On life and love after 50 Newsletter March 18, 2016
Senior dating advice - Importance of ICE - A brutal reminder on how life can change in an instant
I just now put three personal contact names and their phone numbers into my wallet with the word ICE along them. I intend to leave them there and hope no one ever has to use them. By the end of today’s article, you will understand the word ICE and what I’m talking about.
Note from Tom: At the request of the Champ who provided today's information, I have changed both her name and the man's name.
Last month, Joyce, 73, met Brian, 70, online. She said, “Quickly, I felt he was very special. We had interesting conversations, he was respectful; he had a cute personality and was interested in me also. After caring for his wife as she fought cancer for many years, he was ready to find a partner and move forward.
“We absolutely clicked. We were into our third date in four days. We were walking up a steep incline at my condo development driveway. I was two steps ahead of him when I heard him say something. I turned to look as I kept walking and saw him falling backwards, straight-bodied.
“His head hit the cement with a loud crack, bounced up and back down, cracking again. He began convulsing; blood was running out of his ear and the back of his head. He was unconscious.
“I yelled for help and called 911. I thought he was going to die at any moment. A neighbor nurse showed up in a few seconds. A doctor who was a friend of mine was driving up the driveway. He stopped his car and jumped out. He put his hands on each side of Brian’s head to stabilize it. Blood was on the doctor’s hands and running down the driveway. Within about five minutes, emergency vehicles were there and quickly left with him.
“A fireman was asking me questions and writing down my answers. He took my contact information and wanted Brian’s relatives’ contacts also. I had none. And that is why I wrote to you.
“I felt the only help I could give Brian was to try to locate his sons, who Brian had mentioned by their names.”
Joyce and the fireman searched Brian’s unlocked car for information but found none. To help Joyce find the hospital emergency room, the fireman drew a map on his arm with a pen.
Although horrified and worried sick, Joyce drove herself to the hospital. She was led immediately to Brian’s bed in the Emergency Room. She said, “There he was, propped up on a gurney, conscious, giving me his cute smile and calling me by my name. It was unbelievable; I was so happy.”
Joyce added that Brian’s phone was on the gurney and with the help of an aide, she was able to send a text message to his oldest son who lived nearby. Brian kept telling Joyce he wanted to go home. The doctor told her that Brian had two skull fractures and bleeding on the brain. The doctor said with strong conviction that if Brian went home, he would die.
Hearing that, Brian looked at Joyce and said, “What do you think?” She couldn’t believe the brief comic relief of his question. Then she said, “I will not let you go home.” He said, “OK.”
Brian was moved to Intensive Care and she was allowed to go there immediately. The hospital asked about her relationship to him. She said, “Girlfriend.” The aide wrote: “Significant Other.”
Brian has been moved to a nursing facility. He is having cognitive and ambulatory issues. Keeping him from getting up on his own has been a challenge; they can’t risk another fall. He is losing weight.
Joyce says, “I have not given up. He is truly a very special man. I believe everyone should carry a couple of names and phone numbers in their wallet in case they become incapacitated. In dating, especially later in life, each person should get a phone number or two from the other. Much time was spent trying to contact Brian’s family based only on the two names of his sons he had talked about.”
Tom’s senior dating advice observation:
Joyce is a remarkable woman. There are two things about her I want to mention. The condo where she and Brian were walking closed escrow the day after he fell. You can imagine the mixed emotions she had dealing with that. Now she lives nearly an hour from the facility where he is staying.
The second thing I want you to know about Joyce involved me personally. In 2014, on Veteran’s Day, a woman walked into Tutor and Spunky's Deli, my Dana Point, California, establishment and handed me an envelope and then left. I opened it and there was a note inside that read, “Thank you for serving our country.” There was also a $20 bill inside. I had no idea how she knew that I had served in the Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Viet Nam War. Her gesture really touched me.
This week, when she emailed me this story, she ended her message with: “Sincerely Joyce, the one who gave you the note of appreciation for your military service.” I did not know who she was until I received this week’s email from her. Adding to the meaningfulness of her gesture, Veteran’s Day is my birthday.
Thank you, Joyce, for having the courage to share this heart-wrenching story. We all have Brian in our thoughts and prayers. Life is delicate; situations can change in a second. Keep those emergency contacts in your wallet.
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