Posted for RDP #70: CONTACT.
About a month ago, I made direct contact with the pavement of a sidewalk about a mile from home. The pictures that were taken of me are gruesome and so I am posting another photo of pavement, with a wee caterpillar crossing it, taken just a few days ago!
Anyway, here’s what happened: My husband plays golf on Mondays, and I was proud of myself for getting up and dressed and out of the house by 10:00 am for a walk! I wanted to get to my Fitbit step goal and was very motivated. It was a beautiful early July morning, still not too hot to take a long walk.
About half an hour into the walk, I was on a street about a mile from home. It wasn’t my usual route, but I wanted to go to someplace different, perhaps find different flowers to photograph. I didn’t stop to take pictures of anything, though, and was not paying particular attention to where I was walking. Suddenly, I realized I had tripped on the sidewalk where one of the blocks was raised a little due possibly to tree roots underneath. Usually, I can regain my balance before making contact with the hard ground but this time I didn’t. I fell flat on my face and felt my right knee take the brunt of the fall.
Photos of a couple of Des Plaines sidewalks:
I said the s-word to myself, wondering how on earth was I going to get home, over a mile away? My knee was scraped and bleeding and I had a bump already rising on my forehead. I felt certain I had broken my nose and my glasses had gotten scratched and all bent out of shape. But then I was vaguely aware of two men who were asking me if I was all right.
“No, not really,” I said as they helped me up, each lifting me up under my arms. Why lie?
One of the men was driving a truck, and he had apparently arrived just then to take the other man to a work site. The second man had gone out into the street toward the truck when they heard and saw me fall.
They asked me if I wanted to go to the ER. “No,” I managed to say through a paper towel one of the men had given me and that I was pressing to my scraped nose. “I just want to go home.” I had my cellphone with me and certainly would have called my husband while lying on the ground but he usually doesn’t keep his phone on when he’s on the golf course.
So the second man helped me to his car, which was parked next to the curb. I limped over and very gingerly pulled my right leg into the car without bending my knee. It hurt to bend it. I was not even aware at the time that I had also sprained my ankle!
When I tell this story, people ask me if I wasn’t worried about getting into a strange man’s car. I never even thought about it. These were both middle aged men, very friendly, and we live in Des Plaines, Illinois! Bad things like what could happen never happen in Des Plaines! (Although I’m sure they do, sometimes. It’s just that most people feel safe in this friendly community.)
I directed the man as best as I could toward my house, still holding the paper towel over my nose and at the same time looking through one lens of my glasses which I held in my other hand.
It wasn’t until we arrived in front of my house that I realized that the man in the truck had followed behind us. They both saw that there are several steps up to my front porch so they once again supported me, one on each side, and I hopped to the stairway and up it on my one good leg. The man with the truck advised me to have that bump looked at, because I could have a concussion.
“If you start feeling dizzy or disoriented, that’s an early warning sign of a concussion.”
I thanked the men and made sure I had my hat (which had mostly fallen off, but was still clinging to the hairband of my ponytail) and my water bottle – still over my shoulder, and my phone and keys. They waited until they were sure I was in the house before they left.
I limped over to the recline and practically fell into it, lifting the lever to bring up the piece in front. Who could I call? My sister – no, I think she plays bridge on Mondays; one of my two friends named Marcia? Good idea – I called one, no answer; I called the other one, who did answer, but she was sick. She was very sympathetic and told me to call her back if I needed help and she’d get her daughter to come over after work.
I suddenly thought of my son! He doesn’t have a fixed work schedule and it was past 11 am so there was a good chance he’d be up by now. To my surprise, he answered!
He immediately freaked out when he heard my muffled voice (I still had the paper towel over my nose) say that I was badly hurt and needed his help. So then I had to calm him down, and ask him to come over right away.
He did. He got me wet washcloths and put large bandages on my knee and a small band-aid over the bridge of my nose. He got me frozen vegetables from the freezer to ice my knee, with a dish towel wrapped around the package. He even went to the eye doctor to have my glasses fixed! He stayed until the other Marcia came over. I then found out he’d missed a doctor’s appointment because of me!
Anyway, my husband came home eventually, took me to the ER, where they (five hours later) took X-rays of my knee and femur and a CAT scan of my head. No broken bones, thank God! I returned home with a splint for my left wrist (which hurt because I’d used it to try to break the fall) and a cane, which I used for the next couple of weeks.
Below I am posting a photo of what my knee looks like now, a month later – I went to an orthopedic doctor who diagnosed a hematoma and a sprained ankle, the best possible outcome! He told me it could take up to six months to heal completely! But fortunately, I can now walk normally and have resumed my walking exercise….….but now I walk “mindfully” because I’m still afraid of falling again, and have taken to walking on a solid, continuous bike/walking path instead of neighborhood sidewalks!