Stuff happens…We’re injured…

This is how the steps collapsed under our feet.

It was Thursday this week, the night of our anniversary. We came back to our villa after a lovely dinner to relax and enjoy the windy, bug free evening. It was 8:30 PM. 

Opening the wide sliding glass door, the  powerful ocean breezes rushed in filling our living room with the fresh scent of the ocean and the thick evening humidity, pleasing to our senses. 

Suddenly, I remembered that I’d left out a few kitchen towels to dry on the canvas lounge chair on the veranda. With the strong winds, I suggested to Tom that we venture outside to collect the towels and check out the status of the surf which wildly crashed in front of us.

Corner view of broken steps.

Still in our casual and comfortable dinner clothing as depicted in yesterday’s post with our anniversary photo, with me in flat sandals, we meandered out to the veranda in awe of the wind. The kitchen towels were about to blow away with one of them already on the ground. I grabbed two. Tom, gentleman that he is, grabbed the one askew on the ground.

Taking my hand, he led to off the wooden steps. As my foot hit the top step, a thought flashed through my mind, “Oh, I didn’t realize these sandals were wobbly.” I’d worn them many times and their flat arch support heels provided a stable step.  I don’t drink alcohol so I certainly wasn’t teetering.

Within a second, we were falling, crashing, banging.  In an instant, I found myself saying over and over, “Oh, my God!  Oh, my God!” On my way down, I hit my head on the strewn about wood, as the stairs broke apart, collapsing under us, then hit me mid-back and then…my tailbone. “Oh, my God,” I muttered again. Tom had also fallen. Immediately, our attention turned to one another.

Left view of the steps where we fell.
He’d cut and bruised his right shin, droplets of blood seeping through his white pants, one of the few white pants he wears on the cruise ships. How will I get the blood out, I thought, good laundress that I am, without a washer?

Lying in a pile atop the crumbled stairs, as Tom nervously gather me in his arms, I immediately assessed my situation,  My first thought, “Can I move my legs?” Yes, I can.  “Can I turn and move my torso?”  Yes, I can.  “Can I get up?” With Tom’s arms gently coaxing me to a standing position, I stood up. We went inside to assess our injuries.

Tom’s right shin was scraped and bruised, comparable to the knee scrapes we experienced as kids from falling off of our bikes.  No broken bones, no stitches required. My injuries were less obvious having banged my head, my mid-back and my tail bone on the jutting chunks of collapsed wood on the way down.

I could walk, I could bend, I could twist. There were no cuts, no obvious signs of injuries. Hopefully, I thought, my injuries would result in severe bruising. 

Should this accident have occurred at a resort in the US, ambulances would have been called, staff would have gathered around and perhaps, one might have contacted an attorney. The steps broke under two normal weight individuals.

Side view of steps.

We could have easily notified the security guard or the restaurant staff. Instead, we chose to tend to our injuries notifying management in the morning. These steps were for our exclusive use and could easily wait until morning. Most certainly, the salty air and intense humidity, rotted the wood and lessened the hold by the nails. We blame no one. 

Tom fashioned an inventive ice pack for me and I parked myself on the not-so-comfy sofa after taking two Aleve, for the remainder of the evening.  Without a doubt, we were both worried. Would my condition worsen over the night or the next few days? 

Much to my surprise I slept through the night, carefully lying on my side with a pillow propped up against my back to avoid turning over. Awakening at 6 am, the first thought in my mind was the frightening fall and secondly, the food I was yet to prepare for our share of the upcoming Minnesota Pot Luck Dinner with our Minnesota neighbors on either side of us. 

I didn’t feel up to cooking but decided that standing for 10 to 15 minutes at a time would do more good than harm while I’d take a break from the ice pack. Neither the sofa or nor the chairs in our villa provide good back support to warrant sitting for an extended period.

Tom helped in the kitchen and the time breezed by. By 10:30 am, we had most of the food prepared.  We decided it was time to inform management of our “accident” and the necessity of repairing the collapsed stairs. 

Of course, the conscientious staff was highly concerned and anxious to tend to our needs.  We only asked that they launder Tom’s bloody pants and repair the steps. Later in the day, Tom’s meticulously laundered and ironed pants were returned.

Within a matter of minutes, workers appeared at our villa to attend to the repairs.  With the loud noise of the hammering and pounding we decided to sit by the pool. Another gorgeous day was calling to us. 

Gingerly positioning myself on the un-padded lounge chair by the pool, I knew I wouldn’t last long. The cool water of the unheated pool provided some relief but less than an hour later, we walked back to our villa, determined to park myself with ice on the padded lounge chair on the veranda until it was time to shower and dress for the party. The workers were still pounding. We didn’t care. 

We were pleased with management’s handling of the situation. They were both respectful and very concerned, again checking with us over the next 48 hours.  There’s nothing more we would have asked of them.

On the way back to our villa, I dropped my smartphone on the cement cracking the screen in several places.

Having only purchased the no-contract phone for about $900 in December and now unable to easily read the Kindle app at night in bed, my heart sank.  My phone had been a constant companion while reading by the pool, the veranda or sitting in the chairs on the beach outside our door. Still able to receive a WiFi signal on our phones without a contract, I’d also been able to easily use Skype on my phone as discussed in the Skype post of several days ago.

Tom, bless his patient demeanor said nary a word, other than, “Don’t worry, lover. We’ll figure it out.” Gosh, I’m traveling the world with the right guy!

The remainder of the day whisked by and suddenly we realized it was time to get ready for the party.  Feeling better from the ice, the rest and the Aleve, I was confident we could go and have a good time.

It was not only a good time but a great time. The laughter, the chatter, the Minnesota stories got my mind off of my aching body. The drinks, the food, the ambiance in their lovely “owned” villa, found us all in a frenzy of endless story telling. We had a blast! 

Our new Minnesota friends kindly offered to mail my phone to a repair shop in the US when they return on March 22nd. I graciously declined, not wanting to impose. But after careful consideration, we came up with a plan. Maybe we would take them up on their generous offer.

Here’s our idea:
1.  Find a reputable smart phone screen repair company online.  Contact them alerting them that my phone will be arriving the week of March 23-30 for repair.
2.  Prepay by credit card for the repairs.
3.  Place the phone in a padded envelope with the repair company’s address.
4.  Give our Minnesota friends postage to mail our phone to the repair company.
5.  Instruct the repair company to rush the order, mailing it our mailing service…to go into the box being shipped to us for pickup on April 13th in Miami when our ship arrives.

This should work regarding the phone.  As for me, we’re hoping my injuries will resolve in a week or so, bringing me back to my former feeling-well self, cheerful, joyful without a worry in the world. 

In the interim, there’s no doubt that we’re guarded. Today, its more tender than yesterday, not uncommon in bruising injuries. I sit here, as we “speak” Tom’s nifty ice pack in tow, which he thoughtfully adjusts every 20 minutes or so, from my back to my neck to my tailbone.

Ah, yes.  _ _ _ _ happens!  Everywhere we go, there we are. We take with us, wherever we may be, all of life’s challenges, mishaps, heartbreaks and sorrows. No one is exempt. 

The difference for some, is the ability to tap into one’s well of strength and determination along with an innate desire to carry on.  I can only hope and pray that no matter what we encounter on our journey, that we’ll continue to strive for that strength and determination.

Be well, my friends.

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