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Full Circle: After the Fall
I really messed up this time.
By Maury Z. Levy

And then the brown-haired woman with the big blue eyes, the woman sitting next to my gurney, yelled to the chunky guy behind the wheel.

“Bobby, put the flashers on, crank the siren, his blood pressure is down to 60 over 40.”

And Bobby put the flashers on and stepped on the gas. I went flying on the agurney and hit the left rail and then the right rail, and then swerved around other cars and drove into lanes that didn’t exist and shoulders that weren’t so wide until we got to the sign that said “Virtua Marlton.” They pulled me out of the ambulance and ran me into the ER. And then there was a lot of yelling.

“We have an adult male whose pressure is down to 60 over 40. He had a bad fall. We think he’s in shock.”

The day had started 12 hours earlier.

“Don’t forget to put up the Happy Birthday sign,” my wife said. It was Marissa’s and Zoe’s birthday, and we were celebrating them together. So, I went into the garage to get the blue tape. My head was down when I missed that step I had gone up or down a thousand times before. My foot hit the front of it, but not the back, and my body catapulted backwards and slammed into the wall. It was the hardest thud I’d ever heard. I just knew this wasn’t going to end well.

My wife came running up from the basement and found me in a lump on the floor, twisted like a broken pretzel. She helped me get up and got me to the bedroom, where the pain in my back, which had been fierce, got even worse. I tried icing it. No help.

“We really should go to urgent care,” she said.

At first, I fought her on it, but then the pain was so bad, there just wasn’t a choice. I groaned all the way there. I barely made it to the front desk. The woman hardly looked up.

“What’s the problem?” she said.

“I had a bad fall. I think I broke a rib.”

“We don’t do ribs,” she said. “We only do spines and backs.”

I gave her my patented stare of death.

“It’s in my back,” I said.

“OK, then. You can sit in a wheelchair. Someone will come to get you.”

The someone wheeled me to the X-ray room, and then to the exam room. A young doctor came in, shook my hand and looked at my X-ray.

“Here’s your problem,” he said, pointing with a pencil. “You broke three ribs. Take it easy, don’t do anything strenuous and they should heal in six to eight weeks.”

“You can use pain patches and take some Tylenol. Don’t take anything stronger, it’ll retard the healing.”

So, we stopped at CVS and then we came home. I got in bed and watched the game. “Time to go to sleep,” my wife said. I don’t remember that. She started calling my name. I don’t remember that. She said my eyes were big and glassy and I looked like I was going to black out. She called for an ambulance.

I remember somebody saying, “Sir, can you hear me?” I was told later there were two EMTs and two cops in the room. I never saw the cops. Everything looked blurred and in slow motion. It was midnight.

At the hospital, they took a lot of blood, gave me an EKG and hung an IV because they thought I was dehydrated. After three hours of tests, my pressure inched up to near normal. They told me the force of the fall had put my body in shock. And they sent me home.

I am writing this column by hand because I still can’t sit upright at my desk. Six to eight weeks, they said. Six to eight weeks.

I have gained wisdom in this experience, wisdom I now pass on to you. Don’t get old. Don’t ever get old.

July 2019
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