Monday, February 17, 2014
The Night the Old Lady Fell
OK so maybe old lady is not exactly accurate, but fall I did.
For those of you who have read Thurber, you might be familiar with his story, The Night the Bed Fell. It is my favorite short story and the one that made me fall in love with Thurber's wry humor. My story goes something like this.
I had been having a rough few weeks. An abscessed tooth and following extraction, far too much snow on the driveway and everywhere for that matter. Then on garbage day I safely made it up the icy hill with the small dumpster, got my mail from the box, dashing to avoid cars on the busy road and made my way back down to the house. I was on the flat surface of the drive, not the hill, when I turned and lost my footing. One little pop later and my ankle was broken.
I crawled to the house and in short time was whisked away to the hospital by the local ambulance, where I spent the most part of the day getting tests for my hypertension. Of course my BP was high, I just broke my ankle!
But this isn't the night I fell. That came a few days later.
Doctor visits finished for a few days, work almost caught up (from my sewing business), the annoying grandson had left for home and replaced with the slightly less annoying one, I was ready for a quiet night. My foot started to swell a bit, so I called the on call nurse and they said it should be OK. Everything is good, I just need some rest. I take a pain pill and curl up in bed.
At a little past 1 am, I wake up shivering with a bladder about to burst. I hate walking on the crutches at night or early morning, I'm very shaky. But I got up and made it toward the bathroom, very slowly and carefully. It's ridiculously cold, I think to myself. I wonder if the grandson turned the heat down. I checked and it's set at 70. "Doesn't feel like 70" I moved on the the bathroom, and afterwards, head back to the living room, where my grandson is sleeping on an air mattress on the floor.
I was still on my crutches and saw that the boy was awake, so I started to talk to him about how cold it was and I started to turn toward the thermostat to see what the temperature was and I lost my balance. Crutches flying one way and the old lady flying another. I crashed down onto the TV table and hit my back so hard that I was writhing on the floor in pain. Not knowing if I broke more bones or not, I stayed there until the pain subsided a bit.
Then I saw that my stained glass lamp had tumbled to the floor and the lamp base and bulb were in pieces. I was in pain, but the lamp was more important. I had my grandson take it and put the shade in a safe place. And he put the base in the kitchen. Then as I got up, I noticed that I broke 2 legs of the coffee table.
Just to put perspective on how cold it was. It was only just under 50 in the house, not freezing, "yet". But it was about -5 outside at that time, so a working furnace was definitely in order for comfort.
Pain finally subsided a bit and it appeared that I had no more broken bones. So I got up and lit some candles and turned on the electric stove. At least a little heat. Still on crutches, but sore.
The grandson starts pacing and complaining that we're going to die. The CFL light bulb from the lamp broke. I told him not to worry, but that didn't help. I told him to put the lamp, with the broken bulb outside and he tossed it in the snow. I may not find it again until spring.
I headed to the bedroom to lie in the bed and try to get a furnace repair person, but the grandson was still panicking about the light bulb, so I told him to look online. He said everyone has to leave the room and we have to air it out for five to ten minutes. I assure him it was OK, but he opened the door to the -5 weather, with no furnace to reheat the air, and aired out the house. You're also supposed to shut off the furnace, but in our case it wasn't a problem. Then to reassure him more I called poison control. After that, he almost believed me.
I didn't really realize how late it had gotten with all the excitement. It was also getting colder, so I began to call all the furnace companies with 24 hour emergency. Yeah Sure! Looks great in paper, but try to actually get someone in the house. After several calls and messages left for morning calls, and a text message to my landlord, I blew out the candles, and turned off the oven. I didn't need fires on top of everything else.
We slept for a few hours, then I woke up freezing and that just made my bladder uncomfortable. My grandson will NEVER let me use the crutches to go to the bathroom at night or early morning again (actually, it was the second time I fell, loosing balance) so we set up a series of rolling chairs on a path to the bathroom. Darn bumpy thresholds, that you can't roll over.
I stayed up and called to cancel my doctor's appointment, called my cousin to cancel the ride, talk to my landlord who made a furnace repair appointment AND cleaned the drive And brought me a space heater. She's great. And I watched the sun rise with a promise of warmth to come and only 11 more days of Mercury retrograde. My back hurts more than my broken ankle does. Is that good or bad?