It was all Shakespeare’s fault.
I broke my right hip. In three places. I broke my right wrist. And I blame Shakespeare.
It was a lovely mid-October Monday afternoon six years ago. I had just finished the final draft of a paper I was to give at my Shakespeare Club meeting on Wednesday.
I had gone through a lot of research and several drafts on “The women in King John: ”Eleanor, Constance, Blanche and Lady Falconbridge.” With the final result of 4,313 words and timed at about 15 minutes, I thought it was pretty good and was pleased with it.
“I think I’ll go outside and water the flowers,” I said to myself, “before I do the final version.” I went out on the back patio and turned the water on. The guy who mows my lawn always rolls the hose up into a neat circle on the patio. It’s a little foggy now but I decided to stand on top of that coiled up hose so I could more easily reach four hanging pots just beyond the patio.
I vaguely remember thinking, “This is probably not such a good idea,” just before the hose slid apart and I crashed to the patio bricks on my right side. When I tried to get up I could not move at all. I was pretty sure, from past experience, something was broken.
At least I had the good sense to be wearing my Alert button and I desperately pressed it hard. I yelled, “Help” several times — discovering I could yell really loud — but my neighbors on either side were not at home. Behind my house is a pasture. I kept pressing the alert button. If it was being answered, of course I could not hear them when they asked, “Do you need help?”
It seemed like a long time went by. I started to seriously worry that maybe since I was outside they were not even getting the signal.
My first responder is my next door neighbor. Obviously she wasn’t home. The second and third are my son and daughter-in-law. They were vacationing in Utah. I visualized lying on the bricks for days until someone found me. Finally I heard sirens but they weren’t close. Then they were and, to my great relief, I heard voices yelling. And then the welcome sight of the boots of the firemen and then the EMTs with a stretcher.
It took them longer, they explained, because they had to figure out where my signal was coming from.
Surgery the next day; 10 days in rehab, transferred to another rehab facility and, finally the day before Thanksgiving, home, followed by weeks of more physical therapy from Home Health Care.
“What happened?” family and friends asked, deeply sympathetic. But when I explained, they were aghast. “Why did you do such a stupid thing?” they asked accusingly.
And because I know it was a stupid thing to do — and I have no idea to this day why I did such a stupid thing, all I could mumble was, “Well, it was Shakespeare’s fault.”
Last year, I fell again on the same patio, breaking an arm. But this time I couldn’t even blame Shakespeare. So whose fault was it? I’ll think of somebody. Eventually.
Mary McClure lives in Lawton.