… and the good news is….

I knew I was in a hospital when I woke up because I had tubes in me everywhere, and I mean everywhere. The second thing was there was a doctor, a couple of nurses and my wife surrounding my bed.

“You’ve broken your hip.” the doctor announced with authority.

This time whatever pain killer they had me on preempted any smart ass remark, like “What was your first clue?”

“The bad news,” the doctor started.

Those three words knifed their way through my morphine induced fuzziness. My mind said “You kidding me. a broken hip is the good news.”

The doctor continued, “because you take Eliquis, the new blood thinner, for your heart; we need to wait at least forty-eight hours for the drug to be out of your system to make the surgery safe. If it were elective surgery we would wait a week.”

Having said that he handed me the button which controlled the intravenous morphine pump. “When you start to feel the onslaught of pain, push the button.”

I immediately pushed the button and continued to push it for forty-eight hours while I laid in the hospital bed waiting for surgery for my broken hip.



“What’s your emergency?”

“My husband fell from a ladder and can’t get up. I think he broke his hip or leg.

“What’ s your location?.”

My wife has the phone on conference so that I can hear the conversation with the dispatcher. (we both know that otherwise one will have questions they thought the other should have asked and didn’t, and somehow both parties will feel abused.)

“Did he hit his head?”

“No, it’s not life threatening so you won’t have to come with sirens or anything.”.

(This no siren thing is most important to me. I hate the type of attention a siren brings in this community.)

No sooner was the no siren request out of my wife’s mouth than I could hear it in the far distance. Then closer and louder, and closer and louder, then silence at the gate and then finally one last blast of the siren as they came down our street.

From my excellent viewing angle on the concrete floor, I can see the ambulance parked, lights flashing at the end of the drive. And then nothing happens, just the ambulance lights flashing. I suspect the delay is for purely theatrical reasons and to give everyone a chance to get to their windows to see what’s happening.

Finally, they EMTs saunter up each with his bag and the questioning begins.

“Are you Mr. Foos?”


“What happened?”

“Stepped off the ladder too soon.”

“Were you dizzy?”


“Have you fallen in the last three months?”


Ordinarily I might enjoy this stimulating game of twenty questions, but, I have been lying on this cold concrete floor for over a half an hour, and I would like some help.

“How far did you fall?”

“A couple of feet.”

“Did you hit your head?”


“Were you dizzy?”


Next was the medical history which I’ll spare you just in case you’re lying on a cold, hard, concrete floor with an excruciatingly painful broken hip.

“Can you stand?”

I refuse to answer other than giving an “if looks could kill” glare.

“Can you slide onto the stretcher?”

Again, no answer but both wife and I are glaring.

“I guess we will use the pinchers then.”


“We put one side of the stretcher, called a “pincher” on each side of you, attach the two sides and crank them together pinching you onto the stretcher.”

I was then duly pinched, jostled onto a gurney, rolled to the ambulance, bounced in, and locked in. That’s all I can remember of that journey. I suspect I passed out from the pain, or they gave me some kind of medication. I do remember that there were a lot more questions asked on the way to the hospital. Have no idea who answered them.

“Sticks and Stones….”

Well, the week before Thanksgiving I was installing shelving along the wall of my garage.  I stepped off my seven foot step ladder two rungs too soon.  I did a perfect one point landing on my hip and broke it.

I immediately looked around hoping no one had seen me.  No, well that was good news.

Being a coach, I started the check out.  Vision good. Head turns right and left; up and down – good.  Left arm full range of motion – good.  Right arm full range of motion – good.  Left leg “aaarrrrggghhhhhhh!” – definitely not good.  Right leg “aaarrrrggghhhhhhh!” definitely not good.  Use upper body to move lower body.  You guessed it “aaarrrrggghhhhhhh!”.

Which takes us back to the what appears NOW to not have been such good news.  I am lying on my back in the middle of the garage floor.  The garage door is open but a good distance from the street.  My wife is in the kitchen baking Christmas cookies with “Jingle Bells” and other holiday songs playing from the living room.  My cell phone which I always have with me is charging in the bedroom.  I decide to exercise my one and only option and wait as my body becomes aware of what I have done to it and increases the frequency and intensity of pain messages to my brain.

Fortunately within fifteen minutes my wife comes to see if the dog is with me in the garage.

“Have you seen the dog, and what are you doing” she asks?

Fortunately by now the pain has overridden what would have been “Admiring the ceiling of the garage with its dingy shade of white” smart ass remark.  “I stepped of the ladder too soon and fell.”

We repeat the first aid questions. The only difference being that she has to move the left leg herself which illicits “aaarrrrggghhhhhhh!” from me.  And, before I can stop her she tries moving the right leg.  Again,”aaarrrrggghhhhhhh!”

“Should I call 911?” she asks.  This is not really as dumb of a question as you might think.  You must remember she is talking with the male of the species with whom she has lived for over fifty years.

“Let me think about it.” I reply.  Mind you I have been lying on the cold, hard concrete for twenty minutes but still I go through the possibilities.  Could my five foot wife drag me to the car and hoist my six foot frame into it?  This would not be likely in any universe.  What about rolling myself into the trailer for the lawn mower and using the lawn mower to get me to the hospital?  That lost plausibiity at the thought of me rolling anywhere.  Neighbors?  Out of town.  Finally, I reluctantly give the what should have been the obvious answer “Call 911”.

Before she leaves to call 911 she turns and asks, “Do you want me to bring you nicer clothes?” as she walks back into the house.