Hope Wood took one misstep as she scaled the staircase of her Luling home, one she hadn’t made in the prior 24 years she’s lived there. The results of doing so were costly.
Last week, Wood fell approximately 15 feet from the top of the staircase to the floor of her home, with nothing to brace her fall. She suffered a fractured vertebrate and shattered her ankle, and with a pair of 10-year-old twin children, the single mother admits it can be overwhelming.
“I don’t know what I’m gonna do,” Wood said.
Long term, her prognosis is good: the injuries should not keep her from walking again. But she will be out of work for the forseeable future. She can bear no weight on her ankle and is expected to be in a back brace for approximately six months, with her progress dictating that ultimate timeframe. She will not be able to walk on her ankle for at least two to three months. That creates a muddy timeline for Wood as to when she would be able to return to work — she is a bartender, and thus must spend most of her time on her feet and busy.
“I’m not sure how long it will be … the uncertainty makes it tougher,” she said. “I’m still in a lot of pain. I’m relieved that I only suffered the injuries that I did. I could have landed on my head and it could be far worse.”
The fall happened late on the night of July 31. She was settling into bed when her son, Callen, called out to her from downstairs — he’d been shocked while trying to plug his phone into his Nintendo Switch. Callen was okay, and after tending to him, Wood went back upstairs to bed.
But the room was dark and her old-style staircase did not have a rail between her and the living room.
“I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve gone up those stairs … I’m 39 now and I’ve lived in this house since I was 15,” she said. “How this even happened is beyond me.”
On the final step before the second floor, she lost her footing and fell to the floor. She tried to brace her fall with her hand, but she took most of the brunt on her lower back and twisted her ankle.
“I don’t know how I didn’t hit my head,” she said.
Her son tried to help her up, while her daughter Cadence called their father, Victor Rodriguez, who is in Afghanistan for contracting work.
Wood tried to push through to get herself to a car to drive to the hospital. That effort quickly proved fruitless, as she realized she couldn’t put any weight on her ankle. Eventually, Wood’s mother, who works at St. Charles Parish Hospital, was called at approximately 3 a.m. to bring Wood in for medical attention.
Before she was discharged and allowed to return home on Saturday, she was advised by doctors to not have surgery on her ankle, as it could result in permanent damage, and to let the bones heal on their own with ample rest. Ditto for her back, though some early concern on her part came after it was found that there was blood leaking into her spinal cord.
“They’ve monitored me over the past several days,” she said. “They said the bleeding was normal and that my back will heal on its own, but I’ll have to wear the brace for awhile. I do feel very protected in it.”
Rodriguez was alarmed when he received the phone call. The two are divorced, but he knew Wood had a tough recovery ahead of her.
“I got the call at 3 a.m., so I was a bit freaked out,” he said. “I spoke to Hope’s best friend and let them know I’d help with whatever she needs.”
He offered to return home, but their children’s godmother and Wood’s best friend told him she’d take care of them while he completed his job and while Wood heals. He committed to helping pay for bills and other expenses, and began a GoFundMe page (https://www.gofundme.com/hope039s-point-of-light) to help raise additional funds to cover her immediate expenses.
That effort has garnered a strong response early, raising $1,800 within the first four days of its posting.
Rodrigue added, “Hope’s a really good person. She’s got many people who care a lot about her, and I’m really happy to (see the response).”