A Trip to the Mall Gone South

We’d gone to Barnes and Noble at the local mall, had a chocolate milkshake at the food court, and were leaving that mecca of fine dining when, Boom, my husband took a tumble. He went down. Hard. I was a half step away, but couldn’t reach him in time. What happened? Dehydration? Stubbing a sneaker on a tile floor? Dizzy spell? Blood pressure? He fell on his right side and rolled onto his back, but didn’t hit his head. His cane fell by his side. His name is Tony.


Ah, a chocolate milkshake and a book!

Ah, a chocolate milkshake and a book!


In a nano-second people were there. As I knelt beside him, I became aware of other activity. A man held my husband’s head gently in his hands, placed a rolled up jacket under it, and continued to keep his head and neck stable. Another man knelt on the other side of Tony and comforted him, asking him where he hurt. A woman grabbed her cell phone and called 911. A mall security guard gathered my purse from where I had dropped it. Others stood nearby, but did not press. These four people stayed with us until the paramedics arrived.

The medics came in record time. One assessed, another asked my husband questions, asked where he hurt, and talked with him. Tony answered and also managed to find his sense of humor. At least that was in tact. His right shoulder and arm, not so much. With gentle skill, the paramedics placed him on the gurney. I grabbed my car keys, prepared to follow. The medic told me it would be best and safest for me to just drive to emergency and report to the entry desk. After Tony was assigned a bed, I’d be taken to him. Made sense. Done.


An unplanned destination

An unplanned destination


With my husband on his way to Eisenhower Emergency, I had a chance to quickly thank each of these people. I wish I’d taken their pictures to share with him and you. Just ordinary people going about their business, seeing someone in need.

At Emergency, Tony’s vital signs were monitored. Heart, respiration, temperature, pulse. X-rays were taken of his right shoulder and arm. Tests done. He liked his nurse who knew just how to joke and talk to him. We spent a lengthy afternoon in the meat locker temperatures. We got hungry. They brought us warmed blankets, apple juice, and graham crackers.

The doctor arrived with the good news. Nothing broken. Anywhere. However, Tony did have a mightily swollen shoulder, arm, and elbow. Prescription? Ice, painkillers, rest, and follow-up with our own doctor. (BP medicine has since been prescribed.) We felt very thankful.

Something else I want to share. I was never more proud of my community, especially during this time of political rancor and name calling. I was never more proud of our diversity. The people who helped us? They were Middle Eastern, Jewish, Hispanic, and Caucasian. How so? We all carry clues. Manner of dress, jewelry, name tag, accent. It’s who we are. The big idea? It didn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. I mention their diversity only to make a point – we’re all a community, inclusive, people helping people, people interacting and caring.

And Tony is doing fine.


Art by Nate Williams

Art by Nate Williams

About cmwriter

I'm a writer ... of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I blog about writing, short stories, poetry, books, plays, and thoughts on life. Love reading and travel and being with friends!
This entry was posted in Inspiration, memoir, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to A Trip to the Mall Gone South

  1. Dear Carol.

    I’m so glad Tony wasn’t badly injured. Bob recently experienced a fall with only minor injuries, so I know exactly what it was like for both of you. In particular I treasure the way you chose to bring to our attention that people, no matter race, color, creed, are decent and caring of other fellow humans. I wish more people in this country understood that we more together than separated by politics and rhetoric. Thank you using a scary situation for you and Tony and turning it into a story of the generosity of strangers.

    • cmwriter says:

      Thank you, Dolores. I became more aware of what we had experienced, both Tony’s trauma and the people who helped us, as I reflected on the situation on my drive to Eisenhower Emergency. I realized how lucky we were and how special the interaction that had taken place had been. Like you, I find the political/world situation most unpleasant and that brief interaction was like a breath of fresh air. Reaffirming. Glad you stopped by.

    • Carol…(N uncle T)….I have fallen myself in the past year right here at home on our my own carpet…..and where we live here, next door to the Welk Resort. the Cal if Dept of Fire, come to our home and do a “lift assist” when we are flat on our back on the floor….they ask a lot of questions, and then ask if I’m ready to stand up….when I give my approval,,we all count to “3” and I’m up in less than a few seconds ! They are so nice and willing to help ! I’m sorry to hear of the fall, but sooo glad people were there to help; and happy to know my handsome uncle Tony is doing well! I’m 10 years younger than he is,so I’m catching up to his birthday nubmer!! LOL… Yes, the political arena is most unplesant..I never remember it being this rude ! Thanks or putting this message this message AND nice photo of him….Blessings to both of you!

      • cmwriter says:

        Thank you, Fran. Tony seems to have his sea legs back and uses a cane and/or a walker depending on the circumstance. Be careful around your home! Falls can happen in a nanosecond. Glad you stopped by.

  2. Gitta says:

    Toni was very lucky to come out so well in this hard fall.
    I took a bad fall last December and broke my pelvic bone. Extremely painful but I healed thanks to painkillers and REST. I’m fine now. Much love Gitta

  3. SusanB says:

    Poor Tony and Carol. Frightening. It’s the insides of people, their hearts that count. Thanks for reminding us. Good luck mending Tony. And take your time when going from sitting or lying to standing.

    • cmwriter says:

      Hi Susan – Thank you for the good wishes and for the good advice of your last sentence. Yes, it was nice “to feel” people’s hearts around us. Hope all is well with you!

  4. pamgolden says:

    Hi Carol, How absolutely wonderful for you to write about the community of help – it moved my heart. Makes me proud too. We are so, so, so happy that Tony didn’t break anything and is on the mend. Our love and good wishes go out to you and Tony. Love, Pam and John

    • cmwriter says:

      Thank you, Pam. It’s one of those things that can happen in a split second. Thank you for the good wishes. He seems to have his sea legs back, but a slower moving version. Love.

  5. Mary Ann Miller says:

    Carol, very sorry to hear of Tony’s fall. An event like that is frightening and the story brought tears to my eyes! I think of Tony and his candy making days pop into my mind. I will always remember the samples he sent home with me. 😊 I loved your comments about our community; we live in a good place! Stay well, Mary Ann

    • cmwriter says:

      Thank you, Mary Ann. He’s doing well. Frightening, yes, but he received good care. And happy to know you have fond memories of Tony and his chocolates, which he loved making. Our community is pretty amazing!

  6. Paula says:

    My husband was a huge fall risk for the last 5 or so years of his life, so I can relate to every aspect of your story. I’m so glad that the outcome was something better than you were probably expecting and that so many wonderful people came to your aid.

    • cmwriter says:

      Thank you, Paula. Yes, we were fortunate Tony’s injuries were not worse. It was amazing how rapidly people were there to help. I imagine in your experience you developed a sixth sense and a routine and a process to keep your husband safe. My sixth sense is becoming more finely tuned. I appreciate your thoughts and am glad you stopped by.

  7. I honestly believe there are lots more good people than bad and I’m glad they were there for you 😊

  8. Very relieved to hear your husband is fine!!☺ Lots of love and hugs!☺

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