I don’t live alone: I live with my husband, who generally sleeps later than I do, and was asleep when I had my accident. And our long time housekeeper and her daughter are right next door. But I was alone when this happened, and it got me thinking!
I was up before dawn and found, ahem, our indoor dog had pooped on the floor. I let her out, cleaned up the poop, and threw alcohol around the floor. Then I made my coffee and headed to the T.V. room to watch the morning news. That’s the last thing I remember.
I woke up on the floor, with my whole head aching like mad. I thought I couldn’t move anything, so I just lay there and moaned for a few minutes. I thought maybe there had been a bomb or I had been attacked. And although I moaned and groaned out loud, I knew no one would hear me. But my head cleared within a few minutes and I knew where I was and could guess what had happened. I wiped my face – and came up with a handful of blood. At that point I discovered nothing else actually hurt except my head, and I got up and went to the bathroom – and found my face covered with blood. I cleaned up, found some paper towel to hold over the major gash in my forehead, and finally sat down to have some coffee.
So I was just going to take care of this myself. It took me an hour before I decided I would have to go to E.R. – and another hour before I understood I had better not drive. I called my son-in-law Marcus, and he brought me to Adventist ER and stayed with me through all the procedures: the tetanus shots, the CAT scan, the stitches.
Two days later I had lunch with two single friends. One lives alone, the other has a helper in the house. They both said I should have called them and they would have helped – and I countered by saying if anything like that happened to them, they should call me. And I think we all meant it, and we would all be glad to help.
But it got us thinking and talking about the perils of living alone. It seems a good idea to know whom you WOULD call in such an emergency. It would probably also be good to have that name and number written down and posted on the refrigerator or elsewhere – in emergencies we forget things we know very well, and in a worst case scenario, you might not be able to tell anyone whom to call.
I had a different kind of emergency going on in my life at one point and I was home alone, and at least two friends knew what was going on. They said they would leave their phones on all night and they both called early the next day to check on me. Everything was okay by that time but it was very comforting to know someone had my back!
But sometimes you have to ask, and often people who live alone get into sort of an independence mode in which they are not inclined to do that. In the incident I described above, after I got over feeling I might die, I decided it was something I could very well deal with by myself. I texted some members of my family who are not here present, and didn’t even mention I had fallen and was bleeding. When I decided I shouldn’t drive, I still considered calling a tricycle. This was a clear lapse in judgment. (But that can happen when you hit your head!)
It seems to me seniors who live alone should reach out to friends if they have any strange feelings, however vague, thinking something might go wrong with their health. You could go stay over night with your friends. Or someone can go stay with you. And people who are depressed or afraid of something should definitely call for help! Everyone has those moments and needs to talk with someone! Of course it’s difficult to ask for such help, but just do it!
I have another friend who frequently offers to do nice things for people and if these potential recipients say “Oh never mind, it’s okay”, she says indignantly “Hey, give me a chance to get to heaven too!!” Ask! We all want to go to heaven!