Warning: This case study contains descriptions of serious injury.
“I got up at 2am to use the toilet. You have my bedroom, then the stairs and then the bathroom. I always kept a light there, but this particular night I had a very dim light on. I used the toilet and then went to go back to the bedroom. The only memory I have is of putting my foot out with all confidence that I was entering my bedroom. That’s when I learnt how strong gravity is and how speedily it pulls you down.
“I think I ended up headfirst at the bottom of the stairs and my legs were around the curve. I was in shock. I knew my phone was on the side of my bed, on the little side-table. I did feel wet and sticky, so I had enough sense to know I was bleeding. I thought I had to get up there, I went to turn, and my left wrist was dangling back, broken. So, I crawled on my elbows all the way up, pushing up with my knees. I crawled up to the bed and I managed to put my bottom half on the bed, and I shimmied then up the bed. I went to pick my phone up, but I couldn’t hold it because my wrist was smashed. So, I thought ‘Keep thinking, you’ve got to keep thinking if you want to stay alive’.
“I phoned Derrel’s number, my son, he only lives two doors down. He came over. I can’t remember him getting me downstairs. He rang Cheryl, my daughter, and he rang the ambulance. They told him that there were no ambulances for seven hours.
“I must have come round as I heard tap tap and Cheryl came in. She said, ‘Oh my God’, and then I heard her head cracking on the quarry stone tiles in the kitchen. She had to have her head glued in three places!
“I don’t know what happened then, but the story is that Derrel ran across the road and got his work van. He has bench seats in it. He carried me out, he helped Cheryl out. He drove us straight into A&E.
“They sent me up at 9:30am to the trauma unit in the Heath Hospital. They said I was going into kidney failure, that there were cracked ribs, and I had a punctured lung. I was bleeding inside, and they didn’t expect me to last the night. But I did!
“I had two clots on the brain, I had smashed my upper jaw and I had fractured my wrist. I think I was up there 23 days and then they sent me back to the Princess of Wales.
“I knew I had to get home – I wanted to see my garden, I wanted to see my trees. But the most important thing was to see my children, my grandchildren, and my great-grand-children.
“I heard of these lovely people called Care & Repair, and they literally got things out here within days for me. All my downstairs had to be cleared for the bed.
Cheryl (Euronwydd’s daughter):
“As you can imagine mam’s accident traumatised us as a family, and we felt that we had lost her. She was 6 weeks in the major trauma unit in the Heath Hospital, then she was transferred to Princess of Wales Hospital Intensive Care Unit.
“My first encounter with Care & Repair felt like a lifeline. We as a family were unsure what help she would receive. We felt nervous and apprehensive about the discharge, and I had just days to arrange the aids and adaptations for her house.
“Contact with Cath Dixon (Care & Repair Caseworker) was easy and reassuring. Home visits were carried out, aids and adaptations delivered on time, and with some urgency.
“The experience for me [of Care & Repair] has been such a positive one. I have always been able to contact Cath for advice and Cath and the team have always come up with the goods. The team are always so friendly and accommodating. We would have been lost without them.
Euronwydd has been interviewed by the BBC about her fall and to raise awareness about the risks and how adaptations from Care & Repair can help. You can read that here.
For more information about falls and how to reduce the risks, please visit our falls page.