By David Chowes
On Tuesday, October 24 at 4 p.m., I was alone in my apartment; I was trying to find a particular magazine from a large stack in my bedroom. Having fallen 10 years ago, my balance continued to be affected.
As I bent down, attempting to find this publication, within about one-tenth of a second I fell and everything in the room seemed to explode. Somehow the box-spring ended up on top of the mattress and the blanket and bed cover seemed to disappear.
I tried to get up – but in vain! I was on the carpeted floor and tried to get my bearing – and having hurt my right shoulder I was in continuous and excruciating pain.
But no matter how much effort I made, I just crawled and added to my misery.
I couldn’t leave the bedroom or even go to the bathroom (where my cell phone was being charged). I was unable to get water and there was no food in the room. For hours, I tried with no success.
As time passed, dehydration, no sleep and nothing to eat. If only hadn’t left my cell in the bathroom, I could have phoned 911. The windows had been opened from the afternoon, but as night came so did the chilling cold. But I couldn’t close the windows.
Wednesday came and this torture continued. By Thursday, I realized that there were no options. I was going to die.
But on Friday, exactly four days after my “fall from grace,” at 4 p.m., 96 hours since the accident, there was a knock on my bedroom door. “Police!”
They opened the door and immediately called EMS, who quickly wrapped me in a sheet and dispatched me in a stretcher to an awaiting ambulance.
“We’re taking you to Bellevue; they have an excellent trauma care unit,” said one of the workers.
At Bellevue, I was given x-rays and diagnosed with a shattered right shoulder. I was admitted and given oxycontin. This drug may be potentially quite addictive, but it surely has an ameliorating effect on pain. Bellevue is three blocks away from where I live — and I was there for about three weeks. Subsequent x-rays and MRIs indicated enough improvement that I was to be discharged. They needed my bed. I was then transferred to Riverside Rehabilitation Center on West End Avenue at 90th Street. Two half-hour sessions every day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.
They worked wonders, so much so that I was brought to a point where I was now more mobile than before the October accident.
I was at Riverside for about a month before I came home. And now I can resume my activities with only mild discomfort.
Now you must be wondering how the NYPD was alerted. The answer resides in a PCV employee, the superintendent of my building, Mr. Johel Quezada.
Since I have been habituated and subscribing to the New York Times for decades and have it delivered to my door each morning, Johel observed that papers kept piling up. Being a quite friendly and decent person, he noted this unusual phenomenon and knocked on my door with no response.
So he called the police and then you know the rest of the story. If not for his sensitivity and compassion, I would now be dead.
I never gave him a Christmas present as in past years — I was indisposed at the time. But, now I am able to. The question is: What should I give to a gentleman who saved my life?
Any suggestions, dear readers?