By Curt Swarm, Empty Nest
The uneven stone steps going down were damp. Her heel caught on the edge of a rounded step and she fell. An unbearable pain shot up through her left leg. “My ankle!” she screamed. She rose and looked at her leg and wondered, “Whose ankle is that?” It was hers, twisted to the left.
Mt. Pleasant residents, Marilyn and Mike Vincent, were with their tour group in Jerusalem. They had just left the Upper Room, the place where Jesus met with His disciples for the Last Supper. Marilyn was deep in thought. Like most of Jerusalem’s streets, the cobblestones are uneven and worn. You have to watch your footing carefully. When she fell going down the steps, there were many people from her group around her. Quickly, a man, Ed, supported her and a retired nurse, Becky, removed her shoe and sock.
Emergency personnel were summoned and they arrived quickly, one on a bicycle and another on a motor scooter. An ambulance was summoned.
At the hospital, Marilyn’s ankle was X-rayed, repositioned and placed in a hard plaster cast. She was instructed to return home and immediately see an orthopedic surgeon. But there was still a day-and-a-half left of the tour: a walk in Old Jerusalem on the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus walked carrying His cross, and a tour of the Holocaust Museum. Disappointed, the Vincents went back to their hotel room, Marilyn in a wheelchair.
When the tour bus left Jerusalem for Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, the bus driver, Karim, picked up Marilyn, carried her up the bus steps, put her in the front seat and propped her foot on a pillow. She was astounded at Karim’s strength.
However, at the airport there was a problem. She could not fly on Austrian Airlines with a hard cast since it left no room for swelling during altitude changes. A call to the tour company confirmed that a car and driver would pick Marilyn and Mike up and take them back to the hospital. Unfortunately, they would miss their flight home. Like any tour of this nature, group members become quite close. Sadly, they had to leave Marilyn and Mike behind.
But they were in good hands. At the hospital the cast was split down one side. The Israeli surgeon exclaimed, “What’s with you Americans always falling? Don’t you walk?”
“Yeah,” they thought, “just not on cobblestone streets and uneven steps.”
After another eight hours in a hotel, this time a luxurious, former Arabian castle that served delicious wood-fired-brick-oven pizza, it was off again to the airport.
Cleared by the airport doctor, they flew comfortably in business class on Delta Air Lines to JFK Airport in New York City, then on to Chicago O’Hare where a driver picked them up and drove them home — all arranged by the tour company and paid for by travel insurance.
After a visit to the Henry County Health Center Emergency Room, and surgery in Iowa City, Marilyn now has two plates and 11 screws in her ankle, which will raise havoc with airport security scanners. She’s tired of “screw loose” jokes.
Are they ever going to leave home again? Sure. They are frequent travelers. Before this trip, they had recently toured the Pacific Northwest, China and the Canadian Rockies. They now want to sail through the Panama Canal, tour Portugal and Spain, and maybe New Zealand. Marilyn will get a walking cast March 16th. Is Panama ready for the Vincents?
Looking back, it could have been much worse. They could have contracted the Coronavirus that hit Bethlehem just after they left. Marilyn may have missed the Via Dolorosa, but as when Christ fell, there were many hands to lift her up.
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com