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Jill Nicholson 11/23/2005 Narrative Essay
The Big Fall

Several years ago, I fell down the stairs and broke my ankle. I had never broken a bone before or been to the emergency room. It was a very scary and painful experience. I will never forget it and hope I never have another experience like it. This is how it happened.

I went out the door of my house and was on my way to work. There is a walkway and a short stairway with four or five steps between my door and the sidewalk. I remember that I was wearing a new pair of shoes that day, and they had thick, soft rubber soles. They were a little softer and thicker than the shoes I usually wore, and walking in them felt a little bit strange. Just as I was beginning to step down the first step, the rubbery toe of one of my shoes stuck for a second on the walkway, and I lost my balance. I dropped straight down to the sidewalk from the top step, and landed with the full force of my weight on the side of my right foot.

I finished the fall in a seated position on the bottom step. The fall had snapped and dislocated my ankle. My foot, still wearing the new shoe, dangled at a grotesque, unnatural angle from my now footless leg. The sight of it was nauseating, but the pain was even worse. Like everyone else, I have experienced a variety of physical pain in my life, but nothing that compared to this. This was not normal pain. This felt like a wall, like a sound I was hearing, like a new sense unrelated to feeling. I have no words to describe the pain. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced before or since.

After a few minutes and the shock of that terrible first wave of pain, I realized I needed help. Of course I could not stand or walk, and I didnít see anybody around me. I called out for help, but nobody heard or responded. I was alone on a quiet side street with little traffic. Just then, I saw a car coming up the street. Thank God! Help was coming! An old man and woman were in the car. They parked, got out and ran over to me. They told me they had actually seen me fall and had driven back to check on me and see if I was hurt. Yes! Suddenly, the old woman saw my foot hanging off the bone of my leg. The horrible sight of it shocked her so much that she started choking and gasping for breath. The man told me she was having an asthma attack from seeing something so disturbing.

He said he was going to find a phone and call an ambulance. He ran to the house across the street and knocked on the door. When there was no answer, he tried the next house, then the next. Nobody was home. It seemed all my neighbors were already at work or school for the day. Finally, I remembered I was in front of my own house, which of course had a phone, and I had the key! I gave the man my key, he opened the door and went to the phone to call 911.

While we waited for the ambulance, the old woman continued coughing and choking from her asthma attack. I remained sitting on the step with my foot hanging from my leg. A guy in a car drove up and asked me for directions to Sandy Blvd., which I gave him. He didnít say anything about my foot. After just a few minutes, the ambulance arrived. I suggested they take the woman having the asthma attack, but she seemed to be doing better. They loaded me into the ambulance, gave me a big shot of morphine, and took me to the hospital.

The hospital was another horrible experience, but it hurt a lot less than the fall. They had to put a big metal bar into my leg. They attached it to the bone with 8 big, long screws. Of course I have some really nifty scars now, too, as souvenirs from the surgery. I couldnít walk normally for a few months, but everything is pretty much back to normal now. I donít worry about falling down stairs any more, but I have decided never again to wear shoes with thick, soft rubber soles.

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