My experience Wednesday afternoon on January 9 suggests an appropriate slogan for the Verde Valley would be “Land of Good Samaritans.”
I was walking down Main Street from Clark Memorial Library after taking photos of the new 3D jigsaw puzzle of the U.S. Capitol. Just below the Broadway intersection, I stepped too close to the curb and my foot slipped off. I lost my balance and pitched forward. The sidewalk rose up and smacked me in the face.
I must have been briefly out cold, as there were suddenly four people around me, asking what they could do. I declined offers to call 911. All I wanted was to get home so my wife could drive me to the Cottonwood VA clinic. First, though, I needed to stop bleeding. Just then, another motorist pulled up and provided an entire roll of paper towels.
Bleeding staunched, I thanked everyone for stopping to help, and was about to continue walking when an angelic lady insisted--in spite of protests I might get blood on her upholstery--on driving me a block and a half to my house. “We all have to help each other,” she said, and informed me she had retrieved my somewhat deformed eyeglasses and slipped them into my shirt pocket.
Fast forward to the VA clinic, which has served me well since I first applied for VA care in 2011. I knew it was past time for walk-ins, but I asked if someone could just look at my face and offer advice. My doc took me in, checked for a cracked eye socket or detached eyeball, put in 10 stitches, and provided antibiotic ointment and advice. In little more than an hour, I was out the door, looking like an extra from “Zombie Apocalypse.”
Then it was on to Walmart optical, where I’d purchased my last two pair of glasses. The optician, with a quizzical stare, bent my eyeglass frames back as best he could (lenses were miraculously unscratched). Offer of payment was refused.
And here I am a week later, stitches removed, and well on my way to recovery.
I want to give thanks again to all who stopped to offer help. I doubt I will recognize you on sight as my visual memory of the event is a blur.
Also, much appreciation for the work of Dr. Phipps, Nurse Castro, and the rest of the staff and volunteers at the Cottonwood VA clinic. These folks deserve a “thank you for your service” far more than I do.
Dr. Phipps could not have provided the care he gave had he not previously purchased a suture kit on his own dime. Nurse Castro had to make do with less than optimal tools for suture removal. In some ways, health care professionals at the clinic are in similar straits as teachers forced to buy educational materials for students from their own paychecks. I hope efforts to “reform” the VA system result in their getting the supplies they need.