Let’s Go Back To Your Home In That Quiet Neighborhood

Let’s go back to your home in that quiet neighborhood…

The business trip in the city went well, and your company got the account. The next weekend, as you’re taking your Saturday morning walk around the neighborhood, all the world looks brighter and more friendly. You wave “hello” to others you see – your next-door neighbors passing on their way back to the house after their usual morning stroll, others trimming their lawns, and especially the older lady down the street who can be found in her garden for the first several hours of daylight every morning, from spring till fall. Her roses are lasting longer than you’ve ever seen roses last, and you’d love to find out how she does it.

There she is, sitting quietly on her customary bench beneath an arbor draped in morning glories. You call out to her and wave. Her eyes are closed, and she looks like she’s stopping to catch her breath. You’re not surprised, as she works so hard. But when she doesn’t respond to your second greeting, you wonder if something might be wrong. As you look closer, you notice that her head is shaking a little, and her fingers are moving back and forth in a jerky motion.

Calling out to her again, you get no response, so you open her garden gate and walk carefully to her side. You kneel down beside her and ask if she’s alright. She says nothing, but shakes her head in a clear “No”. She reaches out to you to take your hand in hers, and a small, frightened sigh slips through her lips.

Holding her hand, you reach into your back pocket and pull out your mobile phone. Off in the distance, you can see the folks you just passed stopping to talk to your other neighbors. You call out to them, as you dial 9-1-1, waving them to come and help. They look over at you curiously for a moment, then they realize something serious is happening, and without another word, they come to your aid. Two women stay close by the elder, as you talk to the 9-1-1 dispatcher, and the two men split up, one going down the street to flag down the first responders, the other waiting by the gate to guide the EMTs.

An ambulance arrives in a matter of minutes, and as your neighbor is helped onto a gurney and lifted into the back of the vehicle, the rest of you talk about how lucky it was that you noticed she was having trouble. To the rest of the neighbors, she looked as though she was going about her early morning gardening, and nothing stood out as unusual to them. But after your recent experience in the city, you’re more attuned to signals that call for help. You tell your neighbors about that brief encounter with the wounded man, and they remark at how “these sorts of things seem to happen in sequences”. The excitement slowly passes. The rest of the day is calling. With a few more words about how important it is to stay healthy and safe, you part ways to get on with your days.

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