My glasses didn’t break, something of a shock because my nose was very definitely broken, not to mention gouged, gashed and gushing. I looked like Rocky Balboa after about seven rounds with Apollo Creed.
And yet, the slim wire-framed glasses remained intact, unbent and unmoved — as if what occurred directly below it by fractions upon fractions of an inch had nothing to do with it whatsoever.
That was only the second or third odd thing out of the dozens that happened on Sunday when I became dizzy while running, took a hard fall on an asphalt-covered street and traumatized a neighbor who witnessed the whole thing. Bruce, to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude, is probably scarred for life. I believe he thought I might die right there in front of his house. Instead I was just some 59-year-old man trying desperately to be 49 and acting more like someone 39 in order to get there.
When Bruce, a person I had never met before, came out in the street to help me, I was already trying to get to my feet. I was wobbly as hell — I had just fallen directly on my face after all — and trying to figure out what had just happened. I was taking a walk and decided to do a couple of 20-second sprints during the walk. I added the sprints a few weeks ago to improve my overall workout. Foolish in retrospect.
At just about count 17, I felt an incredible lightness in my head and staggered left a step, in trying to right myself, I instead fell directly forward. It happened so quickly and my reflexes were diminished to the point that I failed to brace my fall in any way. I dropped like sack of potatoes.
Bruce looked panic-stricken as he reached my side, helped get me steady then walked me toward his driveway. That’s about the time I noticed the large drops of blood falling in front of me. I started to come out of the cloud as Bruce peppered me with questions: “What did you do?” “What happened?” “Where do you live?” “Do you need me to take you to the hospital?” He parked me on a curb in front of his house and I told him I lived on the next street over and could use a towel to catch the flow of blood, which was everywhere. He offered to give me a ride home and I gratefully accepted. I directed him into my driveway and he walked me to the front door, “Because I want to make sure you get inside. Is anyone home who can help you” he asked. I told him my wife Roselee was home, thanked him and also apologized for making such an unfortunately indelible mark on his Sunday evening.
If Bruce was traumatized, then Roselee was stunned. I understood why after I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror later. My nose was a bloody mess from the bridge to below the nostril. It was so scraped, scratched and gashed that it was hard to tell one wound from another. I also knew that when we got to the ER at Alamance Regional Medical Center that the issue of why I fell would also need to be addressed first.
That wasn’t a comforting notion.
We hit the emergency room at ARMC at the best possible moment. There were very few people there. The triage system now in place got me in preliminary examination right away. Three staff members logged my information, took vital signs and ran an EKG to determine if I was having or had a heart attack. I wasn’t. We were sent back out to the waiting area where Roselee said in the short time we were there a little girl kept looking at my face in horror. Another traumatized person left in my wake.
Fortunately the doctor, a very young man even by my old coot standards, wasn’t in the least bit fazed. He noticed the most serious wound to be a gash on the bridge of my nose to the bone and said it would require a few stitches. He first thought the nose might not be broken after all, then decided that, yes, it was. Before applying the injection to numb the bridge of my nose he warned that it would likely be painful. I promised him I wouldn’t scream and he laughed and said, “Scream, curse, yell, I’ve heard it all in here.”
“Well, I’ll be damned,” I replied.
He laughed and began the process from my left side, while Roselee held my right hand and assured me it was her holding my hand and not the doctor. The doctor laughed and said, “I like you guys.”
Ultimately I winced but refrained from yelling, cursing or screaming and before long the entire procedure was completed. Thanks to the ER staff from start to finish for a job well done. Before we left the doctor told me all of the preliminary tests taken upon my arrival showed no signs of a problem and he classified the EKG as “perfect.” “I think you just overexerted yourself,” he said. I was happy to hear it, but will still circle back with my regular doctor in the next few weeks.
In the meantime I feel OK but look like hell. The doctor told me to expect more swelling and two black eyes. He gave me a referral for a Friday appointment with the ear, nose and throat specialist who will more closely examine my broken nose.
But at least my glasses are intact.