Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I'd like to say I'm back, but I'm not.

First it was the Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party. To my astonishment, it was even more fun than last year. And this time I don't have to feel guilty about having fun by getting away from my family: I had James along, taking fiddle classes as a beginner, and we had a great time together.

Then I did get home for a while, just over a week in fact, but it took me most of that week to get my clothes unpacked. As fall looms, Dad and I are pushing hard on our construction project, anxious to get past the part where we have holes in the roof.

But there has been another interruption since Sunday night. Let me say first of all: Garth is okay. He will need to wear a brace for a few months while his back heals from a fall off that roof. Actually it wasn't from the roof so much as a small platform eight feet above the concrete slab. The platform is intended to be a sleeping loft, and it is only four feet wide, so its deck is only 2x4 framing. I got joist hangers for it, but I hadn't put them in yet; it was just another thing to do, since the nails were holding fine. Dad and I had been walking around on that platform for days, but maybe not balancing on that last 2x4. Garth came along at the end of the day and decided to help out. As he reached up to help hold a board for Dad, the nails in the 2x4 let go. Dad looked over and saw "somersaulting happening," and for a fraction of a second Garth was falling head first, but he somehow managed to land flat, with the wind knocked out of him.

I had been working outside, so I didn't see any of it, just heard a very loud and long clatter that had to be more serious than a dropped tool or board. When I got to Garth, he was crawling, struggling to breathe, but of course he refused the idea of calling 9-1-1, so we got the car in close and let him crawl in. At the hospital, after some codeine, he started to relax and feel better, but during the course of the X-rays the tech became reluctant to let him move around. The doctor arrived and asked if he had any history of back injuries: they were seeing something on the X-ray but weren't sure if it was a new fracture or something old.

So then we were waiting for a call back from a neurologist, and there was talk of bed rest. But the next thing we heard was that an ambulance transfer had been ordered. Garth grumbled about the cost and the possibility that this was all a lot of bother about nothing; I rushed home and packed a change of clothes for each of us, reassured the kids, thanked Mom and Dad for taking care of things there, and got back to the hospital just after the ambulance had left. When I got to Regina, I found Garth waiting on the back board, wryly commenting that if there really had been something wrong with his back, it would have been better to ride in the car than to bounce along in the back of the ambulance. When the neurologist finally arrived, he had Garth unstrap from the board and roll onto his side - how odd! - and started checking his back for pain. "Does this hurt? Does this?" Soon he was pounding up and down Garth's back: "Does this hurt? No? Then why are you in the hospital?" I wanted to pound the doctor, and not on his back, but Garth found that comment funny.

That joking tone persisted through most of the next day. Garth was to have a nuclear scan, to find out if it really was just an old injury. It turned into two and three tests, each time with four nurses carefully sliding Garth from bed to stretcher and back, each time with Garth's wry commentary about how it would all prove unnecessary. And then we waited. And waited.

At supper time I asked Garth if it was time to throw a fit. If he was to be discharged, it would be really nice to know before it got any later and I was too exhausted to face the two-hour drive home.

But there was another worry, one that I kept to myself: why the extra tests, with no word of results? Had they found something?

I kept thinking the doctor would be coming any minute, but finally Garth sent me to his sister's place to get some rest. I arrived just in time for supper, and then crawled into a bed, expecting to be out like a light.

Between my restless thoughts and the phone call, I guess I probably did get a short nap. Then it was back to the hospital to comfort Garth's new worry, and update all the waiting relatives. Last night I got a better sleep, knowing, but now I should be leaving my sister's peaceful home and getting back to the hospital to ask all the new questions. How long will it take to get the brace? Can I go home and get my kids ready for school, or should I wait one more day here? Will he be able to move around, sit for a car ride, carry things? What should I tell his boss?


Paul said...

I hope Garth's recovery is faster than the doctors anticipated. I'm glad his injury wasn't more serious. That was a long way to fall onto concrete. Best wishes to both of you.

arcolaura said...

Thanks, Paul. He says they told him it's a compression fracture, and that's the best kind to have (if you must have one!). So now he has a slightly shortened vertebra, and he just has to wait for it to harden up again.

Madcap said...

I awfully glad it's no worse than that, but bad enough! Here's to no more injuries during your project.

arcolaura said...

Hear, hear! It will be interesting figuring out how to move ahead with the project now. We were just getting to the part where Garth's occasional contributions would be especially appreciated, but now he will be strictly confined to the ground crew, if he's able to help at all. However, Dad and I have been doing fairly well at figuring ways of lifting things with ropes etc., and I'm sure we'll manage somehow.

arcolaura said...

Oh, by the way, I am actually back home now. Much to do, though, so not likely to be posting much just yet. Garth is still in the hospital, still waiting - this time to be measured for his brace, and then he will wait for it to be made, etc....

Tim Hodgens said...



Time can be your best ally at times and I hope that is the case here with your husband.


arcolaura said...

Well, I hope so too. Time spent carefully being still is difficult for him, so I'm hoping the brace comes fairly quickly.

After that it will be an interesting time, too. We have been laughing about the lessons to learn from this time, and how it appears that he had to go through the pain so that I can learn my life lesson about giving care.