Patient Story: Care When You Need It Most

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Diane Strickland

Diane Strickland tells her story of a trip and fall with humor, but her visit to Alice Peck Day’s Emergency Department could have, in fact, been much more serious.

Strickland, 64, was walking on a dead-end road in White River Junction, Vermont — “where I walk all the time,” she said — when she tripped.

“I tripped on my left foot,” she said. “My right foot was on gravel and my cell phone was in my right hand. As I fell, standing straight up to straight flat on my face, all I could think was, ‘I don’t want to have to deal with Verizon.’”

A man in his yard sees the accident happen. “He’s freaking out. ‘I hope she’s not dead.’ I hear him say,” Strickland said. “I’m still lying flat on my face, and I say, ‘I’m not dead,’ which freaks him out even more.”

When she stands up, blood runs down her face, covering her neck and t-shirt. Strickland realizes she can’t see out of her left eye. The man exclaims, “Oh my god, you lost your eye!”

“Like a black comedy, I get down on the road to see if I could find my eye in case they could reattach it. But once I removed the gravel from my face, my left eye was intact,” Strickland said.

A passing car pulls over — “a blonde angel dressed in white driving a white car,” Strickland said — and tells her to get in. “I don’t want to get in,” she said. “I’m going to ruin your car with all this blood, but she says you don’t have time to wait for an ambulance and she drives me to Alice Peck Day’s Emergency Department.”

At APD, Strickland was treated for a concussion and sprained right wrist. “Everyone was amazed my injuries weren’t worse,” she said.

Justin Harris, nurse manager of APD’s Emergency Department, called Strickland after her visit to make sure she scheduled a visit with her primary care provider.

“I didn’t have a primary care provider, so Justin asked if I would see one at Alice Peck Day. I said, sure, but an appointment will take months,” Strickland said.

A couple days later, APD’s Multi-Specialty Clinic called to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sari Galanes.

“It was truly amazing to get an appointment that quickly,” Strickland said. “Dr. Galanes provided referrals to other specialty care providers I needed. In a way, this fall was a blessing in disguise because I got some good care. Otherwise, I might still be on a waiting list to see a primary care provider or any other medical professional.”

Strickland has since moved to Rutland, Vermont, but isn’t going to change her care providers. “I’m going to drive to APD,” she said. “I want to keep my doctors. They’re wonderful, and so is everyone who helped me at the APD Emergency Department.”