Sunday, August 5, 2012

Men In Black


I am 87 years old.
I live alone.
I sleep alone.
My doors are locked.
I have a medical alarm button on a cord around my neck.
I read in bed.
I have a cochlear implant and remove it when I sleep, leaving me profoundly deaf.

Keep these background facts in your mind as you read about my middle-of-the -night adventure. 

 Several weeks ago I was deep in the arms of Morpheus having wonderful dreams.  Or so I assume, because I can’t remember them.  It was a very hot night and I didn’t even have a sheet covering me.  My short nightie was probably not covering much either.   (No one sees me so comfort comes before modesty.)  I had fallen asleep reading a hard cover book and the bedside light was still on.

I was awakened by someone shaking my ankle.  It’s truly amazing how rapidly the thoughts flash through your mind
at a time like that.  It's like a fast forward movie .  In a matter of one second I thought ‘This is not a dream, someone is really shaking your ankle and you are alone.  It can’t be.  Maybe Gail and Mark returned.’

By the time those rapid thoughts sped through my semi-conscious mind my eyes opened I saw a man in black smiling at me.  My vision further cleared to see 3 more young men in black standing behind him at the foot of my bed.  I said, “Oh my God.”  as I quickly
sat up

The man who had been responsible for my waking  said something and I pointed to my ear and said I can’t hear.   I asked him if I had inadvertently pressed my medical alarm button.  He said (I read his lips) “I don’t know.”  I said "let me get my CI processor" and he shook his head, motioned for me to go back to sleep.  One young man made the circle with his fingers letting me know that everything was all right and they turned in unison and marched out the door. 

By this time I was fully aware that I had had  a middle of the night visit from four very handsome young paramedics.  I think I probably pressed the medical alarm button with the corner of the book while sleeping.   When that happens a voice at the other end asks if you need help.   Without my CI processor attached to my head I was unable to hear that.   The person then calls the number of a neighbor to check on you.   My neighbor was not happy to be wakened at 1:30 in the morning and told them she no longer had my key or the combination ot my lock box.  (That's another story for another time.)  When all else fails, the medical alert operator calls 911.

I never had time to be frightened or embarrassed until after they left.  Then I became aware of my dishabille and it makes me hope they never have to return to my house again.     It would be hard to see them and guess what they must be thinking after viewing my sleeping body.  (Not a pretty sight.)  Needless to say, I did not go back to bed after they left.  

I have quite a record of getting handsome young firemen to come to my house.

The first time I had the medics at my bedside was when I slipped and fell getting in bed.  I had a nightgown on.  I had two broken ribs that time.  The ambulance ride was not fun when they hit a bump.

The second time I had the paramedics at my house I was in a long nightgown and robe; suitably attired for a visitor.  I had been having severe abdominal pains.  The EM’s (handsome kids) gave me an EKG and they were sure I was having a heart attack.  My neighbors were there and they all convinced me I should be transported to the emergency room.  (No heart attack, but it had been caused by gallstones that were later diagnosed by a different ER team)

The third time I had a visit from the EM’s was when I broke my hip.  Again, I had gotten ready for bed prior to falling and was in a nightgown and robe.

The fourth time I had the men in black at my house was when I fell going in my front door.  They only had to transport me to a chair that time.  And, 
for a change, I was fully dressed.
The fifth time was not a medical emergency, but was extremely embarrassing.  I was replacing the door knob to my bathroom and when I took the last screw out both knobs fell off and the inner working was in a locked position.  I tried mightily to remove it, but I am not handy with repairs and had to call for help again.  I was in the one room in the house where I could not reach the telephone so I had to press my panic button.   My trusty young firemen came to the rescue again.

There were two other times that I had my heroes to my rescue.  Once when my scooter tipped over in the middle of the street on a very hot day and again when I fell taking out my trash.

I wonder what kind of reputation I have at the firehouse.  I can just hear them groaning when they get my address for another visit to me.  I am sure they are wondering what that clumsy old hen has done this time.  I do know what my reputation is in the neighborhood.   'Darlene will go to any lengths to get handsome young men to come see her and is usually in sleeping attire.' 

I am quite masterful and ingenious at finding ways to get attention and create excitement.   At least, it must appear to be that way.    Oy Vey!


Anne said...

What a great story. What an exciting life you lead. I wonder what you were reading.

Hey, I am impressed that you can remember all those incidents. I bet I would have got them all mixed up.

Hattie said...

You do have a full life! You're so funny. My poor MIL had no sense of humor about her predicament and the embarrassments of old age. I hope I can be more like you than like her.

Rummuser said...

Darlene, I would exchange what I do now to be one of those men in black!

Leslie Parsley said...

Darlene, you are so amazing. The handsome young men in black may be your heroes but YOU are definitely mine.

ellen kirkendall said...

My oldest daughter will be pleased to know there is a foolproof way to make handsome young men come to the house! Glad your adventures were nothing more serious.

Darlene said...

*Anne - I was reading "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon. It isn't boring,, but I tend to nod off without warning.

*Hattie - If we don't laugh we cry. I prefer to laugh.

*Rummuser - Tee Hee. Well, you will have to fly to be one.

*Leslie Parsley - Aw shucks, Leslie. Thank you for making my day.

