West Orange, 1942
I was 18-months-old when my parents moved into their suburban cape cod nestled in the Watchung mountains. Bragging her heroism—OR assuaging her guilt—my mother frequently told the story of having averted a near tragedy.
One sunny afternoon she had bundled me into my stroller for a daily afternoon’s walk. Then, descending a steep hill, she lost her footing and fell. As I hurled down the incline toward a busy intersection, she knew only that she had to cling to the stroller’s handle. Battered and bruised, knees bleeding, she saved me from certain disaster.
I have no recollection of that incident, but as age descends, I am aware of another free fall. Heretofore, insults to my body seemed easily fixable…
- Difficulty seeing? Simply get contacts.
- Injure one’s knee? Have arthroscopic knee repair.
- Trouble sleeping? Reduce your level of stress.
- Forget where you put your keys? You’ll remember momentarily.
The fixes are no longer simple…
- Difficulty seeing? I now need periodic injections to forestall the loss of my sight.
- Injure one’s knee? There’s no longer enough meniscus for a simple repair and likely requires complete replacement.
- Trouble sleeping? I invariably wake up at 2am, 3am, or 4am longing for the impossible respite of sleep.
- Forget where I put my keys? As my Parkinson disease worsens, I remember less and less.
And, where is that pretty young lady whose clutch kept me from careening into the dangerous intersection that lies below?