Yesterday Rik picked 36 pounds of Italian prune plums from our tree. He had just decided to go back for the last half dozen or so plums when he fell from about 10-15 feet in the air. I was in the kitchen with the dishwasher running and didn't hear anything. Luckily, our neighbor two doors over was in his back yard and heard Rik calling for help. J came over, got me, we called 911 and within two minutes the fire truck was here (we live a block and a half from the fire station). The EMTs followed soon after. They assessed his condition: Rik could move his arms and legs and head. They told us protocol with a fall from such a height was to take him to Harborview Medical Center's Trauma Center, the region's only Level I facility and one of the best on the west coast.
The ambulance took off. I packed a bag for Rik in case they admitted him to the hospital. I caught up with Rik in the Emergency Department. He spent about three hours on the back board (another standard precaution) and was in the ED until about 7:00 PM. He had multiple CT scans of his head, neck and abdomen and x-rays in the same places. The medical staff were concerned that with his taking coumadin, a blood thinner, he might be prone to internal bleeding.
We finally got the results from the radiology guy around 7 PM. He had no broken bones, no evidence of internal bleeding, and was clear to go home. He wore a neck brace as a precaution and I was to watch him overnight, not let him sleep more than four hours.
It was a rough day and a rough night, but today Rik feels much better. We followed up with our primary care doc this afternoon, who told us to expect that his pain would increase 72 hours from the time of the injury. Some time on Friday I expect Rik to be very cranky....
Rik was extremely lucky. The ED nurse expressed it the best. She said not many people walk out of the Harborview ED on their own two feet the same day they arrive.
We each gave a thanksgiving prayer. I also noted that yesterday was August 18. Eighteen has always been a lucky number for us. I asked Rik to marry me 18 days after we met. We were married on March 18. All of our addresses have added up to eighteen. In Jewish numerology, the value of 18 is most often associated with chai, or life. The outcome of yesterday's fall seems to be life-affirming.
Rik says his tree-climbing days are over!