Over the River, Through the Woods, and Down the Stairs

This was the scene at my parents’ house Thursday afternoon. We were just about to sit down for a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner prepared mostly by my mom and my wife. Everything looked and smelled great! It was the first time my brother and I had both been home at the same time for any holiday in many years. But of course things couldn’t have gone just as we’d planned it!

Thursday morning, Laurie and I headed to my grandmother’s house to put the finishing touches on the pumpkin pies and the Cranberry Delight (which is, by the way, the greatest substance known to man) in her kitchen while mom got everything else together back home. We were supposed to have Grandma and the food back at the house for dinner at 1:00.

Unfortunately, due mostly to my reading rather than helping, we were running a few minutes late. Still, we pulled into the driveway at about 1:15. Grandma was worried that we were holding up dinner, so she insisted that I carry food rather than helping her in the door. There was a railing, after all, and she said she was sure she could make it by herself.

No sooner had I turned around to grab the pies out of the car than I heard a muffled crash, followed by my brother yelling, “Call 911! Grandma fell down the stairs!”

The rear entrance to my parents’ house is a little strange. There are three steps outside, leading to a small little mudroom, which in turn leads into the kitchen. To the left of the back door in the mudroom, there is a step down to a lower landing, from which 8 concrete steps descend into the basement.

Somehow, Grandma Lila, who will be 83 in a couple weeks, managed to fall sideways onto the landing, and then all the way down into the basement! From my first glance down the stairs, I feared the worst. Her head was at an odd angle, with her feet twisted around and up in the air.

Thankfully, we discovered she was mostly coherent, though she didn’t know where she was. The ambulance arrived in only a few long minutes, but had to call for extra help from the fire department to figure out how to safely extract Grandma from the basement. Eventually they managed to stabilize her neck and get her onto a board to carry her up the stairs and out to the waiting ambulance.

After running a barrage of tests, it was discovered that, miraculously, she had suffered only three broken ribs along with several cuts and bruises and a mild concussion. There was no head trauma, and nothing seriously wrong with her back or spine. Though she was (and is) in a lot of pain, she was already back up and walking by Thursday evening!

They kept Grandma in the hospital a couple days for observation, but she’s home now and seems to be doing as well as could be expected. We still aren’t sure whether she tripped and hit her head, or whether she passed out and then fell, but she has no recollection of the fall. It was pretty scary, but she’s going to be just fine.

As for me, I’ve certainly learned my lesson. Next time, I don’t care how much she or anyone else I’m assisting promises they are okay. I’m going to insist on making sure she gets safely inside! I feel like a mega-failure in the chivalry department, but all is well and forgiven.

Please keep Grandma Lila in your prayers. This was certainly a Thanksgiving to remember!

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