Sal down!

Sal went up the ladder.  Fell.  Landed backwards onto a big tree trunk.  Hit hard.  It was only four feet but four feet can generate big forces and they did.  Whomp!  Smacked Sal upside the back and shoulder blade.  She was hit as if by a linebacker.  And then she just lay there.

I hate it when that happens.

I bent down to offer sympathy and a hand up but was greeted by someone severely shaken, eyes glazed and her breathing was irregular.  I was getting concerned.  Sal ALWAYS bounces right back up.  “Hmmmmm….do I attempt mouth-to-mouth?  Maybe do chest compressions?  Or maybe a simple, fast, hard slap to the face to get her back in the game’? 

And then her eyes rolled back in her head and she stopped breathing.

And here I was without back-up. What about dinner?

Actually, (to be serious for a minute – but only a minute) I was frozen.  Totally.  I couldn’t react.  I was stunned, shocked and immobilized.  I just stood there watching her turn pale and slump awkwardly (Sal is never pale.  Her cheeks are always like Rudolph’s nose, or brake lights or Christmas decorations).  It was a terror filled two or three seconds.  I said, “Sal?  Sal?  You okay?  Talk to me.”

She had fainted.  But by calling her name, she said that she ‘kinda moved toward the sound’ instead of continuing the downward spiral of the faint.  She came around.

She started breathing and so did my heart resume beating.  It was a good moment.

The impact had been hard and she had taken it all on the shoulder blade.  So, Sal was NOT bouncing back anytime soon.  In fact, getting her up only served to convince us both that we had better get her back down before she passed out again.  So, she sat for awhile and then lay down for a longer while.  All in all, Sal was down for over an hour.

That’s like Superman being down for an hour.  Tinkerbell being knocked out.  The Titanic sinking.  Those are all reality-altering and so was this.  It was weird.  There is the well-known dynamic of of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object but Sal is both of those.  This had been a black-hole event.  A singularity.

Of course, I was a great nurse and loving companion and even poured my own wine at the end of the day.  “Sal, why not take it easy tonight and just make us a simple meal.  I’m okay with that.”

Okay…..calm down…I was just kidding.  I made the dinner.  Hot water bottles.  Tylenol.  Lots of attention.  She’s coming back.  The truly weird thing is that, in fifty years I have only known Sal to have been ‘downed’ once or twice.  She is the proverbial Iron Woman.  I am NOT her match.  I am fairly resilient.  I heal well.  Plenty of practice.  I have broken many, many more times than Sal ever has.  But, even when fully intact, I am not her equal in energy output.  She makes the Energizer bunny look like the Energizer sloth.  And the E-sloth makes me look like a dead battery.

But this was different.  It was awful.  Scary.  Moving in a grief kind of way.  I had been brought to a frozen, weak-kneed place in a second.  And it lasted a smidge longer.  Sal was impact-shocked and I was somewhat traumatized seeing her like that.

To her credit, she has seen me hurt many more times and just ‘got on with it’.  No trauma.  No shock.  Just ‘does the right thing’.  I stood there like a doofus quietly thanking God that I had not attempted a chest compression or the slap.




19 thoughts on “Sal down!

  1. Holy cow! We have had more than enough people airlifted off of here after ladder accidents. They are more dangerous than chain saws! Sorry to hear about this one. Take care of yourselves. you have a lot more work to get done!


  2. How frightening. I’m not sure whether you are a huggy man, Dave, but I’m sending you a virtual hug anyway because you’ve had a bad shock and you need one. And a virtual cup of tea for Sally. I hope she is on the mend now. Regards. Tracy.

    PS. I know what it is like. My husband fainted on the toilet when he had a bad flu once. How to get the door open .. Ambulance called. Mouth to mouth. I’m sure my morning breath started his heart again. Really awful. My complete uselessness was really brought home to me that day.


    • Yep. Felt like a doofus. It was only until she came back to life but it was a moment in stark, dark, empty terror. I am not so sure the Surgeon General could have or would have reacted differently but I really never want to feel that emptiness again.
      Hugs back at ya.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Scary shit …especially when you’re a long wait and a long chopper ride to Emergency Room in a bind.
    How does EM work in OTG?
    Do you have a radio frequency or you just call 911?
    How in the hell do they find you?
    You dont have an address!
    Can a helicopter land anywhere near your place?
    Hats off to Sal for “sticking it out” and you for not totally freaking out.
    You may have to work on the “empathy” for the wife’s benefit and your next glass of wine
    Just dont complain if her laundry scrubbing, wood splitting and window washing isnt up to par for a few more weeks……


  4. No….911 isn’t an option. Coast guard, maybe, but that has to be life threatening. Most issues are dealt with at home. We deal with things that, in the city, would have ended up in the Emergency ward. Here, we deal with anything that CAN get better. If it looks bad enough to possibly get worse, we might go in. Most wouldn’t.
    I wouldn’t. I hate the stupid process. I hate the wasted time. I stay home, lick my wounds and let myself heal. Sal is inclined the same way. Of course, as we get older, we are more vulnerable and heal slower. Gotta factor that in.


  5. That is very challenging! Please get well soon Sally. Sorry you both had to deal with this momentous accident. Some physiotherapy might be needed. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.


  6. Tell Sal I’m sending her good healing wishes. Sounds like it will be quite some time for all to heal. I know it was bad because you resorted to a lot of humour in telling the story. You take care as well so you can be the strong one for Sal. At least in our case we can use 911. After a health emergency several years ago we all got an address that can be recognized by emergency services. Now getting someone up the lake in a timely manner is another thing. If possible, it would be best to get ourselves out and meet an ambulance at the marina dock half an hour away. – Margy


  7. I’m within shooting distance and even had a conversation with David to borrow something and didn’t know anything about this until now. They are both tough….. although neither of them like to let on. Ladders are the straw for most seniors but we all think we can do what we did when we were 30. And will probably continue to do so until we can’t make it onto the first rung. David keep taking care of that girl so she can take care of you.


  8. OMG! It takes an incident like that to make you realize how vulnerable you are as you age. I myself have taken to holding the handrail as I use the stairs; and wait, if possible, for someone else to use the ladder (besides, I’m not comfortable with heights), or at least to hold it.
    And yes, it does help to have a resident ‘mouth to mouther’. My Sal and I live on separate farms so it’s critical to time our emergencies/disasters for when we’re both at the same location.
    Be well!


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