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Monday, 06 August 2012

Men In Black

By Darlene Costner of Darlene's Hodgepodge


• 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 three 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 EMs (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 EMs 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!

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Wow, Darlene, what a saga! Well, at least you know they're at your beck and call--better than not!

Do you now get a frequent flyer discount? Or, at least, loyalty points?

No, Susan G.,I think Darlene has a "Frequent faller" account with the Men in Black.

Seriously, Darlene, aren't we fortunate that we have the EMT's to help us?

A couple times a year my husband takes his insulin and then gets so busy he forgets to eat and he goes into a diabetic low. If I catch him in time a bottle of regular Coca Cola will do the trick but if he gets too low to swallow I have to call for help.

That's when the Men in Black come to my house and give him some glucose by IV. The scary thing is that the police come,too to make sure I haven't tried to "do him in".

Your story tells me that you are a really sharp lady. You have all your angles figured out.Like the alarm you wear and the lock box on the door and the relationships you have formed with the EMTs. All these precautions you take tell us that you are making all the right moves; (except maybe you should get a longer nightie!)

Your story is funny and well-written. I'm sure none of it was funny when it happened. I am 79 and in training to be like you--except that I haven't been smart enough to call the handsome young paramedics the two times I fell in the last 2 weeks. (No serious injuries, and was able to pull myself up off the floor). Maybe next time!

You have such a great attitude; I would like to know you.

Nana - Yes, aren't I the lucky one?

Susan G - Your comment has me laughing out loud.

Nancy - "Frequent Faller". That's so funny, but I can always count on you to have me roaring with laughter. I do need longer nighties, though. ;-)

Lyn Burnstine - Please be careful about falling. I am a classic example of that old commercial where the old woman cries "Help. I've fallen and I can't get up."

I do advocate the safety measure of having a medical alarm system for any elder living alone.

Brenda Berretta - Thank you. We can become e-mail buddies. It's the next best thing to a face-to-face talk.

Darlene, you had me worried at first. I thought those men in black were robbers. Well written. I admire you for living alone at your age.

Darlene i I've heard of many 'flirting strategies', but this takes the cake!

Great story! - Sandy

In these days of equal opportunity, why the heck aren't their more beautiful young women in black? It's downright discouraging to old geezers to face the prospect of being saved now and then only by members of our sex.

*Jackie Harrison - I don't think admiration is warranted. I have no choice. You just do what you have to do.

*Sandy Dickson - At my age you have to be innovative. ;-)

*Gabby Geezer - One of the EMT's that helped me when I fell outside was a pretty young girl. So take heart, Gabby. There are more women joining the Fire Departments and becoming paramedics.

Darlene, men in black in Ireland, are usually the undertakers! You are way ahead of me in the Toyboy stakes! Stay well and no more falls>

*Grannymar - Well, I will be seeing one of those men in black like those in Ireland eventually, but I would rather see my toy boys as long as possible. They smile.

I will try to follow your good advice.

Once again you remind us...

"Growing Old Ain't For Sissies"

Darlene, wonderful story. Sounds to me like cookies on other home-baked goodies for the EMTs are in order. Delivered. Do not press your medi-alert for this one. On the other hand, if they think they're getting cookies, they might get there faster next time.

Claire Jean - Bette Davis had it right.

Jeanne Follett - If I only had advanced warning the cookie suggestion would be a good one. If I kept cookies on hand I would just eat them.

Darlene, a few years ago my husband had a heart attack and pneumonia followed by rehab and then a fall at a local baseball stadium. By the time we were done with emergency calls and transports we realized we had used five different ambulance services and told them that we would be happy to start a rating service.

Additionally, my husband had worked as a local special police officer for almost thirty years. After all the ambulance calls they invited him to ride in one of the ambulances in the next Memorial Day Parade...which he did!

SusanG - Oh your poor husband. What an ordeal. I do hope he is okay and the only ambulances he will need to ride in from now on will be in parades.

Darlene, I love your sense of humor and storytelling abilities. One of my granddaughters is profoundly deaf and has two cochlear implants, so I well understand the logistics of the CI's.

Dsrlene, Great storytelling - now keep your clothes on, young lady! Or, if you like, let it all hang out!

linda P. - I hope your granddaughter is doing well with her CIs. Thank God for these marvelous aids.

Marvin - Oh good. You gave me a choice. ;-)

How funny! I laughed and then mused about how many times I've had those handsome caregivers at my side, too. If they only knew how much they thrill and older woman's heart! Gotta tell you tho that there's one woman in this town who ends up going in via ambulance for some kind of problem or another....the guys at the ambulance were talking about it one day. Invariably then end up going by the Dairy Queen for her and she buys them all them ice cream on the way to the hospital. Swear to God, not making this up. Everyone loves to service her!

wear many hats - This woman needs an ambulance and can still stop for ice cream? Now there is a woman who loves the attention of young men. She can't be very sick or hurt. How funny.

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