Have you heard the story of the 71-year-old woman who was so preoccupied she didn’t watch herself heading towards a raised metal grating surrounding a tree, tripped, and landed flat on her face, her nose scrunched into the heavy metal grate, blood gushing out of her mouth.
I am that woman and I can still “see” myself lunging towards the ground and feel the impact. A couple of people rushed towards me to ask if I was ok, despite the blood flowing from my mouth. My immediate thought was to make sure I could get up. I remember worrying whether I had broken my nose and if my glasses and the caps on my top front teeth had shattered. Thank God I could move all my limbs. Once those around me saw I could walk on my own, they went about their business, despite the blood gushing from my mouth.
I stumbled my way back into the shop where I had bought a sheet set before the accident, which was about 50 feet away from the tree.
“Please, can you get me water and a washcloth!” I implored the saleswoman who sold me the sheets not 10 minutes earlier. Although the store was stocked with towels and washcloths on shelves all around her, the saleswoman ushered me to a bathroom and pointed to a stack of beige paper towels you often find in public ladies rooms. And she promptly left, despite the blood flowing from my mouth.
I kept filling my mouth with cold water and spitting out blood. I needed to clear away the blood to be able to assess the situation. Once I was satisfied that the the bleeding was under control, I left the store, clutching a wad of wet beige paper towels to my face, and thought I’d better go to a plastic surgeon to get stitches because I could feel a gaping hole inside my left upper lip when I ran my tongue over it. I also discovered that the area above my left knee had two deep cuts but they weren’t bleeding profusely, just painful.
Believe it or not, a similar accident happened to me about seven years ago, when I needed stitches for the inside and outside of my cheek. I was lucky then, too. No broken bones, no concussion.
I called my longtime dentist first. When I told him that my jaw mildly ached, and my capped and uncapped teeth didn’t feel loose, he said it didn’t sound like I had to rush to a dental surgeon. “Call the office on Monday morning and I’ll squeeze you in.” When I dared to look at my teeth, I saw that one upper cap, smack in the front, was chipped and scraped, revealing the metal beneath it. Perfect, just in time for Halloween, and I won’t even have to buy a witch costume!
As I dialed her number, I didn’t have much hope that Dr. Haideh Hirmand, the plastic surgeon whose office was a mile away from the scene of the accident, would be in on Friday afternoon. Lo and behold she was, and I took a cab right over.
When Dr. Hirmand examined me, she first ascertained that I hadn’t broken any bones in my face, or had had a concussion. I knew the day, date and the name of the President. When she looked at my cheek, she declared, “I can see your teeth from the cut in your lip. You’ve lost quite a bit of tissue.” No wonder I felt a hole inside my upper left lip! Three hours later, my inner and outer lip and knee were stitched up (I estimate Dr. Hirmand made about 20 stitches total), and I had instructions to get a tetanus shot immediately, as well as a prescription for an antibiotic.
￼At 6 pm that night, my ex Douglas and I went to a cabaret-style concert of Alan Jay Lerner songs (lyricist of My Fair Lady, Camelot, Brigadoon, Gigi). We returned to my home around 10 pm, had a bite to eat, and went to sleep around midnight. BTW, I decided to go to the concert because I thought it would be a needed distraction, and it was.
I’m writing this two days after the accident, happy to say that I feel immeasurably better than I felt over the weekend. The swelling in my lip has gone down, and I can put pressure on my left knee without wincing. I will see the dentist on Thursday for the issues with my cap, and have the stitches removed on Friday. I look like a prize fighter after a match. The “prizes” I received were limbs and bones intact, brain unscrambled, and eyes unharmed. Speaking of my eyes, I was on my way to have them measured for cataract laser surgery when I tripped. Cataracts are no excuse for practically walking into a tree.