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.
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.
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.