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.