So, the other night , I got up to use the restroom. I was sleeping in Phoebe’s room, keeping her poor lost kitty, “Gus” company.
The hallway was pitch black, I could not see my hand in front of my face. And I remember thinking, “No problem, after 12 years – I can do this blindfolded, I know this house LIKE the back of my hand!!!”.
I came out of the bathroom, and went to walk back down the hall to Phoebe’s room , I stepped…and my left foot went into open air..
“Phew I thought…that’s the staircase…go a few feet more…”,
…so with my right foot I took a confident stride, further forward, down the hall … but instead, I went …
into nothingness!!! Into the blackness….AND FELL.
I fell forward, down and kept trying to grab a rail, the stair, something but I could see nothing and nothing met my hand…flailing , I just kept going down. I tumbled down the stairs, like out of a movie, in slow motion and just when I thought I had gotten to the bottom of the 18 steps …. I flipped backwards…over the rail and down onto the floor below…flat on my back.
For a moment…I was stunned – the wind had been knocked out of me, I could not breathe…but in seconds I screamed and sobbed – “HELP!!! help! Damon! HELP!!!” I was afraid to move and I was not sure I could move if I tried. The room was spinning and my arms really hurt. And then I started shaking, SO hard it was almost like a convulsion but I was not cold.
Damon and Cooper ran down. It was established that I was alive. I could move my limbs…But my neck and my back hurt very bad and 911 was called and the rest is a long story that includes an ambulance ride and ends with good news, my spine is intact, I have no lasting head injury, just a big lump on the back of my head and the 50 odd deep dark bruises that keep popping up and filling in gaps in the story and which will all eventually fade. I hurt all over – I feel like I fell down a flight of stairs…cause I did. But I will be okay.
I am so very grateful to be alive. I am grateful for my husband and my son. My children at college. For Charlie the dog who would not leave my side. For the sweet recent JMU nursing school graduate named Emily who held my hand in the ambulance and put my hair back into a ponytail and kept me distracted with conversation. For the Martha Jefferson ER staff that were each brilliant, gentle, sweet humans. And the X-ray tech who helped me take off my necklace. And kept saying “I’m sorry if I hurt you.”
It was surreal. It happened in an instant.
Leave the night-light on. Always make sure you tell the people you love – that you love them. Even if you fancy yourself “not the mushy type” – figure that part out. Life can change on a dime.