The Traveling Steve's

Christmas and post-Retirement Blues in the Hospital.

This week Steve (DOS) and myself, Steve (UNO) flew up to my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia the Christmas holidays. Unfortunately for me, I also ended up spending most of the Christmas visit in the hospital due to a freak pre-Christmas accident.

DOS and I have had such a great December so far, and I guess it was God’s way of telling me to slow down a bit. We had a wonderful recent visit to Jekyll Island (which I still need to post on), and most recently I retired from work last week. Now, here in my first week of retirement I’m in the hospital!

I had started part of this post before the accident, so here are a couple evening photos of our trip up to Roanoke, flying in over the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset.

We flew up to Roanoke the day after I retired, and had a nice early pre-Christmas weekend from Thursday thru Saturday before Christmas. We stayed at the historic Hotel Roanoke, conveniently located downtown near the restaurants, theater and Dicken’s Victorian Christmas block party.

Hotel Roanoke itself is a legend in Roanoke, and was built for the Railroad over 135 years ago; today being operated as a joint venture with Virginia Tech’s Hospitality program. We stayed here as well back in August for my brother Andy and his partner Art’s wedding. In December, Hotel Roanoke is all decked out with community-sponsored and designed Christmas trees, and it’s a fun exhibit to walk thru.

The freak accident in Roanoke happened last weekend, (on Saturday Dec 21rst) and I am currently in the hospital, so posts will be limited and sporadic for the foreseeable future. In a nutshell I’ll eventually be ‘ok’, but had a asthma-related seizure that caused me to blackout and fall, resulting in a fractured C2 vertebrae. It could have resulted in paralysis, so I’m very fortunate it wasn’t worse. I will have to this wear this neck and body brace for the next three months though, which doesn’t scream fashionable or comfortable, and it makes it all but impossible to sleep; talk about “Welcome to Retirement”!

It’s quite frightening I must admit, but thank God, Steve (DOS) is here with me in the hospital. I went to the ER on Sunday and have spent the last two nights in the PCU unit after later being admitted. Fortunately it’s a private room, and being right before Christmas and in this special care unit, it’s very quiet.

The staff at Roanoke Memorial Hospital here are nothing short of outstanding. I’m writing a bit here and there, and am on some heavy meds so forgive me if I’m jumping around a bit or not making sense. As my head is in a brace and I can’t look down or side to side, it’s also rather difficult to type.

A quick recap of the last few days since retirement, while I wait on the nurse for the next test, vitals or nebulizer treatment. I retired last Wednesday from work and as written in my last post, returned the equipment to my employer as I worked remotely when not traveling.

If you’re new to the blog, I do most of the writing, while the other Steve who is the former pilot is nick-named DOS, which is Spanish for number two; or in this case second Steve. Dos (pronounced DOSE) is what I nickname him to differentiate between us two Steve’s. Anyway, DOS and I flew up to my hometown of Roanoke last Thursday from Orlando to spend the Christmas holidays with my family.

We had a wonderful weekend of fun; first with the Billy’s Restaurant Wine pairing dinner on Thursday night. This was their last tasting of the season, and as we were staying right next door at Hotel Roanoke the first two nights, very convenient as well.

On Saturday, my brother Andy, his partner Art, DOS and I went to the “Sound of Music”, which was performed at the Mill Mountain Theater, in the Center in the Square building.

No photography or video was allowed once the show began, so I just took a couple photos from our awesome seats (direct center of auditorium, and no row in front of our seats for plenty of legroom) before the show, and a couple in the courtyard before the show, for this sold out event.

The cast was outstanding, and it was really a fun night out. I did sneak a couple photos during the curtain call and standing ovation by the audience.

Unfortunately the Christmas fun ended later at night when we got back to the hotel. We had reserved the top suite at Hotel Roanoke, the Governor’s Suite for two nights, which is the same suite Andy and Art had reserved for their wedding in August. There are two bedrooms and baths, as well as large living room with fireplace, kitchen, dining area, private terrace and entrance.

We didn’t get back from the show until 11pm, and I had a quick bite to eat from the late night menu at the hotel’s Pine Room.

Unfortunately, as I was getting ready for bed around 12:30am early Sunday morning, I had an asthma or similar coughing attack and apparently blacked out temporarily. Andy and Art had gone to bed, while DOS was washing up and heard a big thump hit the floor. When DOS found me in the living room, I was lying on the floor next to a broken chair!

He asked me what happened and I told him I honestly didn’t know other than I was turning out the lights, and started coughing and was now on the floor. I don’t know if I had sat down in the chair while I turned out the lights and the control to the gas fireplace or fell into it while I was adjusting the lights, but in any event I lost consciousness for a few seconds, and was on the floor next to a chair with a broken leg which I was astounded to see it had cut clear thru.

Initially I’d didn’t feel too bad, and as it was late and there were no bruises or blood, headed to bed. In the morning, Andy and Art had already left for Church, while I remained in bed in severe pain. DOS and checked out of the hotel, after first completing an incident report with Security about the broken chair. It was an older antique chair, and could have had a hairline fracture in it; but the wood was literally broken in two.

I then had DOS drive us to the hospital just to make sure there was nothing serious with my fall from the night before. I hate going to ER’s as these can take hours to be seen, but fortunately at the noon hour, we were seen right away. We talked to quite a few people first in the triage and registration area, and were assigned an actual ER room shortly thereafter.

To make a long story short, I have a fractured C2 vertebrae, which is basically like a broken neck! OMG!!! Even the ER physician and nurse were surprised when the CT results came back. I had many, many tests done in the ER for both the coughing episode, as well as the fractured spine. I was eventually admitted to a room in the 12th floor PCU unit, which is a special step-down unit from the ICU unit. The one nice thing is it is right before Christmas, so this area as well as the ER itself were fairly quiet.

It’s just after noon on Christmas Eve as I’m writing this, and after staying here the last two nights in the PCU section, I’m waiting to get dispatched later this afternoon. It’s been a really busy day with multiple people coming thru, OT staff, PT staff, Nurses, Doctors, Respiratory therapists, Virginia Prostehics etc. I’ll write more later, but suffice it to say I may be delayed bit as it’s not only Christmas, but also I’m on heavy duty pain killers for the next few days. What a way to start retirement! And oh yea, Merry Christmas Eve!

2 thoughts on “Christmas and post-Retirement Blues in the Hospital.

    1. Steve Uno Post author

      Thanks Dave. I’m definitely slowing down for a couple months, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve been rushing, traveling, working, repeat for so many years I’m taking a recovery break now, and will appreciate travel even more, hopefully in Spring when I’m up for it. Happy New Year to you!

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