I had to call 911 last night. We were going to bed at an unusual early time for us, about 11 pm. As I was moving Guy around the end of the bed using the Hoyer lift, he started to fall. The first minute was full of reality bending, the lift is a stable device, in all 34 years together, one had never failed while we were using it, failed in a way that left Guy falling through space and me trying to stop him. We have had operator error issues, when I hit the valve and he dropped too quickly, but nothing like this. The lift was on its side, his butt was on the floor and his legs were in a painful position. He seemed to be sort of stable, so I grabbed a couple of towels to roll up and put under his legs to get him out of the immediate pain. Next, I grabbed by phone, as I walked the dogs to the back door and locked them in the laundry room. Dialing 911, I next went to the front door, opened it wide and turned on the porch light. Not that they could miss our house with all the xmas lights on.
Walking back to the bedroom, I was now speaking to the 911 operator. I spoke clearly and emphasized that we lived in San Leandro, because there is a street by the same name in Berkeley and once they contacted a fire department for that area and it slowed down their arrival. We went through all the questions they have to ask and then they assured me help was on the way. He was still uncomfortable and I tried to make it better, but instead the t-bar that was resting on the bed, moved and he was going fall backwards, which I knew would put him in more pain, plus, there was a part of the lift that I saw moving in a way that would have pressed into his thigh, possibly piercing the skin. I did the only thing I could, I grabbed the chain from the top part of the t-bar and held it in place to keep him in the same uncomfortable, but not painful or dangerous position.
The dogs are barking, while we strained our ears to hear if the EMTs had arrived. My position is such that my butt is up in the air, as I bend over part of the bed, holding the chain. My back is straining and my hands hurt. I readjust as much as I can, each time scaring Guy, because he thinks he's going down. Finally, I think I hear people on the porch and call out to them to come in. So, that is the tableau they find us in. A naked Guy in a strange sitting position, surrounded by the harness and the mess of the metal Hoyer lift on its side. I'm dressed in a house dress with my butt in the air. Dogs barking with the urgent insistence that they need to get into the house because . . . well . . . people are here!
It took a little figuring and Guy explaining his needs, but eventually they were able to get him in the bed. We thanked them for listening to him, rather than just moving him, which some people have done in previous emergencies. He was cold and little in shock, but there was no broken bones, no twisted soft tissue, no blood. I was with him from the moment it started and every step of the way as he was moved about and I knew he didn't hit his head. He didn't want to go to the hospital, and I agreed. It has taken me about as long to write this, as it did from the movement he fell to the exit of the EMTs.
Writing this, I sound so calm, which I mostly am DURING the actually emergency, but about 30 minutes after the EMTs left, I was in the bathroom ugly crying, as the "what ifs" go through my head. My body is doing its thing and the tears had to come and the adrenaline had to go.
The cause of all this excitement: one of the wheel stems broke off. Funny thing, Guy had started the process to get a replacement, because we knew it was getting old (at least 12 or more years) and they only give you used ones to begin with. Thanks to our wonderful home care person, Stacey, we were able to rent one from a previous client of her's. She saw it in the house for years, but it was used as a coat rack. We've rented it for 2 weeks (they don't want to sell) and are looking into buying our own, rather than go through the process with Medicare.
FYI: I called Apria this morning for an update on his request for a new lift. They told me they had received the doctor's prescription, but it was denied by Medicare, because Apria no longer holds the contract with them for our area. I wonder when (or if) they were going to call and let us know this bit of news. We're not willing to go through the process of finding who the provider would be, getting a prescription and then still waiting for all the approvals and delivery. We have a little breathing room to source a local one or get a new one, depending on the cost.
2016 is ending on a bang! Hey, any year you can walk away from, is a good year. Not sure how mobile we will be at the end of 2017, the year of tRump.