To hear Mark tell the story, he had a good relationship with ladders and trees for about fifty years of his life. That is a good thing for a landscaper to say. After all, sometimes his work included maintaining lawns and sprinkler systems. At other times, he would plant and tend bushes, flowers and trees. Small trees become larger trees and require regular pruning.
Mark's good relationship with trees and ladders changed on Wednesday, July 1st. He was working in a Boulder neighborhood near Foothills highway and 36 with one of his crew and put a ladder up against a small limb on a tree. The limb held as he ascended the ladder. Even as he was cutting branches things were fine. But as he reached for a branch he had trimmed, the weight shift caused the limb to crack, the ladder torqued and Mark fell to the ground. He instructed his crew member to finish the job which at that point was mostly cleanup. His crew member repositioned the ladder, took care of the tree, helped Mark into a nearby metal chair, loaded debris onto the truck, and then helped Mark into the driver's side of the truck. He then got into his own car and followed Mark to the dump. Yes, Mark drove with his good right leg and right arm! At the dump, the crew member unloaded Mark's truck and then followed Mark to his home in north Boulder. There, three other members of Mark's crew arrived and helped Mark into his house and into bed. Howard fixed him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and brought him ice packs. His son came by and helped him to the bathroom and got him into bed for the night. It was an 'Old Man and the Sea' kind of day.
After a very long night, morning broke. Several of Mark's guys came by and helped him to the bathroom where he almost fell from the pain. Mark finally accepted the obvious that he needed to go to the hospital. (I know, I know. You are shaking your collective heads and muttering the word 'guys' under your collective breaths.) The EMT's came and took Mark to Good Samaritan hospital in Lafayette. There, Mark was diagnosed with a fractured left pelvis and broken left arm. He was kept at Good Samaritan for 6 days awaiting results of a covid-19 test (negative) before being moved to Spalding Rehab in Denver. At Spalding, he has been getting 2 hours of PT/OT in the morning and 2 hours of PT/OT in the afternoon 6 days a week. He has Sundays off. He needs to be no weight-bearing on the left leg for another 3 months so he is learning to hop on his right leg with the help of a modified walker. He is learning to step up onto a curb from a walker. He is learning to take showers by sitting on a bathtub chair. He is learning to use the bathroom on his own. He is loaded up on extra strength tylenol, drugs for nerve pain, anti-coagulants, muscle relaxants, other serious painkillers in the oxy family and, of course, arnica.
As many know, Mark has been primary caregiver to his nephew Howard. During this period, Howard has been staying with his friend Noah, and Noah's family. This has been a very good thing.
Mark may be cleared to go home on July 24th. Before he leaves Spalding, Mark would welcome visitors (especially those bringing him real food!) in the late afternoons and evenings. Visiting hours are from 8am to 8pm but he is typically scheduled until 3pm so visits should be after that time. Spalding is located at 1719 19th Avenue (Presbyterian/St Luke's) in Denver's north Capitol Hill neighborhood. Mark is in room 6218 which is in building B. You may call him at 720-754-6518. If you are bringing real food please let him know ahead of time so that he may cancel dinner from the hospital kitchen.
Debbie is working to get a ramp installed to Mark's front door, to acquire a hospital bed and wheelchair, to identify a contractor who can install grab bars in the house, and to identify and acquire other, assorted ADA accessories that will be needed. Mark will need daily help in his home from a caregiver. Ongoing PT/OT appointments will happen at the house, In addition to a caregiver, Mark will need help with food, shopping, transportation to appointments, and just plain old company. Some of these needs can be provided by his network of family and friends.
Like so many people in this time, Mark's life may change in important ways, This rehab period allows him the opportunity for reflection, inner work, and maybe some time for counseling on his relationship with ladders and trees. (He insists that they have not broken up but are merely taking a little time and a little space. Hmmm!) This Caring Bridge site has been set up to update his network of friends on his progress and to coordinate volunteers who wish to help him by pairing their availability with his needs. All are welcome!