Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oops! I did it again!

Betty's "Ice Capade" happened near here
1/25/12 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

The morning of last week’s big snow, I slipped on a sneaky sheet of ice (disguised by snow) covering the driveway. I went down in a heap, in deep, deep pain. Prone and barely conscious, I chastised myself, “Oh, no, I did it again!”

Five minutes went by. Then ten. My whole body was numb and I was having trouble breathing. I gingerly tried to move my arms. They worked! Then I stretched my legs and wiggled my toes. They also worked. My heart did I little happy dance of hope. But then I tried to get up and couldn’t. My back went into pain spasms and I collapsed on the ice waiting for them to subside.

The day had started out splendidly. Overnight, snow had blanketed our property and turned the sticks of winter shrubs into a winter wonderland. On his way out the door, my husband reminded me that it was also very cold outside. It was his way of telling me to be on the lookout for dangerous black ice as I drove around the dam. He was headed for town and I was meeting him later.

As an avid amateur photographer, I firmly believe that you can never have enough pictures of snow-covered trees and meadows. So I grabbed my camera and car keys as I stepped out of the house to drive into town. There was a little gray squirrel running around and I wanted to snap a few pictures of him before the snow melted.

My feet crunched through the snowy areas but I remember hesitating to walk too far up the driveway. It looked icy. Instead, I walked back to the garage’s cement pad. The birch trees next to the driveway were literally sparkling with snowdrops. “Maybe,” I thought, “I can shoot them from underneath and it will look like a kaleidoscope.”

That was the last I remember. I didn’t notice that crunchy snow had turned to slick ice. Simultaneously, both feet slid out from under me. My bottom hit the ground—HARD! I bounced and then fell backwards resting on my shoulders. I briefly blacked out but not for long. Sammy (the Wonder-dog!) was right there licking my face and checking to see if I was okay.

Well, I had my doubts. It was 9:30 a.m. Except for two dogs and two cats; I was all alone on a sheet of ice. My cell phone, camera and keys had gone flying when I fell. I didn’t know how I was going to get up off the ground but I had to try.

Actually, it took several tries to get myself into an upright position so that I could crawl into the garage. Once in the garage, I pulled myself up onto the car and looked for my phone, camera and keys. They were half covered by snow. Oy! Back I went to retrieve them.

I tried to call Chuck on his cell phone but he didn’t answer. It was getting harder and harder for me to breathe (let alone talk!) but my back was screaming with each spasm. No one could see me from the road and I was pretty sure that my closest neighbor wasn’t home.

Somehow, I drove myself to the hospital’s Emergency Room. By that time, Chuck had called (wondering where I was) and I told him to meet me at the hospital. There, I was the center of attention as a young man got a wheel chair and wheeled me into the ER under the watchful gaze of a security guard.

Three hours later I had been examined, x-rayed and pronounced, “bruised and battered.” I was given pain meds and released to go home and take it easy. Miraculously, no bones were broken in this adventure but every muscle in my body is still sore. (Note: later it was determined that I have a compression fracture.)

If you are a regular reader of this column, you probably know that I am a bit accident-prone. In the last 10 years, I’ve fallen off a ladder and lacerated my head; got banged up bathing a cat; twice fallen down stairs and broken bones in my foot; and too many other things to enumerate.

Now, when I was a Girl Scout our motto was “Be Prepared.” So at this point in my life you would think that I might have some words of wisdom to offer. You would be wrong!

I simply don’t know how to stop this kind of accident from happening in my own back yard. I know how to pack a survival kit for all kinds of other circumstances—I always have a blanket, water, protein bars, flares, matches, flashlights and a fire extinguisher in our car. Our house pantry is stocked with enough non-perishable food to feed a family of 6 for a spell. We have extra bottled water, etc.

I learned from my fall off an 8-ft ladder to stay off antique ladders with round rungs and especially not to step backwards off the top rung! But Chuck solved that problem. He removed the temptation. One day I came home and he had hung it on the wall for me to decorate. Under his supervision of course.

I learned from my cat–in-the-bathtub experience that you should never put a cat in the tub with water running!

I learned from falling down stairs that accidents happen and bones don’t heal very easily at this stage of life.

So I guess there is something I should have done to keep my bottom from hitting the ice…I should have put on my snow boots and scouted the territory before I walked on it.

Of course, I could also buy one of those fancy walkers with a horn and four large wheels for stability. Maybe then I could stay upright.

Stay safe everyone!

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.

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