Monday, November 24, 2008

On My Way To Work,

I saw an older woman lying facedown on the sidewalk at the bottom of a set of stairs between a hedge.
I put my truck in park, but left it running as I jumped out and ran over to where she lay. I bent over to look at her face and saw it was resting on the pavement in a pool of blood. I told her I'd be right back, she blinked, more blood bubbled out of her nose, then I ran to my truck to grab my phone and blanket.

She was probably about 80 years old, had tripped on her way down the stairs and fell, not protecting her head on her way down.

A registered nurse arrived on the scene seconds after I wrapped my colourful mexican blanket around her, so I moved out of the way as people more qualified than me took over.

Minutes later, the eye candy arrived; firemen and paramedics all over the place. One volunteer fireman stayed by my side, assuring me she'd be fine and thanking me for stopping to care for her. I guess my eyes were expressing my sadness and my fears. Sadness for her ... she looked so scared, confused and alone. Did she have a husband that would meet her at hospital? Did she have children? Would they bring her her favorite foods while she recovered? How bad were her injuries? Seeing her lying there reminded me off all the times this past year that my dad has fallen. And then I thought of Elizabeth, dad's hospital roommate for a time last Spring. She lives in Langley all by herself... what if she were to fall?

And then there were the fears about my future. I could be an 80 year old woman, walking by myself one minute, then twisted on a sidewalk the next. How alone a person must feel, just lying there, all bruised, achy, bleeding, and messed up.

My mom has been looking after for my dad singlehandedly for the past 6 months. He needs fulltime care and she's his wife. That's the whole 'for better or worse' part of marriage vows. Even if you aren't a nurse. Even if health-care is not your field. Even if you are aging, untrained, and ill-equipped to handle being a fulltime caregiver - it's what you do. My dad is secure, content and totally at peace being looked after by his 'pussycat'...

But what happens to sick people who aren't married? I can't even go there. I can't even allow myself to think about it. I get all twitchy in my stomach imaging myself in a care facility. Oy vey.

Anyway, I was watching Muriel being looked after on the side of the street, while processing what my life will be like in 30 years. No wonder that fireman thought I was on the verge of breaking down.

It's not like I don't have enough things to worry about right now, that I have to borrow worries from the future?

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