*Ellen Kirkendall - I can't convince my daughter ro try my methods. ;-)

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Darlene, you are amazing and made me smile this late afternoon.
I have had two visits and both
were times I contacted them by 911.
Never thought I would do this and now I consider it life saving.
I find that not much embarrasses me anymore as I age...

Darlene said...

*One Woman's Journey - Good for you by not letting things embarrass you. It's vanity to allow yourself to be embarrassed and I will try to follow your model.

joared said...

Enjoyed your story and the EMT escapades. I wholeheartedly agree that laughing about such episodes is best to stay sane. I'm sure EMTs have seen so much that one more person makes little impact. Expect they were just pleased you didn't actually need medical assistance.

Even with what I do in health care, I've encountered enough "unusual" situations that not much phases me any more and quickly passes through my visual cortex.

joared said...

I meant to add, that suddenly awakening, then seeing them and maybe not immediately realizing they were EMTs could be enough to give a person a heart attack. It surely would make my heart race (you can interpret that however you like!) Glad you survived.

Darlene said...

*Joared - Funny you should mention that because as they turned to leave I said, "I'm going to have that heart attack now."

Millie Garfield said...

Your story reminds me of the time was in my stall shower and could not get out!

I had the emergency button, pressed it and waited for the crew to come and get my nake self out of there.
(I didn't even have a nightgown on)

Even though I had pressed the button I still kept trying to open the slider.

By the time the crew came I was out of there and wrapped in a towel

Barry said...

Darlene - What a great story. Sorry for all of your spills. I think it's good that some of the guys know you. Even better is to know that your alert button works! These guys see all sorts of things, though I know you will always be a little embarrassed, that is why they are there and do what they do.

Darlene said...

*Millie Garfield - Whew! That comes under the heading of 'in the nick of time.' At least I was fully clothed when I locked myself in the bathroom.

*Barrie - I know you are right, but it's my bum they might be seeing and, although they have surely seen worse, it's still hard to not be embarrassed.

Anonymous said...

"Knowing" Millie, I'm surprised that she did not put on her afternoon tea clothing, return to the shower, and "lock" herself back in - to let the EMTs find her, of course.

It must be stressful having to rely upon a call button. All's well that ends well.
Cop Car

Anonymous said...

"Knowing" Millie, I'm surprised that she did not put on her afternoon tea clothing, return to the shower, and "lock" herself back in - to let the EMTs find her, of course.

It must be stressful having to rely upon a call button. All's well that ends well.
Cop Car

Darlene said...

*Cop Car - Millie is always well groomed, isn't she?

Actually, it's stressful NOT having a call button. I was without one for a week due to telephone problems and I was so afraid I would fall before I got the system up and running again.

Grannymar said...

Hi Darlene,

I think you need to check your email as it may have been hacked.

Are you and your family in Spain and in trouble, looking for money etc?

Didn't think so. I have reported it as a phishing attack.

Posting here might warn others not to open take heed of it.

Xtreme English said...

Darlene: You must have nerves of steel! I would have had the heart attack for sure--and wet the bed in the bargain.

But what's this? You're back home? I just got an email from you from Madrid! You've just been robbed of everything except your US passport and need $$.

Anonymous said...

Darlene--Does this mean that you did not get the million dollars that I wired you?
Cop Car

Rain Trueax said...

Sounds like they were very polite and probably not an unusual thing with older people who live alone. Just good they have such services available and likely not far away.

I need to let you know that someone is using your name and email list as I got one from you begging for money after a problem in Madrid-- please send right now. Not sure from where it got triggered but you have your system corrupted :( I'd have let you know in Facebook but evidently you deactivated your account there. I have no idea how many on your list got the request but I think most of us know you well enough to know it didn't come from you.

Darlene said...

*Grannymar, Xtreme English, Cop Car, and Rain Trueax - Thank you for the warning, but my inbox was full of e-mails from some of my contacts warning me I had been hacked. I foolishly opened a fake FB e-mail and that's how they got hold of my entire address book. Now I have lost everything in both of my e-mail accounts, including my contact file. If I can't remember your address you may not be hearing from me. I am going to change my e-mail server as soon as I receive all mail the next few days so I can, hopefully, restore some of the contact addresses I had.

I would appreciate getting an e-mail from everyone in the next 48 hours so I can copy your e-mail address and start building a new contact list.

Rain Trueax said...

Would sending you an email help if they have that email? This is a vicious circle, isn't it?

My email is in my blog and I don't mind putting it here but not sure about sending it to that email account. rainnnn7 at

Joy Des Jardins said...

What a terrific story Darlene. You amaze me because I have no idea what I'd do if I saw anyone standing at my bed in the middle of the night....let alone several people. How you didn't panic and scream is beyond me. You are something else lady... ~Joy

Darlene said...

*Rain Trueax - I am receiving new email in both accounts. It's just that I lost all the previous mail, my address file and my other files. I will kkeep the account open for as long as it takes to hear from everyone.

Hoy Des Jardins - You probably would do exactly like I did. You are so surprised you don't have time to panic and by the time it begins to register, you know they mean you no harm.

Darlene said...

Oops you are not Hoy you are Joy. Sorry.

LS Nelson said...

How did they get in?! And let's hear the story about the neighbor and her key. Love, love, love your blog!