I got up around 6:00 am, and was out the door by 6:30 pm to head over to the American River Bend Park for a walk. It was a breezy morning with temperatures in the 60’s, and after the last too over-100° days, I was looking forward to getting outside and getting some fresh air and exercise.
I went down to the river bank, which I don’t normally do because the ground is so uneven there, but I wanted to see the summer plants that are starting to bloom there. So, I took my cane with me to steady me, and for about an hour I did all right.
But then as I was walking closer to the river to get some photos of the willows, the rocks rolled under my foot and I fell down. I didn’t hit my head, but I did land on my right butt cheek and hip. My knees are bad as it is, so getting onto them to try to crawl toward a tree (which I’d hoped I could use as a brace to lift myself up) was excruciatingly painful and left them all bashed up and bruised. I struggled for about 15 minutes and just couldn’t get my feet under myself to stand up, so I called 911 on my cellphone, and was glad that I could get service there.
I was weepy and embarrassed and in pain, but the 911 dispatcher was very understanding of my situation and did all she could to keep me calm. In fact, she stayed on the line with me for the 30 minutes it took for EMTs to get to me.
Partway through the wait I told her two Turkey Vultures hand landed near me, and she laughed. “Don’t worry, they’re not there for you..” Hah!
On the river bank there aren’t any markers or anything to tell you where you are, so if something happens, you might as well be in the middle of nowhere. I couldn’t see the trail from where I’d fallen and I have no sense of “distance”, so I couldn’t tell the dispatcher how far away I was from the boat launch area. To try to help, I told her what I could see on the opposite side of the river, namely the different houses. In front of me, across the river, was a brown house with an arched picture window on it… To the left of me was a white house with a red tile roof and a large sun room on stilts… And to the right of me was a two-story tan house with railing around the balcony and a large lawn out in front…
Apparently, those descriptions were enough to help the EMTs kind of triangulate where I was. Three of them showed up, lead by one named Brian. Brian asked me questions, while one of the others took notes and the third one took my blood pressure, pulse and glucose readings. Among the questions, Brian asked where I was, what my name was, what day it was, and who was the president. I answered that one with, “You mean the despicable Nazi?” He looked down, stifled a smile and said, “Can you tell me his name?” And I answered him, ending with “sorry”. He said, “A lot of people don’t like that question…”
The guy who was taking all the readings tried twice to get a BP reading, but couldn’t get it to work. He did get a pulse, though, 100 bpm, so… not totally dead.
Brian then put electrode pads on my legs and arms and did a heart rhythm trace on me before saying that all of my vitals looked good. He and one of the other guys helped me up onto my feet and held onto me until I was more oriented and could them the direction in which I’d left my car.
They started to walk me back, when the park ranger, Ranger Smillier, showed up with his truck. It took two of the EMTs, again, to get me up the high step into the front seat of the truck, but once I was situated, they trekked back to their firetruck and the ranger drove me to my car. He waited until I’d gotten into it and started the engine before he left me.
I went straight home, sore all over with bruised knees and a bruise butt. And, as Melissa warned me, I’ll be feeling it worse over the next few days… But I didn’t hit my head and never felt “concussed, so I’m okay. And I have a lot of thank you notes to write and send out tomorrow.
What was weird was, even as I was sitting there in the rocks with 911 on the line, my Naturalist brain wouldn’t shut off and I kept taking photos of what I saw… including the vultures, a mama Mallard duck and her babies, and a mama Common Merganser with her 17, count ‘em, 17 red-headed ducklings.
Needless to say, I didn’t get very many photos today, but CLICK HERE for the album of what I was able to document.
- Asian Clam, Corbicula fluminea [small white/brown freshwater clam]
- Black Dancer Caddisfly, Mystacides sepulchralis
- Brazilian Vervain, Verbena brasiliensis
- Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
- California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
- Goodding’s Willow, Salix gooddingii
- Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa
- Lady’s Thumb Knotweed, Persicaria maculosa [pink]
- Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Mimosa Tree, Persian Silk Tree, Albizia julibrissin
- Moth Mullein, Verbascum blattaria
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium
- Rabbitfoot Grass, Polypogon monspeliensis
- Rough Horsetail, Equisetum hyemale
- Smartweed, Persicaria lapathifolia [white]
- Sneezeweed, Rosilla, Helenium puberulum
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- Water Forget-Me-Not, Myosotis scorpioides
- Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana