Tell Us: What's Been Traumatic for You?


Tell Us: What's Been Traumatic for You?

lonely-821489_640We think of trauma as something that affects our carees.

I think we experience trauma, too, because of what we see happen to our carees.

After watching my mom fall in December, I couldn't fall asleep for several nights because I could picture the fall and couldn't stop the what-if questions. (What if I didn't watch her leave? What if she had fallen and laid on the sidewalk for hours?)

When I heard a thud and a groan early Thursday morning, I rushed to get to my dad, who I found unresponsive, laying face first against carpeted stairs. He had fallen against something soft but he landed in such a way that I thought he broke his neck. He did regain consciousness before the ambulance arrived but those first few minutes were awful.

I wonder about your traumatic experiences. What have you seen that you can't shake? What did you watch that haunts you?

Tell us about your trauma in our comments section, below.

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Sally, I am so sorry this happened. What an awful moment that will stay with you forever. I hope time has eased your pain.


One day I totally spaced out... I went to grab something quickly while my MIL was on the bedside commode. I got distracted and started doing something else. When I realized I left her alone (maybe 3 minutes later) I found her laying on her back on the floor, she slide off, her head half under the commode, and she was on her back. When we checked her out, seemed no broken bones, but when rolled on her side, she was bleeding profusely. Her oh so fragile skin sheered off her tailbone area leaving a wound the never totally healed. My guilt was worse than the site of the wound. As we knelt on either side of her trying to figure out how to best get her off the floor, she placed her hand on my shoulder, the other hand on her son's shoulder, looked at me and then to him, smiled as if to say, it's all right. (She was in late stages of dementia and hadn't been able to speak in several years.)


I was moving my Mom in bed one night, her butt was hanging off of the end of the bed. I tried to pull her opposite leg toward me to gain leverage, but she moved it the other way. I heard a snap. She let out a shreek! I will never forget that sound. To this day, I am afraid to move her. I knew she had osteoporosis, but I had no idea just that movement would cause a break. Horrifying! I have tons more, but I am not ready to share! LOVE!

Lillie Fuller

My most traumatic memory happened May 5, 2008. My stepdaughters had went to San Francisco that morning so that Annie could have a medical procedure. Two weeks previous she had surgery to remove a tumor off of her vocal chords and the procedure was to inject collagen into her neck to push her vocal chords back together because her voice was affected by the surgery. This procedure took place in the doctor's office, not the hospital. The office was 15 minutes away from UCSF. The doctor doing the procedure injected the collagen into Annie's carotid artery instead of her neck. I was at my ex husband's house waiting for my grandson to get off the bus so I could watch him until his mom got home. The phone rang while I was there and I answered it, something I normally wouldn't do at my ex'es house. He was not there, I was there alone. It was my stepdaughter Shelly, she was screaming, crying telling me that something horrible had happened, she was devastated, she is an RN and she knew what happened. I could hear the siren in the background, the ambulance arriving at the doctor's office to get Annie, I could hear Shelly screaming at the doctor, the EMT's, me, She was beside herself. Unfortunately Annie never regained consciousness and she was taken off life support three days later after all her organ recipients were ready in the hospital to receive her generous donation! It's a day I will never forget. Our lives were forever changed that day!


There's one memory I don't think I will ever get out of my mind. It happened back in April when Michael was hospitalized for a GI bleed. They couldn't get it under control endoscopically and they told me he had lost so much blood that he probably wasn't going to make it, but that they were going to take him to Interventional Radiology and give it one last try. An intern said she would take me down there to see him before he went in. She didn't know how to get to Interventional Radiology the way an \"outsider\" such as myself would, so we went the \"back\" way. It was like a maze and a side of the hospital I had never seen (and which most visitors never do). There was something ominous about taking this route -- it only heightened my recognition that \"This is really happening. This is it.\" I remember the intern kept apologizing for having to take me the \"back\" way. At the time I was puzzled by this, but in retrospect I wonder if she knew that \"going behind the scenes\" was upsetting. I wasn't thinking about it at the time but I guess it really made me realize to what lengths hospitals go to make the patient/visitor experience as comforting and soothing as possible. This was a different world, a no nonsense world of practicality with no softening edges. No vaseline on the camera lens. We got to Interventional Radiology and there was no waiting area. I was literally standing in the room that the IR nurses and doctors use as their \"command center.\" It was so obviously not designed for \"outside\" eyes. They said he was coming and I went out into the hallway. Around the corner came the gurney and there he was: intubated, unconscious, pale as a sheet, and covered in blood. And then he was gone. And I thought \"I just saw him for the last time. At least I got to see him.\"