SAN ANTONIO -- A veteran suddenly passed away nearly 72 hours after he slipped and fell outside.
On Saturday afternoon, Patsy Turner said that her husband, Don, was taking out the trash when he slipped and landed face down on the pavement. Patsy said that he said he was bruised but otherwise said he felt fine. Later that evening, Turner said that he had trouble sleeping.
The following day, Patsy got Don to go to urgent care, where a doctor took an X-ray. They said that all he had was bruised ribs, but Patsy said that Don kept complaining of pain.
"He just couldn't get comfortable. He kept saying, ‘I'm okay, I'm okay,’ but holding onto my hands really, really tight telling me how much he loved me," she said.
Don fell asleep that evening but Turner later found out that he fell into a coma.
"I called EMS. They ripped the sheets off the bed, put him on the gurney, and out the door they went, so fast I couldn't go with them," she recalled.
Patsy said that what they thought was a minor fall turned out to be far more serious. A doctor at the hospital that examined Don said that he had a 10 percent chance of living.
"They told me that he had sepsis. That he had, like, an air pocket in [his abdomen] that was kind of dead and a tear inside that had caused his intestines to rupture when he hit the ground," she described.
Turner was told that the X-ray that was performed on him wouldn't have detected the rupture. Among older people, falls are the leading cause of injury and death according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"I would be an advocate. If something doesn't feel right, look right, say, ‘Hey, I want you do to whatever it takes. Something isn't right," she said.
Patsy said that the loss of Don is devastating. It's a pain she didn't want to have to endure again. Don is now her third husband to die.
"He said, ‘You've been through so much loss, so much pain, and I never want to see you go through that again.’ I said, ‘Honey, don't ever leave me, please don't ever leave me.’ But of course, it was out of his hands," she said. "It's just an all-encompassing pain. It’s just a horrific hurt that I can't even put words to it. Here I am again going through this loss."
Patsy said that Don proposed to her at their apartment and they got married at a small chapel in San Antonio in 2013. Patsy’s son told KENS 5 that Don brought part of their family back together again. She said that he loved her whole family.
"He was a big giver. Everybody adored him," Patsy said.
She said that they had plans to buy their retirement home in Poteet and were set to close on the deal on March 1. But now, with his death, she won’t be able to afford the home. She’s not even sure if she’ll be able to afford her rent at her current apartment.
Don was a corpsman in the Navy and will have a funeral with full honors on Monday. Prior to his funeral, a viewing will be held at Funeral Caring USA from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Patsy’s son has set up a GoFundMe page to help with expenses.