“If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.
- Exodus 23:4-5
Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
May the foot of the proud not come against me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
See how the evildoers lie fallen—
thrown down, not able to rise!
- Psalm 36:10-12
I took a shower in the middle of the day recently. My wife had finished her dialysis. We had gone to the pharmacy and wholesale warehouse store. She then let me do the light grocery shopping – half dozen items, and that was with me getting a special treat for her since the wholesale warehouse store, riding in a motorized cart, had worn her out. She had to activate her new debit card.
So, I put away the groceries and other things and decided to get comfortable a bit early. She went to her room to take a nap. I went upstairs to shower and then put on some pajamas or lounge pants, whatever you call them. I did fine as I stood and placed my right leg through the opening, but then I was bent over as I lifted the other leg. It was if an ax took the fateful swing at the tree. I was going down. I seemed to have no other choice. As I grabbed the only thing that was available to break my fall… Note: grabbing air does not break your fall much. My only thought was of Howard Cosell, and possibly his most inane, but famous sports call.
Yes, I was thinking “Down goes Frazier!!” “Why?” You ask, “Your name is not Frazier.” I know it’s not, but it is less embarrassing if people think that it was some guy named Frazier that fell instead of me! It is odd, it is what I have thought on a couple of other falls in the past ten years.
I fell on my bottom. Okay, if I was not being polite and I was using the King James Version of the Bible for the first Scripture, we would be up to our assess in asses about now… … … … Oops, I guess I just screwed up the polite part. Only problem is, I had no one, not even someone who did not like me, to help me up.
No, I had some books on the floor. I had been boxing up books that I had already read. When I told my daughter-in-law about the fall a little later, she laughed the hardest when I said the next statement. “Don’t worry; Dante’s Inferno broke my fall.” I have no idea why that is funny. Now, if I said that I fell through Dante’s Inferno and through Pergatorio and I landed in Paradiso… Now, THAT would be funny.
As I was wondering if I had broken anything, doing the inventory of body parts, the telephone started ringing. It was on the far side of the room. I could not get up. I thought I was “upright in heart” as it mentions in the second Scripture. I had no idea that I was an evildoer that could not rise. After four rings, it switched to the answering machine, but then it started ringing again. By this time, I knew it was my wife. If she called on the cellphone, I could pull the sheet and possibly get the cellphone to fall off the bed, but NOOOOO!!! She called on the landline, again. All she wanted to say was…
When our sons first saw this cartoon or a newer cartoon with a character that said the same thing, their outlook toward falling down completely changed. It became an opportunity to give a punchline. They would fall down, just to say that.
No, my wife thought a lightning strike had hit the house and she wondered if I had been struck by lightning while showering. I explained that the large boom was me trying to gain quick access to the living room below. I failed!! Dante’s Inferno broke my fall. She didn’t laugh. See! I told you it wasn’t funny.
By then, the only thing that hurt really bad was my left wrist that I had already injured. So, bad news: It hurts. Good news: It already hurt about as bad as it could hurt, so it is not hurting any worse! My bottom does not hurt. Dante’s Inferno broke my fall.
Her calling me a second time made me get up, regardless of whether anything was broken. I would probably still be on my back, staring at the ceiling, wondering if I could get up if I did not get that phone call.
But a little later that day, I was back writing again in the basement when the phone rang. It was the surgeon calling. They want to do another surgery on my wife’s arm, actually the dialysis center demanded the additional surgery. The dialysis center does not like the fistula and they want a graft installed. A computer voice from the hospital gave me the news that my wife had two appointments. Then my cellphone rang. When it went to voice mail, it started ringing again. My wife wanted something. Then when she started using the landline, the computer voice developed the hiccups. The computer voice was a hard enough voice to understand without hiccups. I missed one appointment entirely with all the noise and half the other. I hung up in the midst of the COVID instructions, because my wife was now in the kitchen yelling my name.
“Hey, I’m on the phone with a computer recording, confirming your two appointments on Tuesday or whenever they are!! I can’t hear myself think with all the phones ringing!” Note: As a result of calling the doctor office back, they scheduled her for imaging early in the morning, before the office normally opens, and then for a consultation to schedule the surgery. They will learn from the images where the graft must tie into the arteries and veins.
But back to my wife’s response to my angry retort. “Thanks a lot for yelling! I thought you had a heart attack. I told myself that I will not go down there to see you slumped over your computer – dead – that would be disgusting!”
It is odd that she said that. She had worked surgery, putting people back together after they were wounded in Vietnam. Not all of them survived. She had seen plenty of death. Many years later, she was working in surgery with an old country surgeon, who had seen it all. He opened a woman’s abdomen with an incision, and one of the nurses asked what that smell was. He asked everyone except my wife around the room, 2-3 nurses, the anesthetist, and none of them knew. Then he turned to my wife, the one who knew what instrument he needed before he asked for it, most of the time. She said, “That’s the smell of death.” The doctor nodded and closed the incision. One of the nurses asked why he was not going to finish the surgery. He asked, “Mrs. Rackley, do you think this lady will survive until tomorrow morning?” My wife shook her head. The doctor then said, “Her children do not need another doctor bill.” Most doctors would have continued.
Maybe my wife simply meant that she did not wish to see ME slumped over my computer, but she was concerned. Maybe she was concerned who would drive her to the dialysis center the next day, but concerned, nevertheless.
No, I do not think my heart is giving out. I just lost my balance. Getting old is not for the weak. I now put on my pants and my socks and shoes while sitting down. You make adjustments.
And always, God is with us.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.