What we notice and what we don't notice....
Notice the broken and crooked sidewalk in this photo? I didn't.
A couple of weeks ago I headed out for a walk after lunch and when I got to this corner, I was looking down 8th Street, deciding whether to head that way or back through campus. I wasn't looking at my feet. I caught my foot on the raised edge and I went down. I hardly had time to realize that this wasn't going to be just an awkward stumble before I fell flat on my face, hitting my chin hard.
I sat up, taking stock. A car passing on College stopped and the driver jumped out, asking if I was okay or if he should take me to the emergency room. I was feeling shaken, but only had a small scrape on my left palm, a sore knee, and a sore chin. The emergency room seemed like way more than I needed, at least until the driver pointed out that I'd cut my chin and might need stitches. It wasn't bleeding badly though, so I suggested my doctor's office. He asked who that was, exclaimed, "He's my doctor too!" when I told him, and proceeded to phone there to see if the doctor could see me.
Meanwhile a friend from church came biking past on her way back to work on campus. She immediately stopped and knelt beside me to see how I was. Another friend from my church small group came walking past,saw who it was, and stopped to see if he could help. Then a police car pulled up behind the stopped car on College and the policeman came over to see if he was needed. Another car pulled on to 8th Street and a woman in scrubs got out, took a look at me and went back to get a med kit from her car. While she was getting it, another car pulled over on 8th and an older woman got out and came over, exclaiming, "My sister fell in that same spot and broke her nose."
Jodi asked how I was feeling. Shaken, sore in spots, not sure whether I needed the doctor or just some help getting home -- and a mix of taking comfort from all the assistance and a bubble of amusement at the way it resembled those scenes at the circus where a tiny car pulls up and clown after clown climbs out. Not that these good Samaritans were clowns -- anything but!
The woman in scrubs also thought I might need stitches, and the first driver had verified that someone could see me at the doctor's and offered to take me there. Turns out he's a city detective, so I guess this fell in the general area of "helping the public."
It was my own doctor's day off, so I was seen by another doctor in the practice -- who happens to be part of the clan that I play mah jongg with most New Year's Eves. He got my chin cleaned up, superglued the cut instead of stitching it, and checked that I was okay elsewhere, before sending me home with my father, who leaves nearby and was able to provide transport.
I was sore the next day, but really not in too bad shape. A few bruises on my hip, a scrape on my knee and on my palm, and the cut on my chin, which I hardly noticed. The biggest side effect was that the blow to my chin jarred my jaw, so that it was difficult to chew for the next week or two. The first day I could hardly manage to eat a peach, but it improved steadily, and by now all is back to normal. What a delight to be able to eat crusty bread and chew nuts again -- and to eat peaches!
If you are going to trip and fall, there are far worse places to do it than along a main thoroughfare to the hospital and the campus, just after lunch. I am most grateful to all the folks who took time to stop and help. When I sat waiting for the doctor to see me, there was a moment when I started to feel a little teary and sorry for myself, and then I remembered that outpouring of aid, and was comforted.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"