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Back on the floor

by Mike Masterson | September 4, 2022 at 1:46 a.m.

I really, truly didn't want to write this story as a sequel. But I promised you honesty.

If you're anything like me and do something foolish, you swear you'll never let something like "that" happen again, right?

And then, sure enough, somehow it still happens again.

Readers may recall the column two weeks back about my winding up on our slick hardwood floor after leaving my recliner to take to our way-soft couch one night.

Jeanetta and Benji had turned in for the night and were tucked away inside our bedroom with the door closed and sound machine on.

I seriously doubted she could hear my cries for help as hard as I might try. But I crawled as best I could and shouted anyway.

Lacking the strength to even pull myself back into the recliner after weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, I wound up calling for her repeatedly when it became obvious there was no other choice.

Finally, thank goodness, she heard me and came to witness the spectacle spread before her. She wasn't strong enough to hoist a 200-pound man and had to summon her son Frankie from across town to finally lift me back into the chair I should never have left.

That column prompted a number of responses from those readers who could identify with the same problem, which I assure you is a more panicky situation than those who've never struggled from the floor to regain their feet can possibly understand.

For instance, what if I'd lived alone, which many older folks do? Or what if I'd been unable to reach a cell phone on a shelf or elsewhere to summon help? That is certainly plausible. I couldn't even reach a door knob.

Little wonder those older folks in the commercials have them constantly strapped around their necks.

After that adventure, I swore I'd never, ever wind up in that condition again. No more hardwood for me.

Which brings us around to today's life lesson and story. Never say never combined with ever!

After rising from the chair the other night, I lost my balance, started listing sideways and, kaboom, yep, you guessed it, wound up hugging the cold hard floor yet again.

At first I couldn't believe the nightmare scenario was repeating. Was I really back down here, unable to gain any traction to get back into the chair?

Yes, valued readers, I was, yet again, as hard as I struggled to get upright, I couldn't. So yet again, I began shouting for Jeanetta, hoping she'd not yet fallen sound asleep. Talk about déjà vu. Again, I yelled as loud as I could until my voice weakened.

Now what? Should I resign myself to spending the rest of the night on this cold, hard surface? At some point (probably soon) nature's gonna call; then what? It seemed there was no other alternative but to simply live with what I'd done ... again!

Until suddenly, towering over me like a guardian angel awakened by some form of GodNod, stood Jeanetta. It was now after 1 a.m.

There were no lectures and browbeatings (that's not how we are together). She just stared before beginning to smile at the absurdity of it all. We ended up laughing together at the whole spectacle.

We also realized from my previous episode that she wasn't strong enough to lift me. Yet she recalled friends in Harrison previously had called 911 and the Harrison Fire Department when the same thing happened to them.

And since my initial column, several readers had written to say they also has turned to the firefighters in their communities after falling and needing help.

I was reluctant to do that. But Frankie, after injuring his index finger, wouldn't be able to help this time. So she dialed for help.

Within minutes, two strapping, polite young men in firefighter clothing arrived at the front door. In only a matter of seconds, Tanner and John had gently lifted me back into the recliner.

What a minute earlier had seemed an insurmountable problem had been so thankfully solved.

It's difficult to describe the level of appreciation someone trapped in a seemingly hopeless situation can feel for having that kind of assistance available unless they have experienced it. The Harrison Fire Department was there for us, which means that's a good thing for readers to recall if they wind up under similar circumstances.

In that respect, mine wasn't all that different from any living creature being saved from any seemingly desperate situation.

So here I am, both feet on the floor yet again (well, for now) and vowing never, ever to wind up there again.

This time I really mean it, as much as I meant it the first time.

Really now, wouldn't you think a relatively intelligent adult who has lived 75 years would have learned, after two almost identical ordeals only two weeks apart (and after none over a lifetime until then) to never, ever say never again?

Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, was editor of three Arkansas dailies and headed the master's journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at

Print Headline: Back on the floor


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