Bad Fall -- Broken Bones
August 9, 2006

On Wednesday, August 9, 2006, about 3:00 pm Karen, a good friend of mine, came over to help me hang a tapestry on the large wall going up the staircase of our house. A scaffolding ladder was used. The scaffolding was set up per the instructions. I tested the scaffolding by positioning myself at either end and in the center. The scaffolding felt very secure. I stood on the scaffolding, while Karen stood on the formal living room floor inline with the stairwell landing to help me center the tapestry on the wall. I held the tapestry up and Karen directed me from her position on the formal living room floor which way to position the tapestry to center it on the wall. When the tapestry was centered on the wall, I let the tapestry slip down to the upper stairs, and I inserted the molly bolt into the wall and attached the right-hand bracket.

I reached down and retrieved the tapestry from the stairs and repositioned myself to the left side of the scaffolding. Positioning the right-hand end of the tapestry rod in the right-hand bracket, I held the tapestry across the wall. From Karenís position on the formal living room floor, she helped me level and center the tapestry. As I held the left-hand bracket against the wall with my right hand, Karen came up to the stair landing; I bent down slightly and handed the tapestry to Karen. As she turned to walk down the lower stairs, I straighten back up still holding the left-hand bracket against the wall with my right hand and a molly bolt in my left hand. As I brought the molly bolt toward the wall with my left hand the scaffolding collapsed. I believe that I fell against Karen and both Karen and I landed on the staircase landing. When the ladder collapsed, I remember being in mid-air very briefly. I have no memory of the actual fall. I landed on my left side, almost on my stomach with my feet and legs going up the upper stairs. My head was lying on the landing. I noticed that the ladder was now laid out flat next to me, between me and the inner wall going up the stairs.

Karen asked me if I was alright, and I responded that no, I was not, that I thought I broke myself. I said that we needed to go to the hospital now due to the intense pain that had immediately set in. I pulled my legs down from the upper stairs and turned my legs and body towards the lower stairs. I was having lots of pain from my left wrist and it appeared to be at a deformed angle. I instantly believed that my wrist was broken. My right foot and ankle were also causing me extreme pain and immediately began to swell. I could not stand up or put any weight on my right foot. I began to scoot on my butt using my right hand and left leg to push myself down the stairs, across the front entrance, out the front door, down the outside steps and across the driveway to Karen's car. She drove us to Kaiser Hospital in Roseville.


August 10, 2006
At home the day after falling.
Pepper on my right and Buddy down at my left side.
I stayed at home until my surgery at Kaiser, August 16, 2006.

My left wrist was compacted with three splinters in my forearm.
Dr. Craig Wall set my wrist.

my calcaneus (heel bone) was shattered.
This is my very own erector set.
A metal plate along the right side with eight screws from side to side
to hold the calcaneus together.
The little things around the edge of my foot are staples.
Aren't you glad you asked!!
Dr. Tim Buell did the surgery on my foot

A few days after surgery on my calcaneus.
The surgery took place August 16, 2006.
I was in the hospital from 8-16-06 to 8-20-06.

I was pretty much covered from head to toe with bruises;
both arms, both legs and across my chest.

August 20, 2006
Moving from Kaiser to Eskaton for additional recovery, therapy and learning how to use a wheelchair.

Returning to Eskaton after receiving a new purple cast (second cast) on my left arm.
This was a good day.

Our Boyz (Buddy and Pepper) visiting me at Eskaton.

Leaving Eskaton after a 10 day stay of recovery (8-20-06 to 8-31-06).
I'm very happy to be going home.

Buddy and Pepper waiting for me to come home.
This hospital bed was mine for about 6 weeks.
I was glad to see it finally go!

Here come some of the graphic pictures.

Checking my surgery before another stiff binding.
Staples and stiches stayed in place for this binding.

And here's that stiff binding going on.

At home with a new cast (black-third) on my wrist and another cast (red-third) on my foot/leg.
The staples from my foot had been removed before this casting.
I wasn't feeling very good this day - actually I had a lot of painful and depressing days during my recovery.
Boy, I did have quite a pharmacy.

Buddy became my constant companion and protector.

The last cast comes off my arm/wrist -- not pretty.

The staples have already been removed - forgot to bring the camera that day.
Now the stiches are removed.

With the last cast off, I now have a "walking boot".

Late-October 2006
Casts are off, but are these really my feet?


I received excellent care throughout the process from the caring and personable staff at both Kaiser and Eskaton. On my left wrist/arm I had one stiff binding followed by two casts. On my right ankle/lower leg I had two stiff bindings followed by one cast. Just food for thought. Clark and I learned early on that it takes a "squeaky wheel" to get certain services. For example, Clark really pressed the issue of my extended hospital stay (6 days) and my stay at Eskaton (10 days), which I really needed. If you ever find yourself in need of Kaiser's services or any medical facility, don't be afraid to be that "squeaky wheel" for those services. Your chances of being successful are very high as Clark and I discovered. Unfortunately, that's how these systems are setup. But again, we feel that we did receive excellent care from the doctors and staff at Kaiser and Eskaton.

November 22, 2006:

It has been over three months since that dark day in August, but now I'm back in my own bed; the hospital bed, wheelchairs, transfer bench (from the wheelchair to the shower/tub), walker and walking boot are history. I'm walking pretty well with the aid of a cane. I still have lots of swelling in my ankle, but I keep doing my excerises and seem to make progress everyday. I'm also continuing physical therapy on my wrist. The doctor and therapist for my ankle told me that it could be up to six months before I'm able to walk unaided and maybe even run. But, I must be patient and obey the doctor's and therapist's orders. The swelling is what will go away slowly.

For more than half the time I was hosptilized and at home in my casts, I was dealing with various stages of depression. Although I may not have shown it at the time, I really appreciated the visits I had as these visits took my mind off some of what I was living. I'm beholden to my visitors and to the many family and friends that sent me cards, flowers and many e-mails of prayers and good wishes. Especially, to my nieces and nephews for sending me a potted gardenia plant. They knew exactly what would be good for me. My love to all of you. My love especially to Karen and Nancy who spent so much time taking me to the hospital after my fall for various appointments in preparation for my ankle surgery. My love and thanks to Clark's sister-in-law, Mary, for staying with me until Clark was able to return home from working in Boston. My love and great thanks to my life partner, Clark, for helping me during my recovery. His job in caring for me was as difficult as my job was in my own recovery. I couldn't have done it without him.

If someone has a similar injury to their calcaneus, I hope that what I've shown and said will help you. But best advice is to be careful and stay off scaffoldings.

Update: December 25, 2006

Last Monday I saw my doctor for a check on my ankle. He is very pleased with my progress, especially since he didn't think I would be able to walk until January or Febuary. In case you didn't know, I'm walking without any aid. I still have lots of swelling in my lower leg/ankle. The doctor says this swelling could last another 2 months to 1 1/2 years, but I'm working on the lesser of the two choices. Also, I started back to the gym this past Monday and it really seems to be helping as the swelling is not nearly as great as it has been lately. Now, here's to a great 2007 with no broken bones!

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