… and I’m not even an old Jewish woman!
(My blogpost title is marked as a trademark, as the phrase is now legally linked with Life Alert™, the ad where I stole the phrase.)
(Yeah, yeah, political correctness – watch the original ad!)
One of my jobs is to retrieve the mail. We share one of those communal mailboxes about 100 steps from our front door. (I miss having a house with a mail chute built – in! But I digress.)
So last night I go out to retrieve the mail. Undoubtedly ads, solicitations, bills and perhaps collection notices, all for our enjoyment.
I noticed there was a significant breeze, cool, but not cold.
And no one else was outside to enjoy it.
On my return trip, I did exactly that. I tripped. I suspect ‘Ed Sullivan’ (the really big shoe)* caught on one of those dividers they place in concrete sidewalks.
And down I went, pitching forward, my eyeglasses flying forward.
The ‘good news’ is I reverted to old karate training (from a Bruce Tegner book?) Instead of putting my arms out straight (ensuring a break or sprain), I placed them as if going down in a push-up – to absorb some of the shock. (Having a fused right hip, I am unable to bend all my joints and roll.)
I hit the sidewalk, felt some pain in my palms, and left ribs.
(Ok, so I didn’t do it perfectly. It’s only been 50 years or so.)
I rolled on my left side and began inventory. Hands, wrists, arms, no apparent sprains or breaks. Pain in my ribs, just below my left chest. It hurt a little when I breathe. Palms hurt, but not any abrasions. Glasses unscratched and unbent!
Now for the fun part. For a few years now, getting up off a flat surface has been challenging. To say the least. If I have foot stools, or something low and stable I can pull myself up on, incrementally, I’m golden.
If things are just flat, not so much. (not being able to bend like normal folks, and having less body strength in my arms and left leg)
And, while I did yell aloud upon impact (a kiai?), no one came outside to investigate. It was 1940 hours, and dark.
What to do, what to do?
I considered, for about two seconds, crawling across the sidewalk, to a narrow grassy area to the colored gravel adjacent to the townhouse stucco wall. There, using the wall (I reasoned) I could get a purchase and pull myself up!
Crawling, especially across gravel with sore ribs didn’t have much appeal to me, which is why I only thought about it for a couple seconds.
I know! I’Il call J., my roommate! She had said she was going to join me downstairs shortly.
Of course, sometimes she goes back to her nap, and turns off her phone! (911?)
I called, and she answered. She is recovering from shoulder surgery – there is no way she can pull me up…
I explained to her what had happened, and asked her to bring the aluminum patio chair out to me, that it might work for me to get myself up.
No dice! It was to high for me to get enough leverage. I suggested she knock on neighbor’s doors, until she found some help. Failing that, it was 911 for sure!
I think it was on her third try. Neighbors we didn’t know (and how sad is that?), a nice young man who was active in martial arts and sports medicine (a Twilight Zone moment, to be sure!) came, assessed me before touching me, then lifted me to my feet as if it were no big deal(!) He walked J. and I to our door, not letting go until he was certain I was ambulatory. He asked where all the blood was from – I didn’t know there had been any! He said I should get ‘checked out’ (as if I were in my eighties and broke my hip). I thanked him profusely.
Turns out I led with my chin**. A couple of abrasions that wouldn’t stop bleeding until I shaved off the kung-fu beard! (A disappointment for J.) I may have to grow it back. We’ll see.
And I have had broken ribs a couple of times. These are only bruised. I take pain meds for ongoing conditions, anyway. No biggie. Unless I cough, sneeze, reach for something, bend – you get the idea!
Getting old ain’t for sissies, no siree!
*Ed Sullivan was a variety showman on TV from the late 40’s ’til the early 70’s. He used to say, “We have a really big show – pronouncing it as shoe. Youngsters, ask your parents! I wear a built up shoe on my right leg – hence the clever nickname.
**Faces are VERY vascular (they can bleed a lot).