Eleven Days Ago

Eleven days ago I was asleep in bed. It was early, but I’d had a headache and decided to retire early. I was deeply asleep and it took a number of rings for the phone to break through to my awareness. I finally picked up to hear my wife saying “I fell”. I asked where she was and she said she was just past the bridge in our community. She’d been on a “pick-up run” to get some food that had been delivered to the gate. One of many such runs lately as we’ve been under a lock-down due to Covid and the main source of food is through bulk buys with the community and deliveries will come anytime of day and night. Normally I would have been driving her on our scooter, but she didn’t want to wake me so she went herself.

I dressed quickly. Just a pair of shorts and t-shirt and ran downstairs, grabbed a mask and took off as fast as I could. I wasn’t very fast. I thought what a bad husband I am to be in such bad shape that I can barely run during an emergency. But I didn’t stop. I pushed through till I arrived at the bridge, climbed the steps, crossed, and saw her on the ground at the bottom of the steps on the other side. Going down she told me that her leg was hurt and she couldn’t get up. A neighbor was there too so she wasn’t alone. So, I said to wait and I would go get the wheelchair that her mother usually used. I’d just put it away earlier that evening after we had all gone to the community center for our covid screening. I ran back home, again slow, but again not stopping. Breathing hard I wheeled the chair from home back to the far end of the bridge — taking the ramps instead of the steps. Later I would learn that my wife had missed the down ramp and drove the scooter directly off the concrete steps. Without a helmet. Her injuries would prove to be severe, but not as bad as they could have been. Thinking back, I’m grateful now. At the time, I wasn’t thinking much except one step at a time — and trying to catch my breath.

I lifted her into the wheelchair and wheeled her quickly but carefully to our home — still breathing way too hard. I told her to wait as I grabbed the car keys and my ID. She cried out in pain as I lifted her into the back seat. She whimpered the whole trip to the Emergency Room. At the gate of our community I tried to explain the situation to the guard in my broken Chinese — normally not so bad but the situation was not normal and I didn’t have the vocabulary. I needed a pass to get out because of the Covid lockdown. We figured each other out and the guard gave me a pass. That got us out of the community but wouldn’t get us out of the district. I had to go to the local police station to get another pass. It was just around the corner so it didn’t take too long. Thirty minutes later I was pulling into the ER.

I’m sharing these facts with little emotion. Not because I don’t have strong feelings about that night eleven days ago, but because I experienced it that way. I was operating on auto-pilot. I needed to get my wife the care she needed. I couldn’t help her with the pain as she cried in the back-seat. I could just drive as calmly and safely as I could to get her into professional hands. Now I look back in horror at what could have been. She ended up with a shattered ankle and a bruised and battered body, but she is alive with no critical head or back injuries. After launching off a bridge. With no helmet. Down concrete stairs. And crashing on a concrete pathway. The pain has been intense for her. She says much worse than giving birth. Not a little worse. Much worse. But all things considered she is blessed. We are blessed. She is alive. She is aware. She will be ok.

Her surgery will be tomorrow. We’ve been locked down in the hospital since the accident. She recovering slowly awaiting for the inflammation to go down enough to enable a safe and successful surgery. Me at her side. Unable to leave because of the Covid restrictions. Sleeping on a sofa. Washing my clothes in the sink. Learning how to care for my wife in ways that I’ve never had to before. And so grateful for the opportunity.


Be well,

Monty


20 Comments

  1. Catherine says:

    Wishing you lots of strength and love for the coming days xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monty Vern says:

      Thank you Catherine.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Some things don’t bear thinking about. I’ve had a few close calls with my kids like that. I’m grateful with you that your wife’s injuries aren’t worse. Praying for successful surgery and a recovery without complications also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monty Vern says:

      Thank you so much!

      Like

  3. Prayers for her surgery. I am glad you are able to stay with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monty Vern says:

      Thank you so much

      Like

  4. Rachel says:

    Your poor wife!
    All the best for her surgery.

    Like

    1. Monty Vern says:

      Thank you so much!

      Like

  5. Paul says:

    So sorry to hear this Monty. Wish you and your wife well over the coming days. Will be thinking of you. Stay strong, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monty Vern says:

      Thank you Paul!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Monty what a stressful time to go through! Im glad your wife was not more seriously injured. I hope her surgery goes well and that her recovery will be quick and that she gets back to her usual self very soon. Sending all the warm wishes and thoughts

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monty Vern says:

      Thank you so much for your warm wishes! They are much needed. Thank you.

      Like

  7. Why didn’t you bring the wheelchair with you the first time? Or take the car? (I’m assuming it’s not possible to get there by car?)

    I was stressed just reading this post. I’m glad that your wife – although in pain – did not suffer any life-threatening injuries. I shudder to think how many people might be dying due to all these lockdowns you describe and not being able to get the care they need.

    And now you’re trapped at the hospital… What if you had someone else to take care of at home?

    Onto the next two posts, as I believe they are the continuation of this tale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monty Vern says:

      I didn’t know anything what the situation was and wanted to get there as quickly as possible — I didn’t think about the wheelchair and the bridge is a walking bridge. There is no way to get to the other side of the bridge without driving outside the community (which I couldn’t because of the lockdown).

      In fact we do have two seniors (my wife’s parents) at home to take care of. Luckily my wife’s sister managed to make it to our house despite the lockdown and is taking care of them. This was part of the initial stress while we were in the ER the first night. I’m still not sure how my sister in law managed to make it over during lock down. They have roadblocks up between districts. There is probably another story there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow. Just wow. Glad to hear things ‘worked out.’

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Monty Vern says:

      Regarding the “unintended” tragedies of the lockdown there are so many stories that are leaking out despite the censorship. My wife’s aunt passed away when the ambulance never came – she’d had a stroke and was very old and not well so most likely would have passed — but still — the ambulance didn’t come. There are stories about the ambulance coming but refusing to pick up patients because they didn’t have a CoVID test result same day. And most troublesome of all is the stories of the hospitals that are filled with patients but empty of caregivers and people literally sleeping on floors and dying from lack of food and water let alone from what brought them to the hospital originally. Right now the “unofficial advice” going around is to avoid the public hospitals at all costs — dying at home is preferable.

      We are incredibly lucky to have access to a private international hospital. I pay dearly for the access with premium insurance, but the investment is nothing compared to the care we are receiving at such a difficult time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m pleased to hear you are in good hands.

        This reminded me of my own emergency back in 2020 and how a bad situation could have turned into a tragic one when there was a gas leak suspected but the experts would not enter the house do to fear of potential virus exposure. In the end, the gas was shut off outside, in the dead of winter to leave the occupants with no heat until a private contractor was willing to brave it and inspect things.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Monty Vern says:

        Fear is often deadly. 😔

        Liked by 1 person

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