The kindness of strangers, friends, and dogs

Polar bear fell on ice despite "Watch for Ice" sign

I should have read the sign.

Yesterday did not start out very well. A mere block and a half into my morning dog walk, I slipped on ice, bonking first my tailbone and then my noggin, hard. Since my brain is one of my better-functioning organs, I’m trying to keep it intact. That was the low point, but immediately thereafter the kindness started, and it lasted the whole day. It was a reminder of how blessed J. and I are.

It took me a few minutes to get myself up from the fall, during which Jelly waited calmly by my side, licking my face. I sat up when I saw a car approaching through the alley. (Getting run over at that point would only add insult to injury.) The kind woman got out, checked on me, and offered to help me home. Shaken by the fall, I thanked her and stumbled home. I didn’t realize until the next block that I was bleeding. When I arrived home, I didn’t fight J.’s suggestion that we go to the hospital to get things checked out. I knew a concussion could potentially be more serious for me because of my propensity to bleed. J. contacted her boss who graciously told her to take her time.

The triage nurse at the emergency room brought me right in, reassuring me I should be there. (Blood on my neck may have legitimized my presence.) I was sent to the lower-risk end of the unit, where two nurses treated me with kindness and concern until I could see the doctor, who was caring and attentive, suggesting wryly that I not go out without a helmet in the future. Ultimately I was sent home with a clean bill of health but not before a CT scan of my head, as well as instructions to return to the ER if any concerning symptoms arose over the following week. I couldn’t have been treated with better care and respect.

On the home front, our incredible friends sprung into action, dropping their plans in order to bring Jelly over for a playdate with her bestie, Rosie. I understand from Jelly that friends and dog all were excellent hosts. Hopefully, Jelly did not spend too much time surfing their new couch.

When I got very sick 18 months ago, I went from being the helper to the helpee, a tough transition for me. (It still is, as I realize I should have accepted that kind stranger’s offer of help home rather than worrying about her arriving late for work.) But yesterday’s events reminded me that when J. or I need help, it is always there, and we are ever grateful.

Even though I am sick, please don’t forget there are ways I can still help you. I can run errands, shop for groceries–my produce-selecting skills are unequalled–bake or cook, provide lifts to doctors and mechanics, and provide emotional support. But as before, please don’t ask me to clean your house. Cleaning is definitely not my forte, as J. would concur.

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