he was on a stretcher and on his way to the hospital.
BR hates the ER. His medications give him intense dry mouth, and he's never seen without a bottle of water. So it irks him to no end that from the moment the EMTs arrive until he's seen by the ER doctor, he's not allowed a drop of water. But that doesn't stop him from asking, begging, and pleading. All told, he was without water for a little over an hour, and very happy when he was finally given some.
The doctor ordered some x-rays and a Dilaudid injection. We just laughed, as previous experience with Dilaudid has shown it to have absolutely zero effect on BR. He got Demerol instead.
They took the x-rays, which didn't show any fractures. The doctor wanted to order a CAT scan, but we decided against it. All told, we were in the ER for three hours and left with peace of mind that his bones were still intact.
But things won't be the same. The front porch was BR's place to be social with the neighbors -- one of the few daily social opportunities he has apart from Jordan and myself. He will now require supervision when on the porch. An extra set of eyes to make sure this type of thing doesn't happen again. A little less independence.