Let me say at the outset that there are no bars in my neighborhood. It is strictly residential, with the nearest commercial endeavor about ½ mile away. Plus, I am not a heavy drinker.
Xmas trees, with their glowing lights, displayed at the end of the year, are meant to be symbols of hope. But one was recently a symbol of doom for me when it was carelessly discarded onto a sidewalk near my home.
I’ve walked that sidewalk at least a thousand times and there’s never been a Xmas tree on it, but this time there was, and I, always a fast walker and having been inside all day, was hurrying to get in a brisk jaunt before dark. Not watching the path on this familiar route, my foot caught on one of the branches and I fell. I was able to catch a lot of my weight with my extended arm, but my knee hit the cement with a whack. I lay there for a bit, assessing my injuries. The palm of my hand was scraped and abraded, oozing blood. But my knee didn’t feel right. A car passed by on the street. No head from inside turned to look at me.
I sat up as best I could. My back felt OK. I continued my examination. Ribs and elbows seemed intact. Another car passed, driven by another incurious driver. Then I tried getting up. Uh uh. That wasn’t going to happen. I continued to sit, my legs spraddled out as a third car passed without looking. A young fellow walked down the sidewalk across the street. Didn’t turn his head, didn’t call out, clearly not aware there was anyone in distress in the vicinity.
Two women came into sight on my side of the sidewalk. They stopped, seemed to have some kind of conference, walked closer. “Are you OK?” one of them called out from about 15 feet away. “I’m not sure,” I replied as they came closer. “I fell, and I’m not able to get up.”
“Here, we’ll help you,” the older one said, as each grabbed an arm and hoisted me to my feet. “OK now?”
“Let me see if I can walk, I live right down the block,” I told them.
“We’ll help you.”
“I really think I’m OK,” I protested.
“Well, we’re going to make sure you get home all right,” they
And they did. They walked me to my door. Two women I’d never seen before and likely won’t again, as they’re from out of town and just happened to be in the neighborhood – more on that in a later blog – escorted me all the way.
The knee was quite swollen and beginning to hurt, so I called my neighbor June, a retired nurse to take a look at it. “I think you should have an xray,” she told me. “I’ll drive you to Kaiser.”
The xray revealed a fractured patella and now I’m in a hip-to-ankle brace which I’ll wear for six weeks. Night and day. Almost impossible to sleep in. But enough about that.
How long would I have sat there on that sidewalk, less than a block from my home, if those two out-of-towners hadn’t happened by? Would I have had to call out to get someone’s attention? Would anyone have responded? Are we so insulated from our surroundings that we can fail to see an average size adult woman lying on the sidewalk? Of course no one can answer these questions, but they certainly came to my mind with this experience.