Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. ~Dalai Lama XIV
Zula Rae Bryan was born in Forest Grove Oregon in 1942. She is a vibrant, active, sharp-as-a-tack, delightful retiree with a full and loving life. Zula has been married since 1984 to Ted Bryan who is eleven years her senior, but just as delightful.
Although she has been retired since 2002, you would never know it. Zula has a go-getter “type A” personality. She and Ted have a shared passion and devotion for The Grange, a fraternal non-partisan organization with 300,000 members, which focuses on building stronger communities through fellowship and service. Zula and Ted were recently the statewide directors of membership for Washington State with 40,000 members.
Mr. and Mrs. Bryan were staying at an established hotel in Kent, Washington, in December 2010 to attend a Grange meeting.
The Bryans were staying in a unit that only was accessible via an outside staircase from the ground level. Guests in upstairs units must use exterior staircases to reach ground level. On that Saturday at approximately 5:00 p.m., Zula left her room and started down the stairway. It had been cold that day but the steps looked merely wet; there was no de-icer present. She was four to five steps from the bottom when her foot slipped on ice, she could not maintain her grip on the handrail and she fell forward landing directly on her face.
Zula made her way to the lobby where other Grange members were gathered; a retired firefighter, a retired nurse and a fire chief called 911 and kept her stable for an ambulance. She was put in full spinal immobilization and taken to Valley Medical Center ER where she remained until about 11:30 PM. Her exam findings included a large right “blowout orbital fracture with fat and inferior rectus muscle herniating into the maxillary sinus and a smaller medial wall fracture.” Moreover, she could not see anything except fuzzy spots out of her right eye.
Zula sustained obvious trauma about the right eye, with a laceration above the eyebrow and eyelid swollen shut. She also sustained facial abrasions and a swollen lip. She complained that she could not see out of the right eye and also complained of neck pain.
In follow up visits, she continued to exhibit central vision loss. An ophthalmologist stated that Zula had “suffered traumatic optic neuropathy with nerve sheath micro-infarctions and she will not likely regain any of the field loss sustained.”
Months after Zula’s fall, she continued to suffer daily facial pain and headaches. Zula has only peripheral vision in her right eye since her surgery. She describes what she sees when she looks straight ahead as smoky crackled glass.
Because of a hotel’s negligence, Zula Bryan has sustained serious and permanent injuries that have rendered her virtually blind in her right eye and caused chronic head and facial pain.