Accident (ak′si dent) n. 1. an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usu. results in injury, damage, or loss.
A few years ago I heard or read that “old age is the accumulated effect of accidents.” Sometimes I think I’m trying to prove that.
Yesterday afternoon I had some errands to run. I went out to my car, and my purse tipped somehow and my cell phone fell out and bounced underneath the car. It was far enough under that I could have started the car, backed up, and then got out and picked up the cell phone. But no. I could not take a chance on running over the phone.
I got my cane, something I use when I’m feeling the effects of previous accidents, and bent over to try to hook the phone out from under the car.
Our driveway slants downhill, so picture me bending over almost double, leaning downhill, trying to swipe the phone closer with my cane. See, in retrospect I know I should have turned around and faced uphill. Yes. I know that now.
OK, so there I was, trying to get that phone, and not having much success, when suddenly I felt gravity grab me in its evil clutches, and brothers and sisters, I went down, face first, onto the cement driveway.
The first thing I thought about was people who get slammed around on TV, then get up and walk away and appear to be fine. Television lies. Those are actors and stuntmen and women who get paid to appear to be hurt. That’s not how it really works. The body does not take a slam and then walk away feeling groovy. Trust me.
I rolled onto my back and put my hands up to the sides of my face. I wondered if any neighbors or passersby had seen me go down, but all was silent so I assumed no one had. It was a sunny day and the sun felt warm shining on me. It felt good, and I was pleased that this tenacious winter is being forced to loosen its grip. I was feeling comfortable, lying there on the cement in the sunshine, holding my face, and doing a mental check in with body parts. Legs? Aye aye, Cap’n. Arms? Check. Torso? Seems to be fine. I thought I was OK to go, and began to move.
My left hand came away from my face wet, and I looked at it, and it was covered with blood. Oh boy. I’ve always heard that head wounds are bloody. It’s true.
I got up. I found my glasses (permanently scratched). I picked up my purse, I pulled the phone out from under the car in one firm stroke of the cane – I was facing uphill now – and I headed back into the house.
My older son was gathering recycling just inside the front door. When I walked in he looked up at me and said, “OH MY GOD MOM WHAT HAPPENED?” He told me later that he thought someone had mugged me and he was ready to go out and get the guy – this is what comes of living three years on the mainland – but I explained that I fell down.
When I got to the bathroom I could see his point. Blood covered most of the left side of my face, running down to my chin. I looked like one of the people you see in news photographs that have captions that say, “Protesters struggled with police…”
I drenched a wash rag in cold water and cleaned myself up, and then I went back to the family room to sit down with a nice ice pack on my beat up face. We called the doctor’s office to ask about signs of concussion, and were reassured that I was probably not concussed. My husband came home from work and after the first alarms he asked me to be sure to let people know he had not done this to me. Understandable male nervousness, but I reassured him: no, I will let people know I did this to myself.
This morning I feel exactly like I’ve had a good whap up the side of my head – my face is swollen and scraped, but I don’t have the black eye I was expecting. It feels good to hold an ice pack on the swelling. I’ll be fine in a few days.
So, there, that’s the biography of an accident. I’ve told a few people about it, and have been humbled by the stories they tell me of falls they’ve taken. This was not a big fall.
Now, I know that some of you think there are no accidents, but wait until you have one. The laws of physics will get you faster than karma. Please excuse me while I go do a little more ice therapy.