Friday nights are usually reserved for going out to dinner, kicking back and relaxing with friends. Unfortunately last Friday began that way but ended up being a disaster! Around 9pm we were enjoying a beer and good conversation when i received a frantic phone call from my sister. “Dad fell,” she cried, “come home!” Ray and I were out the door and on the road in seconds. We were only a few miles from home so it only took us a matter of minutes to get there.
What we found was not pretty. My 88 year old dad was lying flat on his back on the floor of his room looking a bit dazed and confused with a 47 inch flat screen television lying next to him. Believe it or not the TV was still on! My dad was conscience but bruises covered his left arm, a large bruise was on his upper chest and he had a cut under his right eye. He was also complaining of back pain.
Apparently my dad had been reaching for a shirt that was hanging behind the door and lost his balance. Instead of keeping his walker in front of him, he had turned away from it so it was behind him and he had nothing to hang on to. On his way down he reached out trying to grab hold of something to keep him from falling and managed to pull the ironing board and flat screen down on top of himself, hitting him squarely on the chest and pinning his arm down. Fortunately his walker absorbed some of the TV’s weight. Who knows how bad it could have been if the TV had fallen unobstructed on top of him.
Now here’s the thing, my dad struggled trying to get out from under the TV for nearly two hours! Two hours! Needlessly! That right, the entire time he had a ‘Life Alert’ around his neck, all he had to do was push the button and help would have arrived in a matter of minutes. But instead he struggled for the two hours until he freed himself enough to reach his cell phone. He called a lady friend who was able to reach my sister. She rushed over to the house, then called me in a panic!
So there he lay on the floor of his room looking small, embarrassed and thoroughly exhausted. I asked him if he hurt anywhere and if he could move his legs. He proceeded to move them but winced in pain and said his back was hurting him. With that said there was no way I was going to try to move or lift him and risk further injury so we pushed the button on the ‘Life Alert,’ told the woman who responded what had happened and waited for help to arrive. My dad’s only request was that the paramedics and fire department not arrive with sirens blaring. Thankfully they honored his request.
After spending nearly five hours in the emergency room they admitted him into the hospital where he remained until Monday afternoon and he hated every minute of it. I’m thinking that that may have been one of the reasons he didn’t call for help sooner. He most likely knew he was going to wind up in the hospital and chose to prolong the inevitable. He told us he didn’t push it because it’s expensive to call out the cavalry, but he’s got insurance and he knows it. The deductible is minimal. I really think he didn’t want to go to the hospital because he knew he would be there for awhile.
I spoke to the doctor before my dad was released and he informed me that my dad had suffered a mild heart attack. I found that kind of strange because when asked he dosen’t recall any tightness or pain in his chest or left side,(other than where the TV hit him) burning sensation or any difficulty breathing. The main indicator seemed to be a rise in his enzyme levels normally associated with a heart attack. A good friend with a background in hematology told me it was possible that the rise in enzymes could have been a result of the trauma to the chest caused by the TV falling on him. Today at my dad’s follow up appointment his regular doctor said the same thing, that there was a chance it wasn’t a heart attack. He suggested we still follow up with a visit to the cardiologist as a precaution which we are going to do.
My dads been home for 3 days now and showing definite signs of improvement. He’s been catching up on his sleep and getting plenty of rest and his appetite is returning. I can’t tell you how many times he’s apologized for inconveniencing us and being such a burden. We’ve told him time and again that he isn’t a burden and his health and well-being are all that’s important. He usually just looks at us kind of sheepishly and says thank you. That’s my dad! We all know there are no thanks necessary, we do want we have to for our loved ones no questions asked. But there is one thing, “next time just push the button Pops!”