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!