Movin' On with Nelda: Kerplunk — I’ve fallen — now what?


A couple weeks ago I was being pretty silly when I thought I could step up on a chair and hang miniature LED lights in my front window. It’s true when you fall, time changes and the world goes into slo-mo. I saw my living room passing before me including my cocker spaniels, previously read newspapers, and the wooden chair I was using as a step ladder. Finally, my bum, to borrow an English term, hit the antiqued wooden floor and that shape-shifting chair toppled right after me.

Kerplunk!

By now, I was crying because “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” I’m thinking, this is real. I never ever thought this would happen to me. Tried as I might, I couldn’t tolerate all fours, or reach for help from a friend with me. She was not strong enough to help me up. We held the emergency button but couldn’t decide whether to punch the button. I couldn’t imagine the fire department or the police department trying to get me up. There was no room for a crane, after all. Still I tried to solve my problem.

My easy chair spoke to me and said “Come here, come here.” So I slowly inched my way like a giant Apple tech worm to the chair. I somehow managed to pull myself up and sighed for relief when I could hold my cell again.

We did not call for emergency help and I was able to breathe on my own. My friend was happy she didn’t have to get a wrench installed.

So days went by and I did make a check-in call and ask for a new device since the clip was broken. So the operator promised that a new one would be delivered shortly and it would be ready to go. I said, “Thank you.” That was that.

My son called me about 8 p.m. the next night and was a little concerned when he said an emergency call center had just called. He said they were saying, “Your mother is at an airport somewhere and has fallen and can’t get up.” 

Of course I laughed at first. I couldn’t understand because I was at home, safe, and of sound  mind. I said it must be a prank. My son said he let the operator know that I was safe and not at any airport anywhere.

I asked myself if I should call the emergency center and decided I didn’t need to because it was all arranged for a new device to arrive soon and my son had communicated that his mom was safe.

About 2 a.m., my dogs woke me up with a lot of barking. I listened and heard pounding on the front door. When I opened, I was greeted by a flashlight held by a Monte Vista Police officer and his partner. 

I heard, “Are you ok? We got a call that you had fallen and needed help.”

“No, I don’t need help; I’m fine.”

The first responder asked again, “Are you sure, you’re ok?” 

They left with the parting, “Sorry to wake you.”

But actually I was pretty glad they responded but upset that they were called at all because I did not need help at that time. Still, I am so grateful for their prompt response.

The next morning when my friend arrived, I called the emergency call center to see just what the deal was and where the heck my new device was.

The operator insisted she had called me several times and talked to me and when I didn’t answer she dispatched help. I insisted right back that she hadn’t talked to me at all and that my device was right where I put it last. Still she insisted and looked back at the call log and learned that actually she had talked to the new device in a box at a midwest airport, falling here and there, loaded and unloaded from an airplane. 

--Nelda Curtiss is a retired college professor who enjoys writing and fine arts. Contact her at [email protected]

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