It takes a village, but a CAH would be nice


I had just texted my daughter before her

flight left Reno and got my coffee maker

going. Remembering clothes left in the

washer, I went to toss them in the dryer. In

my much-remodeled cabin there is about

a 5-inch step up into the laundry room to

accommodate new pipes. I stepped up with

my right foot, lifted the left foot. That was

when my slipper dropped, caught on the

step with the foot still in it. I catapulted

forward trying to catch myself and went

down on the tile. I don’t recall landing.

How long I was out no one knows, but I

woke to extreme pain in both knees and left

foot. I managed to drag myself to the carpet

in my bedroom; then tried to figure how

to get up on the bed. There was nothing

for it but to grip the bedding, get one knee

under me and go for it. I reached for my

phone and the bed control to lift my head

and lay there assessing my hurts and who

to call for help. I chose 911 and the emergency

responders, but only after cautioning

dispatch that the gate must be closed – or

Missy was sure to take a walk. She didn’t

but jumped on my bed to either protect me

or go wherever I was going. That didn’t

happen either as my friend Susan came to

get her while I was transported to the emergency

clinic.

Somehow, despite intense leg and foot

cramps and my yelling, x-rays were taken

of my foot. Sure enough, four broken foot

bones to add to a displaced patella, two

swollen, purpling knees, bruised ribs and

a black eye. Eventually I was patched up

as much as possible. With no one at my

house, I expected to go to the Sublette Center

but was taken home. Fortunately, my

neighbors the Webers came to my rescue

until son Mark arrived from Salt Lake City.

It was a miserable weekend with me

sleeping on the hideabed, Mark in a recliner

close by, and using a kitchen chair

on casters as a wheelchair in close quarters.

After stuffing me in the backseat, we went

to the clinic Monday for a 9 a.m. appointment

to learn I wasn’t on the schedule.

This did not go over well with Mark as he

headed to St. John’s emergency in Jackson.

With relief he turned me over to the staff

there for a CT scan of my head and an MRI

on my knee. Once settled in my room the

kitchen staff fed us both and Mark drove

back to Pinedale.

I was at St. John’s for four days with

Mark coming and going. With no rooms

available in Jackson (that we could afford),

the staff brought in a sort of hideabed chair

for Mark to stay. His shoulders didn’t fit

but he made it work. He stayed with me

two days meeting staff and doctors, then

returned to Pinedale to enjoy the Fourth

with the Webers. I lay in St. John’s listening

to helicopters take off and land. The

highlight was taking a long shower!

Friday morning I transferred to the Sublette

Center, meeting folks I knew from

when I worked there 20 years ago and new

staff. I am receiving physical and occupational

therapy daily so far. It doesn’t rank

with jogging 5 miles or circuit training but

works and manages to tire me out sufficiently.

So, what have I learned to pass on to

you? The unexpected happens; expect it.

You, like me, just won’t know when. Be

prepared. Have a list of your contacts,

your medications, your doctor and advance

directives. Get a red plastic magnetic

envelope from Janine at Rendezvous

Pointe to put those in and stick on your refrigerator.

Have folks ready to step in and

help with your kids or pets. If you have

an emergency, have a relative or friend

go with you as an advocate, help with decisions

and to remember what you might

forget. Bear in mind that the Bible tells us

“This too shall pass.”

Villages come in various guises, sizes

and purposes. The EMTs knew what they

were doing and worked together. Family

comes together for support, prayers and

solutions. The hospital staff offers professional

care and advice. The Sublette Center

picks up where they left off for safety, care

and encouragement. Friends visit so you

know you are not forgotten, and folks are

pulling for you to get through it all.

I know it’s not prudent to push going

home until I can safely be on my own. But

that goal is with you every moment: to be

independent again, to have Missy on my

lap, and have my life back. I thank all those

‘villages’ mentioned above, but a critical

access hospital would have been wonderful,

especially one with an MRI. It truly is

needed. Next time it might be you.

Mary Louise Routh Brodie is a freelance

writer and Pinedale resident. Her

column appears in the Roundup every

other week.

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