Keeping the Peace
By Tom Lessard, C.D.

“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”
Those were the words that came out of my mouth the day I slipped and fell on the ice next door. I had been to town in the morning and walked in and out of a number of stores with no problem. Then I went home.

When I got there, I noticed that the BRA truck had come and gone, so I gathered up my blue box, threw it onto the porch. Then I reached for my neighbour’s to do the same, but walking across the driveway, I didn’t notice a small patch of ice covered with a light film of snow. Sure enough, I hit it with my prosthetic leg. Down I went, and looking back on it now, I think my leg must have landed on the cement step.
What now?
I lay there contemplating what to do. Rita had worked all night, so I thought she would be upstairs in bed, but I called her name a number of times anyway. Luckily she was still up; she ran out and tried to help me up, but my stump was too sore. She ran in, got a blanket, rolled me onto it, and dragged me over to the porch, which had a railing. I still couldn’t get up, so she went inside and got my wheelchair. She laid down a rug, rolled the wheelchair onto it, and engaged the brakes. I crawled backwards and inched my way up. She pushed me to the steps and, because we don’t have a ramp, I had to use crutches to make my way into the house while Rita brought the chair in.
My stump was swelling rapidly, and I asked Rita to fetch some ice. I called Tele-Health, and the nurse said I should go to the emergency room in Exeter for an x-ray. It took us an hour to get outside, into the car and to the hospital; we arrived at 2 p.m.
The waiting room was empty, so I reported to the reception. The doctors were in a meeting until 4 p.m. or so, so we waited until a new receptionist came on duty at 3 p.m. She sent a nurse out to take me into triage, where she took my blood pressure and sent me back to reception to be documented. I was wheeled into examination at 4 p.m. The doctor had a look at my knee and arranged an x-ray.
After the x-ray, the doctor returned to tell me that the results were inconclusive because the swelling was too hard to see through. He was going to make arrangements at Strathroy hospital for a CAT scan as soon as possible.
The next day, the orthopedic specialist’s nurse called at 10 a.m. and asked me to be at the hospital by 11:15 a.m. That was impossible because Rita wouldn’t be home until 11, and the hospital’s an hour away, so she scheduled me for 1:30 p.m. the following day.
The test done, the doctor told me I have two faint cracks in my femur, put my leg in a half-cast, and sent me home. Can’t walk for three months!

It’s an odd coincidence that exactly 35 years prior to the accident, Rita also spent December 16 at South Huron Hospital. It was a much happier event, though, as she was giving birth to our last child, Casey.