AnnaMarie's Story:

November 12, 2011 started out like any other day. I was with some friends who along with myself enjoy the “Niagara Concert Series” (my husband, not so much) were looking forward to that night’s performance. And as suspected we enjoyed it immensely.

My girlfriend, a retired nurse and her husband, another friend who was a retired fireman and his girlfriend and I were still revelling from the music so decided to carry this party back to my house for tea and donuts. 

When we arrived there my husband was anxious to hear how the entertainment was.  It was November and he had pulled out some warmer pants for himself and they had drawstrings at the bottom. 

As I had poured some tea for my guests my husband went around the corner of the kitchen to go down the stairs to the restroom. At the top of the stairs his toe caught the loop of the drawstring (we realized later) and he fell down the stairs (5 stairs).  I had just brought in a large clay pot that morning and yes you guessed it, the clay pot was at the bottom of the stairs where he landed.

I hadn’t even noticed that my husband had left the kitchen when we heard this huge crash.  At first l thought that the stained glass window had fallen as it was also at the bottom of the stairs. My girlfriend’s husband got up to look and screamed my husband’s name.  We all jumped out of our chairs and there he was unconscious, laying on his left side at the bottom of the stairs.  We were stunned! It looked like when he started to fall he turned his body away from the window but his head caught the side of the planter.

Immediately my retired nurse friend and retired fireman buddy went into emergency mode and quickly took control of the situation.  In a matter of seconds they had assessed my husband. I will never forget my girlfriend looking up at me and saying, “AnnaMarie call 911 now!!!

The 911 call brought the ambulance and fire department and he was taken to the Niagara Falls General hospital. My friends took me to the hospital and were still there with me when the Doctor in Emergency told me to get my family together.  WOW, I couldn’t help but think to myself, how life as I knew it had changed in an instant.

My husband was moved to ICU at the St. Catharines General Hospital where he was in a coma for 12 days. The coma was partially induced because the Doctors were not sure of the damage that he sustained.  Every day seemed like a month as life seemed to be at a blurry standstill. I had no idea that the nightmare was just beginning. Had my husband died…while it would have been as emotionally upsetting due to the suddenness, everything else would have been looked after allowing for some peace of mind.

However, his being in a coma changed everything. I mean EVERYTHING.

Now I want you ladies to listen closely. I am not telling this story so that you will feel sorry for me because it does have a happy ending.  Even though he had fractured his skull from ear to ear and had a severe concussion. The way the fracture happened the skull had the room to swell. This meant he didn’t have to have surgery to relief the pressure on his brain. He spent six weeks in the hospital and we were able to get him home a few days before Christmas. 

The biggest problem, and I know that I created it, was I didn’t have a clue about the money matters.  I always had my jobs to do and my husband had his jobs to do and his job included the banking, the bill paying and all of the investments that we had.  I was a stay at home Mom when our children were small. He made the money and I would spend it…I shopped mostly with a credit card and like magic at the end of the month bills were paid and everyone was happy.  Oh yes, my husband tried to explain the investments to me, RSP, GIC, cash accounts, transferring money here and there at certain times….and I remember saying to him, “that’s your job, you take care of it.” 

Boy–oh-boy…was I in trouble now.  I didn’t know any passwords…but that was OK…I thought I could go to the bank and talk with the teller…I didn’t know how or need to do internet banking….I was OK for that part….but it was now the time to sell stocks for our cash account so that I could pay the credit cards and buy groceries and Christmas gifts????  My husband had not set up Power of Attorney for our investments.  When I called our Investment advisor he told me that he wasn’t authorized to take any financial directions from me, nothing was in place if my husband was out of commission, only if he passed. An eye opening experience to say the least.

Yes, a lot of interesting things happened throughout his hospital stay.  Family and friends were a huge support system. I wasn’t leaving the hospital the first few weeks so my sister in law parked her camper in the parking lot of the hospital so my sister (who never left my side those first  (Continued at Right) 
 

few really scary weeks) and I had a place to sleep other than the waiting room outside the door of ICU. Lots of friends and family made sure we all were well fed. I don’t know what I would have done without the support that I received from so many, many wonderful friends, family members, hospital staff and so many caring folks from our church.


My husband came home the week of Christmas but that did not by any stretch of the imagination mean that he was able to take the finance job back. His sister had offered to lend us the money we needed to get us through the next few months. That was our saving grace.  His memory returned gradually and he was able to resume his love of investing and the stock market.  

Have things changed?  Yes! All the proper paperwork is in place in the event of an accident to either of us.  I do internet banking and I attend all the meetings with our financial advisor and actually have input. We still have him do all the research but I am now an informed investor and can make decisions if need be.

I would like to urge you to check your own situation and see if the paperwork is in order.  If there is a job that you or your partner has ownership of, make yourself informed of the vitals pertaining to it.  

Recently I was talking about writing this story to a few ladies at a campsite. It soon became an in-depth conversation about all the things they relied fully on their husbands to do and up until that moment didn’t want to learn to do. One lady wouldn’t be able to get home if she had to drive their motor home. One lady didn’t know how to run the snow blower.  One lady had never done the banking. None had ever considered what would happen if their spouse suddenly went into a coma or worse.  
    
As women we need to be more pro-active in knowing how to take care of ourselves and YES…it goes both ways. The important people in our lives need to know how to take care of themselves if God forbid it is us who is put into limbo land due to a freak accident or unexpected debilitating illness.

So…What did I learn from this life experience?
Don’t wear pants with those elastic cinches…
Don’t put large ceramic planters at the bottom of stairs…
When trouble comes your way you find out who really cares…
Many of the nursing staff in ICU should have angel wings…
You should be on first name terms with your financial advisor… 
If you’re an investor you should be an informed investor…
 You don’t realize what you have until it is gone.

 

 AnnaMarie is an Iridologist & Nutritional Counsellor who believes Your Eyes Truly are the Window to Your Health.

AnnaMarie is a Proud Member of Our WOW Directory 

You can't always prevent accidents, however you can be proactive in taking a preventative approach to your health.

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