I recently returned from the 30th Anniversary of the Arthritis Foundation’s Juvenile Arthritis Conference in Keystone, Colorado. After seeing all the children with juvenile arthritis embrace their challenging lives with smiles and laughter, I determined to return home upright and ignored the wheelchairs and elevators. Telling my dear friend of near 50 years we were taking the escalator, I hopped on. Thankfully, she followed quickly behind me. My suitcase made it, my walking stick, and one foot landed properly on the moving stairs. My other leg did not. As the staircase moved upward, I went into an awkward split and fell backward, painfully scraping my back in multiple places. I was now lying upside down staring at the face of my friend, who thought to protect my head even though she was also going down. We both urgently asked each other if we were okay.
Two painters from nearby ran to our rescue as someone hit the emergency off-switch to the escalator. A wheelchair was found and the EMT called. Wonderfully kind people stopped to help — a nurse, an airport security member and the painters refused to leave until the EMT arrived. Fortunately, nothing broke; we just had a few bruises and cuts.
We refused the hospital, and the EMT looked over our wounds. Seeing one cut, he proceeded to unlock his medical case extracting a Band-Aid! As he applied it, I was told “You need to wash this cut as soon as possible because those stairs probably haven’t been washed since the first day they were put in.” My sweet friend and I looked incredulously at each other and said, “We are getting on the plane home, don’t you have some alcohol or astringent?” The EMT quickly replied, “Just a minute” as he walked officiously over to his medical case, unlocking it, and gathering what appeared to be supplies. He returned proudly and, with all seriousness, handed us another Band-Aid. Really? Can you imagine the paperwork!