As the hot stream rinsed the ocean-scent of the lathers off my body, I dripped the shampoo’s flowery fragrance into my dark-brown locks. Of course, I sang at the top of my lungs as I did the morning shower-dance. The slow rotation of my body accompanied each projection of a soapy limb, with intermittent scrubbing of my scalp.
With all body surfaces clear of cleansing solutions, I twisted to the right, reaching for the plastic bottle of Tame hair conditioner. (Truly, the recent introduction to such a product proved the strength of peer pressure. The Lord had blessed me with locks that never needed such a product, but everyone else used hair conditioner, so I caved.)
I’m not sure if my fingers actually lifted the bottle off of the right-rear corner of the tub; everything happened so suddenly. At the same time as my right arm fell limp at my side, a searing pain shot through my head, and I began to lose strength in both legs. The incredible pain in my head increased as soon as I tried moving my neck.
What’s happening to me? A stroke? People in their twenties don’t have strokes. Wha-a—“
Emergency orders sprang into my mind, interrupting my soft whispers. Get out of the tub! Now! Moving only my left arm, I turned off the flow of water. Realizing how hard it had been to turn the knob, I knew my remaining arm had begun to lose strength.
I struggled to lift each leg over the edge of the shallow tub. As soon as I’d set the second leg on the floor, my body lost all strength, crumbling into a heap.
“Okay, now what?” I said to the hand just under my shoulder. “Can I move you from out of there before you go numb?” I lifted my left shoulder and forced my right elbow to pull back, freeing my right hand. I couldn’t help noticing that my upper arm didn’t move when the elbow did. “Body, listen to me,” I said, my scratchy voice trying to growl like a drill sergeant. “You’re going to stretch out, get those clothes on, and get outta here. Now!”
The heavy, invisible weight had my naked body pinned to the carpet. I grunted as I pushed and pulled, but nothing happened. “Fingers, stretch out. Left hand, go! Move.” Focusing every ounce of strength on my index finger, I noticed a slight twitch. “Right! Now, thumb. Go! Move!” Focusing on the tip of my thumb, I felt the rest of the index finger finish the stretch.
“You see that, you sluggard fingers? Get out and join the thumb and index finger. Now!” I groaned and grunted, as the rest of the fingers slipped free, slapping the open palm to the floor.
“Yes! Okay, right hand; you’re turn now. Move.” The agonizing, inch-by-inch choreography continued for close to an hour. I used the meager movements to include dressing.
Clad in jeans and tee shirt, I snaked my way out through the bathroom door, relieved that I’d not closed it earlier. I wondered if my elbows and forearms would get carpet-burn as I wiggled my way through the short corridor to the linoleum of the kitchen.
Finally, I’d made it. The extra-long, curled cord of the wall phone swung just above me. Stretching hard with my left arm, I gripped the curve of the cord. If only I could pull hard enough to free the receiver from the cradle.
“Well, while you’re making those ‘if only’s’,” I said out loud to the dangling cord, “how about ‘if only it was a weekday,’ so someone would notice you’d not come to work. At least, then, someone would come looking for you.”
“Lord, I need your help. Somehow, I need to get the strength to pull on this cord, displace the receiver from the cradle on top of the phone—,” which was exactly when I realized the nearly-ancient phone had an old rotary dial. How would I get to the standing position to reach the dial and coordinate the rotation of the thing? I release the cord, slumping back to the floor.
“If it takes all day, body, you are going to stand up and use that phone. You are going to the hospital today!” I set my jaw, repositioned the alignment of my body with the kitchen wall, and reached again for the cord,
****Saturday Crisis, to be continued tomorrow****