The Fall

Fall, used as a verb, doesn’t usually have a good connotation.  Take the Fall of the Roman Empire.  Pretty big deal in history.  Maybe if you were a Roman slave you thought that was a pretty good event, but we don’t generally associate the beginning of the Dark Ages with a high point in human history. 

Falling usually brings to mind something like an uncontrolled event.  For the Romans it was a series of events they couldn’t stop.  It’s not like a jump, or a hop.  Those things are deliberate, mostly controlled.  A change in elevation or location.   A fall is a change in location and elevation, but without the control.

I remember moving my foot down, through the air, thinking that I had it lined up with it’s next location.  Thinking I had it made, I let go.  Damn, my foot was out of place and I missed the target.  The next landing point was twelve feet down.  And yes, it was uncontrolled. 

The last thing I saw was my feet, now above my head.  I was falling, headfirst, down toward the ground below.  That was the last thing I saw, but I sure did have a lot of thoughts.  I guess I knew I wasn’t going to die, or the rumor is not true, because my life didn’t flash before my eyes.  I kept thinking, how will I land, what’s going to hit, how much will it hurt?  What will the damage be, and, yes, will I die?  All that in a matter of maybe two seconds.

All my questions were soon answered.  I landed on the back of my shoulder.  As I hit, I told myself, OK, the head will be next, and sure enough, my head thumped into the ground.  I rolled over and was lying on the ground.  Not dead.  A good start.  But man, oh man, did it hurt!  I wasn’t sure what it was, but it HURT.  Didn’t take long to figure out it was my shoulder.  It hurt, I couldn’t breathe.  Couldn’t move.  I hollered for help, knowing no one inside the house could hear.

I must have somehow hit my phone along the way, and I heard it asking me if I wanted something.  It was in my right pocket.  My right arm wouldn’t, and couldn’t move.  My fingers were twitching, but the arm was useless.  I somehow got the phone out of the pocket with my left hand.  It was new and I wasn’t real familiar with its operation.  I kept yelling at it to call for help.  Silence.  Now I knew I was going to die a lonely death lying in my yard.

Finally I got a grip and called the house.  Hello?  Oh, hi, I fell down and I think I broke my shoulder.  WHATTTTT????  Panic.   I had to remain calm.  Get me up.  I can walk.  Let’s go to the emergency room.  It hurts.

Three hours later, after x-rays on head, shoulder, neck and elbow, and cat scans on all of the above, they told me that my scapula was broken.  Not cracked, broken in two.  Quick anatomy lesson – scapula is the shoulder blade.  A big bone that works a lot of body parts.  They told me that it’s the hardest bone in the body to break.  Usually associated with motorcycle crashes.  Never do anything small I say.

They gave me delauded to chill me out a little.  At one point I wanted to pound the ER nurse who kept moving my arm around.  I would never, but I felt like it.  They put on a neck brace and arm sling and let me lay around for a while for the drugs to kick in.  A second dose.  Even the strongest painkillers don’t really kill the pain.  You just don’t care about it as much.

Final tally of the damage?  Broken scapula.  Couple days off from work.  Arm splint six weeks, maybe more.  Seven thousand dollar emergency room bill.  As my daughter would say, life experience.  Not all experiences are good.  This is certainly one I will never forget!

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?


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