I called Paul in Petersburg tonight. I hadn’t checked in in a couple days.
He said did you hear about my fall? I said you mean the fall in hospital where you broke your fall with your head and needed stitches last week?
No, he said. This one occurred the other night. He keeps a cooler up by the road so the meals on wheels people can put his meal in there and not have to walk down to the house, but as the snow storm was coming, he now thought it best that they walked the meals down to his door (and I’m guessing THEY always thought this was best, but that Paul was making it easier for them by putting a cooler up by the road for them, as this would give him something to do to go get it, too).
So, he uses the lighted handrail that leads from his house up to the road, and built specifically for this purpose, to get the cooler. With his cane in one hand and the cooler dragging in the other, he heads back down his driveway to the house. With his hands full, he can’t hold onto the rail. And then he falls.
It’s about 4 degrees outside. And he’s on his back. He can’t roll over to get up. As he’s telling me this, I lightheartedly tell him this is called being “turtled”, and has happened to me packing a deer out on my back, falling on my back, and having to squirm out of the pack before I can roll over to get up.
He agrees. He was turtled. He said I was there a good long while. I hit the back of my head when I fell. I thought: well, this might be it. It’s 4 degrees out. I can’t get up. I don’t have my first alert button around my neck. Or my phone.
As he starts to shiver, someone calls out “Paul”. It’s his neighbors from up the street. Just stopping by to drop off a Christmas cake to Paul. The husband graduated with one of Paul’s daughters and may have been his student. They find Paul on the ground, call the ambulance, and go inside and grab some blankets off a bed and put them around Paul til the ambulance arrives.
The head of the fire department is also one of Paul’s former students. The EMT’s put Paul on a stretcher. I thought they were just going to take me into the house, he said. But no. Off to the hospital.
They checked Paul out and he was all okay, but they wanted to keep him overnight for observation. Paul said well, it was warm, and dinner was good. And their TV’s are nice and easy to use (unlike the streaming service he got involuntarily switched to at home and which drives him nuts). And the breakfast was so good in the morning. This ain’t so bad!
He said this is sort of how things go when your 90. I have to depend on others, but they don’t seem to mind. And I’m guessing they don’t. Paul said he’s not big on religion, but feels like he was definitely visited by two angels who found him on this cold winter night and saved him.