Mary was walking her dogs – two rat terriers – Monday, and I was “strolling” through the Covenant Woods’ parking lots. Mary said she needed to be careful; she’d recently fallen a few times. Nothing serious. The falls had been in her apartment, and she was able to get up without assistance each time.
“I have to be very careful out here,” Mary said. “These dogs get so excited when they see something. They’re anxious to see what’s going on, they pull on their leashes, and I have a hard time keeping my balance. And there are people who don’t clean up after their dogs. The other day, the dogs saw a squirrel and started after it. They pulled me around, and I saw a pile on the ground. I almost fell trying to avoid it. I always clean up after my dogs. I wish others would pick up their dogs’ messes, too.”
Wednesday morning, Ethel and Tony were standing near the elevator. “We’re waiting to see why the EMTs are here,” Ethel told me. A few minutes later, the EMTs came by pushing a gurney with Mary on it.
“Are you OK?” Ethel asked.
“Oh, I just fell.”
“Nothing serious, I hope.”
“No. Heck, I’ll be back here in fifteen minutes.”
Friday, Mary was out walking her dogs again. “It’s my ankle,” she said. “The doctors wrapped it to help keep it straight. I just have to be careful. But now my daughter wants me to move closer to her, so when something like this happens again I can call her, and she can come help. I don’t know if I want to do that.”
Frances had a more difficult time. While visiting her sister, who lives in the Atlanta area, she fell and broke her hip. Frances had surgery the next day, and word is she is doing well.
* * *
To sleep, perchance to dream; ay, there’s the rub. Falling asleep is seldom a problem. Remaining asleep for the recommended seven to eight hours is. I am in bed by ten, asleep by ten-thirty, and very often awake at two in the morning. Some mornings my bladder rouses me in the wee hours to let me know I’d best go wee-wee. Other days, I wake-up at one-thirty or two just because I do.
Getting to sleep the second time around is never easy, and usually impossible. As I lie in bed, my mind starts wander, picking up speed as it goes, and not infrequently visiting places I’d rather it not visit.
I can’t do much tossing and turning – my muscles. smart-ass teenagers that they are, won’t do as they’re told – and my back gets to aching, and the legs get spastic. By three o’clock I’ve had enough and get up, get dressed, and start the day.
I enjoy being up in the early, early morning. Sliding the porch door open, I can listen to the host of nocturnal creatures buzzing and chirping, accompanied by the rustling of leaves, and sometimes the sound of the falling rain. Once I’m up, my mind settles down, and I can do a crossword puzzle or two, read, write a little, and pour some cereal into a bowl, or scramble a couple eggs.
Then, I’m shot for the rest of the day. I was up, had put on my shoes, socks, and a pair of shorts, and taken care of the bladder’s needs by three o’clock this morning. I did my usual morning things, and at eight, after finishing a bowl of Great Grains and blueberries, along with a banana, I went out and wandered around the Covenant Woods’ grounds for nearly an hour. When I got back to the apartment, I was at least half asleep, and once I got my legs elevated, I was fast asleep for two hours.
The afternoon hasn’t been completely unproductive, nor has it been as productive as it could be. A few times – like eight or ten times – I’ve nodded off while putting these words together. Each time my mind shut down, I had my fingers on the keyboard. Then, when my mind suddenly realized what I was supposed to be doing, I opened my eyes to see row after row, a half page or more of lllllllllllllllllll or ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, or ppppppppppppppppppp on the screen. After some extensive backspacing, I was left with the problem of figuring out where I was and where I was headed when the brain deserted me.
* * *
The contractors have been busy for three months or more renovating Covenant Woods inside and out. The carpet in the second-floor hallway has been pulled up, leaving tiny balls of the adhesive that held it down scattered on the exposed plywood.
I was up there Monday doing my laundry, when Betty, who lives on the second floor, wandered by. “I wish they’d get moving on the floor,” she said. “They could at least give it a good, thorough sweeping. My cat goes out in the hall some times. She doesn’t go anywhere; she just looks around a little and comes back in. But now, when she comes back in, she brings those tiny balls of whatever that stuff is in with her, and I have to try to get it all out of her fur.”
The laundry-room floor hadn’t been touched, but the walls had been stripped. Besides the wallpaper, a sign that said a resident should use no more than two washers came down. The sign also directed those doing their laundry to “report any problems to the condo association.” I don’t know when what is now Covenant Woods ceased to be a condominium, but in talking to folks who have been around here for a while, I get the impression it was sometime in the 1990s.
Looking at the spot where the sign was, it appears the person who years ago applied the glue to the sign was from Michigan.
* * *
One of the niftiest features of my new wheelchair is that it reclines. As the excited baseball play-by-play guy might say, it goes “way, way, way back,” and the footplate extends outward until my legs are nearly straight. Once I’m reclined, stretched out, and all the blood is rushing to my brain, I must be at something close to a forty-five-degree angle. As a result, things might not be looking up, but I am.