Ojai22: Lessons Learned

Wellness, Health, Life

Archive for January, 2008


Posted by ojai22 on January 7, 2008

She said her name was Trace. She said she knew First Aid and CPR. I looked at her with a bloody face as she asked my name.

I was buying a jar of Coconut Oil. I always get it in glass jars but not this time. For some reason I didn’t understand I had picked up a plastic jar. Turned out to be a really good thing.

Pacific Coast Highway is very wide at the point where it runs down the center of a large shopping center. There are traffic lights at each end of the center, several blocks apart. When the traffic stops at both lights, you can make a run for it and get across PCH. Dumb, but you can do it.

When I left the market with my coconut oil I noticed the lack of traffic and made a dash for the highway. Just as I approached I saw 2 cars bearing down on me so turned in mid-stride to run up the sidewalk till they passed.

Never made it. Got slammed down to the concrete. Strange how an incident can happen so quickly, yet you feel the pain in individual places. I landed on my right knee first, then my mouth. Even as it happened I wondered how my teeth could stand the force of the fall. I tasted blood. Right arm under my body, left hand in pain.

I lay on the sidewalk with body parts hurting and realized I couldn’t get up. I did manage to get my left hand over to my mouth. My teeth were intact, but my hand came away bloody. Cars were passing right at my feet and alongside me on PCH. No one stopped and I realized that I would have to lie there till someone actually came to help me. At such a time, seconds turn into minutes. It seemed forever, but suddenly a man took hold of my shoulders and asked if I was okay, could he help me up. I told him I didn’t think anything was broken; I just couldn’t get up. He had to lift me bodily so I could stand. He was wearing black clothing with a white patch on the left shoulder; I’m sorry I wasn’t able to read it at the time. I could see he was Hispanic but never got his name. As we were struggling to get me on my feet, a woman came running and asked if she could help. Said she knew First Aid and CPR.

They helped me over to a low wall to sit and the man asked if I was okay. I assured him I was in one piece. I could tell he had to leave and I thanked him as profusely as I could. The lady sat on the wall with me and asked questions that I knew were designed to tell her how injured I might be. No, I’m not diabetic; yes, I know my name, etc. She asked where I lived and it happened that she lived just a few blocks from me. I had said nothing aloud but was wondering how I would get home as I couldn’t stand on my own or walk. She said she was going that way, then helped me to her car which was nearby, and we started for my house.

A few minutes later we heard the paramedics coming up Second Street. She said, “They’re coming for you.” Nothing I could do at that point. She asked me didn’t people in this country help each other? It was then I noticed she had an accent. Said she was from New Zealand and people help each other there. She had been in the Pet Store near where I had fallen when someone in the store said, “Call 911, a woman has fallen out on the sidewalk.” Trace had asked them, “Well, why don’t you help her?” And that’s when she came running….

As we talked I realized how much I missed my daughter that I had lost a few years ago. I could really have used her help right then. Trace said she had lost a brother. Her mother was coming for Christmas.

When we got to my apartment complex she pulled into a guest parking spot. I thought she was going to see me to the entrance door. I opened the front door and she came inside with me, across the lobby to the elevator. Went right to my door and didn’t leave till I had my door open. I gave her my card and a hug. She said she would call me that night to see how I was. It was much later that I realized that when I had the cards made, I hadn’t put my phone number on them, just my email address.

I sent an email to my sons to let them know not just what had happened and that I was okay, but about the lady that had helped me. The next morning my younger son called to see how I was and told me a story that sounded familiar. He had been up in Portland OR the week before on business. One night after work he and a couple of guys from work were walking down the street. They saw an old man running for a bus – he tripped and fell and just lay there. My son said people were walking by him and no one stopped to help him. He said the people with him were going to walk on by and not stop to help. So he helped the old man up and made sure he was okay. I remembered Trace’s question: Don’t people help each other here?

“Hit the sidewalk running” took on a different meaning as I dug the pebbles and debris from the mangled flesh around my mouth and chin. Couldn’t eat, couldn’t talk without moving the places that had to heal. Dabbed the mangled spots with coconut oil. Very soon tops had formed and fallen off, but the hand got worse. When I couldn’t use it at all – and discovered a bump on the bone where it hurt most – I went to the Emergency Room at a nearby hospital. Two weeks had passed since the incident, now I had to wear a splint for 2 weeks and not use my hand at all.  I wondered about Trace and how could I get a Thank You gift to her. She had told me the intersection where she lived, and I knew it well so decided I would take her a gift on New Year’s Day.

The splint came off just before Christmas which was a gift from the gods. I went to a shop with beautiful products and chose some Eucalyptus items because they smelled soooo good. Huge bar of soap, bath salts, lovely bath mitt, bottle of liquid soap. I had planned to put them in a basket but when I told the clerk what they were for, she said – Oh, I can put them in a nice bag, with pretty tissue, and there are some small cards there if you want to choose one; I’ll drop in the gift receipt, too, and tie it up with a pretty ribbon. I added my phone number and was ready for New Year’s Day.

I had looked at a house for rent some years ago at that intersection so started my search there. No one home, just 2 dogs letting me know the place was protected. Turned up the street and knocked on a door. No one home. At the next door my knock echoed through another empty house. Small apartment complexes across the street, one I used to live in, but she said she lived in a house. Knocked on another door and woohoo! a person not working on New Year’s Day! No, she didn’t know the person I was describing, but good luck, and what a nice thing to do. I felt like saying, “No, this is reaction to a nice thing done,” but left it at “Thank You.”

Further up the street, knocked again, no one home. Okay, time to turn around. I went to the house beside the first house I had gone to, but faced a different street. No one home. Thinking it over, it seemed prudent that I should come back when people were off work, but the house next door was right there, so I went over and tapped on the door. Lo and behold! the door opened! When I asked about Trace, the girl at the door, and someone back inside the room, said yes, Trace was their neighbor. I could see they didn’t want to give out info to a stranger so I told them what I was doing. Turns out Trace lived behind them, in the first house I had gone to – the one I had wanted to rent years ago – the one with the dogs. It was fortunate that I had used the bag instead of a basket for the gift. I was able to leave the bag between the screen door and the front door. Then I walked away wishing I knew how to whistle!

The next day I found a message from Trace on my Voicemail – “So glad to hear from you. I’ve been by your house a couple times and wondered how you were. Thanks for the lovely gift, when I got home and found it, it really lifted my day. Let’s have tea or lunch, let’s stay in touch….”

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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